Global acetylation and methylation changes predict papillary urothelial neoplasia of low malignant potential recurrence: A quantitative analysis

R. Mazzucchelli, M. Scarpelli, A. Lopez-Beltran, L. Cheng, H. Bartels, P. H. Bartels, D. S. Alberts, Rodolfo Montironi

7 Scopus citations


Papillary urothelial neoplasia of low malignant potential (PUNLMP) recurs in approximately 35% of patients. Conventional histopathological assessment does not distinguish non-recurrent from recurrent PUNLMP. The aim of this study is to explore the differences in global histone acetylation and global DNA methylation between non-recurrent and recurrent PUNLMP. Acetylated histone H3 lysine 9 (AcH3K9) and 5-methylcytosine (5MeC) were investigated by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in 20 PUNLMP cases (10 non-recurrent and 10 recurrent), in 5 cases of normal urothelium (NU) and in 5 cases of muscle invasive pT2 urothelial carcinoma (UC). The total optical density of the nuclear staining was measured photometrically in at least 40 nuclei separately for the basal, intermediate and luminal positions in each case. Concerning the total optical density values for both acetylation and methylation, a decrease in staining is observed from non-recurrent PUNLMP to recurrent PUNLMP, at all nuclear locations. For acetylation the mean value in non-recurrent PUNLMP, intermediate between NU and UC, is closer to the former than to latter. The mean value in recurrent PUNLMP is closer to UC than to NU. In NU, non-recurrent and recurrent PUNLMP, the acetylation to methylation ratio decreased from the nuclei in basal position to those in the surface, the average for the above groups being 1.491, 1.611 and 1.746, respectively. Setting the observed values for NU at each sampling location to unity, acetylation shows a steady decrease, the percentages of changes in this nuclear location compared to NU being -5% in non-recurrent PUNLMP, -15% in recurrent PUNLMP and -24% in UC. Concerning methylation, there is a slight increase in non-recurrent PUNLMP (+5%), a decrease in recurrent PUNLMP (-19%) followed by a sharp rise for the UC (+61%). In conclusion, there are differences in global histone acetylation and DNA methylation patterns between non-recurrent and recurrent PUNLMP. Further studies are needed to elucidate the complex interplay between chromatin structure, its modifications and recurrence of PUNLMP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-497
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


  • Global DNA methylation
  • Global histone acetylation
  • Papillary urothelial neoplasm of low malignant potential
  • Recurrence
  • Urothelium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy

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