Frequent MGMT (06-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase) hypermethylation in long-term survivors of glioblastoma: a single institution experience

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Frequent MGMT (06-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase) hypermethylation in long-term survivors of glioblastoma: a single institution experience

Background. The aim of this retrospective study was to analyse the MGMT (06-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase) promoter methylation status in long-term surviving (≥ 3 years) patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

Methods. The methylation status of the MGMT promoter was determined by bisulfite modification of the DNA and subsequent methylation-specific polymerase-chain-reaction (MSP). DNA was extracted from routinely formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tumour tissue samples.

Results. MSP yielded interpretable results in only 14 of 33 (42%) long-term surviving patients with GBM. A methylated band was seen in 3 of 14, methylated as well as unmethylated bands in 8 of 14 and an only unmethylated band in 3 of 14 patients, thus, yielding MGMT promoter methylation in 11 of 14 patients. The two groups of patients with methylated and unmethylated MGMT promoter status were too small to draw any firm statistical conclusions.

Conclusions. Long-term surviving patients with GBM have very frequently intratumoural MGMT promoter methylation. This phenomenon discriminates long-term survivors from a non-selected group of patients with GBM. The standardization of the MSP for the determination of the MGMT promoter methylation status seems to be necessary in order to make this methodology a more reliable one.

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