Faculty Advisor

Adams, David S.


In normal adult tissue, L gene promoters are generally unmethylated. In contrast, hypermethylation of gene promoters is a common characteristic of malignant cells. In 1996, James Herman et al. described methylation-specific PCR (MSP) as a rapid method for determining the methylation status of a given region of DNA. The goal of this MQP was to assess the feasibility of using MSP to diagnose cervical and breast cancer in samples from the ThinPrep? Pap Test collection vial (Cytyc Corporation; Boxborough, MA). Using MSP, the methylation status of two cancer-related genes, RAR- and CyclinD2, was established in two cervical cancer cell lines and three breast cancer cell lines. In a second experiment, these cell lines were stored in the ThinPrep? Pap Test collection vial and then recovered to determine if the preservative solution (PreservCyt?) in the vial altered the methylation status of the two genes. Experimental results showed that RAR- and CyclinD2 could be amplified from DNA recovered cells stored in PreservCyt?. Preliminary data suggest that PreservCyt? may alter the methylation pattern of RAR-, however more data is needed to make any firm conclusions.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 2002



Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology