Human Chondrosarcoma Cells Acquire an Epithelial-Like Gene Expression Pattern via an Epigenetic Switch: Evidence for Mesenchymal-Epithelial Transition during Sarcomagenesis. Academic Article uri icon


  • Chondrocytes are mesenchymally derived cells that reportedly acquire some epithelial characteristics; however, whether this is a progression through a mesenchymal to epithelial transition (MET) during chondrosarcoma development is still a matter of investigation. We observed that chondrosarcoma cells acquired the expression of four epithelial markers, E-cadherin,desmocollin 3, maspin, and 14-3-3, all of which are governed epigenetically through cytosine methylation. Indeed, loss of cytosine methylation was tightly associated with acquired expression of both maspin and 14-3-3 in chondrosarcomas. In contrast, chondrocyte cells were negative for maspin and 14-3-3 and displayed nearly complete DNA methylation. Robust activation of these genes was also observed in chondrocyte cells following 5-aza-dC treatment. We also examined the transcription factor snail which has been reported to be an important mediator of epithelial to mesenchymal transitions (EMTs). In chondrosarcoma cells snail is downregulated suggesting a role for loss of snail expression in lineage maintenance. Taken together, these results document an epigenetic switch associated with an MET-like phenomenon that accompanies chondrosarcoma progression.

published proceedings

  • Sarcoma

author list (cited authors)

  • Fitzgerald, M. P., Gourronc, F., Teoh, M., Provenzano, M. J., Case, A. J., Martin, J. A., & Domann, F. E.

citation count

  • 34

complete list of authors

  • Fitzgerald, Matthew P||Gourronc, Francoise||Teoh, Melissa LT||Provenzano, Matthew J||Case, Adam J||Martin, James A||Domann, Frederick E

publication date

  • January 2011