Epigenetic Alteration of the Wnt Inhibitory Factor-1 Promoter Occurs Early in the Carcinogenesis of Barrett’s Esophagus


Clément, G., Guilleret, I., He, B., Yagui-Beltrán, A., Lin, Y.-C., You, L., Xu, Z., Shi, Y., Okamoto, J., Benhattar, J. and Jablons, D. (2008), Epigenetic alteration of the Wnt inhibitory factor-1 promoter occurs early in the carcinogenesis of Barrett’s esophagus. Cancer Science, 99: 46-53. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1349-7006.2007.00663.x


The role of Wnt antagonists in the carcinogenesis of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) remains unclear. We hypothesized that downregulation of the Wnt inhibitory factor-1 (WIF-1) might be involved in the neoplastic progression of Barrett’s esophagus (BE). We analyzed the DNA methylation status of the WIF-1 promoter in normal, preneoplastic, and neoplastic samples from BE patients and in EAC cell lines. We investigated the role of WIF-1 on EAC cell growth and the chemosensitization of the cells to cisplatin. We found that silencing of WIF-1 correlated with promoter hypermethylation. EAC tissue samples showed higher levels of WIF-1 methylation compared to the matched normal epithelium. In addition, we found that WIF-1 hypermethylation was more frequent in BE samples from patients with EAC than in BE samples from patients who had not progressed to EAC. Restoration of WIF-1 in cell lines where WIF-1 was methylation-silenced resulted in growth suppression. Restoration of WIF-1 could sensitize the EAC cells to the chemotherapy drug cisplatin. Our results suggest that silencing of WIF-1 through promoter hypermethylation is an early and common event in the carcinogenesis of BE. Restoring functional WIF-1 might be used as a new targeted therapy for the treatment of this malignancy.

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