The Dickkopf-1 (DKK-1) gene product is an extracellular Wnt inhibitor. Hypermethylation of the DKK-1 promoter results in transcriptional silencing and may play an important role in cancer development. Here, we investigated hypermethylation of the DKK-1 promoter in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), especially core-binding factor (CBF) leukaemia. The methylation status of DKK-1 was analyzed by methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction in 47 patients with AML. DKK-1 methylation was found in 14 (29.8%) of the patients, and more frequently in those with CBF leukaemia (6 of 12 patients), than in those with acute promyelocytic leukaemia (0 of 6 patients) (P = .03). In contrast, Wnt inhibitory factor-1 methylation was found in acute promyelocytic leukaemia (4 of 6 patients) but not in CBF leukaemia (0 of 12 patients) (P = .001). Multivariate analyses suggested that DKK-1 methylation was a risk factor for poorer overall survival. Sequential analysis using 4 paired samples obtained at diagnosis and relapse suggested that DKK-1 methylation was involved in the progression of leukaemia. DKK-1 methylation may therefore be involved in leukaemogenesis, especially in CBF leukaemia, and may be a useful prognostic marker in AML.

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Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.