Altered patterns of the 5-cytosine methylation of genomic DNA are associated with the development of a wide range of human cancers. We have studied the mechanisms and genetic pathways by which a targeted heterozygous deficiency in the murine 5-cytosine DNA methyltransferase gene (Dnmt1N/+) diminishes intestinal tumorigenesis in C57BL/6-multiple intestinal neoplasia (Min)/+ mice. We found that Dnmt1N/+ retards the net growth rate of intestinal adenomas and reduces tumor multiplicity by approximately 50%. This tumor resistance affects the entire intestinal tract and is independent of the status of modifier of Min 1 and p53, two loci that have been found to confer strong resistance to Min-induced neoplasia. Interestingly, Dnmt1N/+ and modifier of Min 1 resistance interact synergistically, together virtually eliminating tumor incidence. This finding may provide an insight into potential combinatorial therapeutic approaches for treating human colon cancer.
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|Published - Jul 15 2000