Effect of 5-Azacytidine on DNA Methylation and the Malignant Properties of B16 Melanoma Cells

Deborah L. Trainer, Thomas Kline, Francine Mallon, Russell Greig, George Poste

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The role of DNA methylation in the expression of the metastatic phenotype in B16 murine melanoma cells in syngeneic C57BL/6 mice has been investigated. B16 cultures were incubated in vitro for either 6 or 18 h with the DNA hypomethylating agents, 5-azacytidine (5-Aza-CR) or 5-fluoro-2'-deoxycytidine (FCdR). At various times (1-13 days) following treatment, tumor cells were tested for their ability to form metastatic deposits when injected at different doses either i.v. (experimental metastasis) or s.c. in the footpad (spontaneous metastasis). Both 5-Aza-CR (0.5-15 μM) and FCdR (0.3-30 μM) caused a dose-dependent increase in the ability of B16 cells to form experimental pulmonary metastases. Increased capacity to form experimental pulmonary metastases was evident 24 h following treatment with 5-Aza-CR and 13 days following treatment with FCdR. The enhanced metastatic burden involved both an increase in the median number of lung colonies and a substantial increase in the size of individual lesions. 5-Aza-CR or FCdR treatment of B16 cell populations did not influence either the tumorigenicity or their ability to form spontaneous metastases. Parallel in vitro experiments using high-performance liquid chromatography analysis of cellular DNA demonstrated that under conditions in which 5-Aza-CR and FCdR enhanced formation of experimental metastases by B16 cells, there were readily detectable alterations in the 5-methylcytosine levels in DNA extracted from drug-treated cultures. These data suggest that drug-induced alterations in DNA methylation can affect biochemical pathway(s) whose expression is associated with the successful organ colonization by circulating tumor cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6124-6130
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
StatePublished - Dec 1 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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