DNA methyltransferase immunohistochemical expression in odontogenic tumours

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Odontogenic tumours are a heterogeneous group of lesions formed from tissues that give rise to the tooth. DNA methylation, a covalent addition of a methyl group to the 5-carbon position of a cytosine nucleotide, is considered an important regulator of gene expression. The addition of the methyl radical is catalysed by DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs). Although some epigenetic studies have been conducted in odontogenic tumours, a study with the three types of DNMTs in several different members of this group is missing. This study analyses the expression of DNMTs in odontogenic tumours.


Formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tissue samples of 20 ameloblastomas, 10 calcifying cystic odontogenic tumours, 10 calcifying epithelial tumours, 10 adenomatoid odontogenic tumours, 10 keratocystic odontogenic tumours, five ameloblastic fibromas, two ameloblastic fibro-odontomas, four central odontogenic fibromas, seven peripheral odontogenic fibromas and 10 odontogenic myxomas were included. Immunohistochemical expression of DNMT1, 3A and 3B was assessed using a semi-quantitative analysis, and also a correlation with p21, p27 and E-cadherin immunoexpression was made.


DNMT1, 3A and 3B were expressed in the nucleus and/or cytoplasm of all odontogenic tumours. DNMT1 expression was directly correlated with p27 expression in ameloblastomas.


The high expression of DNMTs in odontogenic tumour cells suggests methylation as an important mechanism for this group of tumours.

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