O6-Methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) is critical for repairing pro-mutagenic DNA bases and is correlated with response to alkylating agents in cancers. Since there is great interest in pursuing the potential role of temozolomide, a novel alkylating agent, in the treatment of brain metastases, this study aimed to evaluate MGMT expression as well as its prognostic value in this devastating disease. We studied the expression and methylation status of MGMT in 86 brain metastases of lung cancers. Twenty of them had matched primary lung tumor tissues available for direct comparison. MGMT expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC); the methylation status of MGMT promoter was analyzed by nested methylation-specific PCR (MSP) and validated by quantitative real-time PCR analysis. Positive nuclear MGMT expression was detected more frequently in brain metastases as compared with primary lung cancers (83% versus 50%, P=0.004). The discordance in MGMT expression persisted in the 20 paired primary and metastatic tumors (P=0.031). MGMT promoter hypermethylation was highly correlated with loss of MGMT expression. Both univariate and multivariate analyses showed that median overall survival was significantly longer in patients with positive MGMT expression in brain metastases (16.5 versus 3.5 months, P<0.001). In conclusion, MGMT expression was enhanced in brain metastases as compared with the primary lung cancers. MGMT expression in brain metastases was significantly correlated with better survival.
- Brain metastasis
- O-Methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cancer Research