Epigenetic inactivation of SFRP genes and TP53 alteration act jointly as markers of invasive bladder cancer

Carmen J. Marsit, Margaret R. Karagas, Angeline Andrew, Mei Liu, Hadi Danaee, Alan R. Schned, Heather H. Nelson, Karl T. Kelsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


In the United States each year, almost 13,000 deaths are attributable to bladder cancer, with the majority of these deaths related to higher stage, muscle-invasive solid tumors. Epigenetic silencing of the secreted frizzled receptor proteins (SFRP), antagonists of the WNT pathway, leads to constitutive WNT signaling, altering cell morphology and motility. Identifying alterations in this pathway in bladder cancer may prove useful for defining the invasive phenotype and provide targets for guiding therapy. Using a population-based study of bladder cancer (n = 355), we examined epigenetic alterations, specifically gene promoter hypermethylation, of four SFRP genes in addition to immunohistochemical staining of TP53, which has been previously shown to be a predictor of invasive disease. We observed a significant linear trend (P < 0.0004) in the magnitude of the risk of invasive disease with the number of SFRP genes methylated. Both TP53 alteration and SFRP gene methylation showed significant independent associations with invasive bladder cancer. Strikingly, in examining the joint effect of these alterations, we observed a >30-fold risk of invasive disease for patients with both altered SFRP gene methylation and intense TP53 staining (odds ratio, 32.1; P < 10-13). Overall patient survival was significantly poorer in patients with any SFRP genes methylated (P < 0.0003) and in proportional hazards modeling, patients with methylation of any SFRP gene had significantly poorer overall survival (hazard ratio, 1.78; P < 0.02) controlled for TP53 staining intensity and other survival-associated factors. Classifying tumors based on SFRP methylation status and TP53 protein staining intensity may be a clinically powerful predictor of invasive, deadly disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7081-7085
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Research
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 15 2005


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