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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 136941, 8 pages
Research Article

MALDI-TOF Mass Array Analysis of Nell-1 Promoter Methylation Patterns in Human Gastric Cancer

1Department of Surgical Oncology, The Fourth Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin 150010, China
2Central Laboratory, School of Stomatology, Peking University, Beijing 100081, China
3Department of Nephrology, First Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin 150010, China

Received 21 April 2014; Revised 10 October 2014; Accepted 6 November 2014

Academic Editor: Haiteng Deng

Copyright © 2015 Changlu Gao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Mass spectrometry (MS) enables rapid and sensitive qualitative and quantitative analyses of biomolecules (proteins, peptides, oligosaccharides, lipids, DNA, and RNA), drugs, and metabolites. MS has become an essential tool in modern biomedical research, including the analysis of DNA methylation. DNA methylation has been reported in many cancers, suggesting that it can be utilized as an early biomarker to improve the early diagnosis rate. Using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight MS and MassCLEAVE reagent, we compared Nell-1 hypermethylation levels among tumor tissues, paracarcinoma tissues, and normal tissues from gastric cancer patients. Almost 80% of the CpG sites in the amplicons produced were covered by the analysis. Our results indicate a significant difference in methylation status between gastric cancer tissue (a higher level) and normal tissue. The same trend was identified in gastric cancer tissue versus paracarcinoma tissue. We also detected lower relative expression of Nell-1 by real-time PCR. Furthermore, immunohistochemical analyses revealed that Nell-1 staining was less intense in cancer tissue relative to normal tissue and that the tumor cells had spread to the muscle layer. These findings may serve as a guide for the early diagnosis of gastric cancer.