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    Epigenetic regulation of miR-196b expression in gastric cancer. Tsai Kuo-Wang,Hu Ling-Yueh,Wu Chew-Wun,Li Sung-Chou,Lai Chun-Hung,Kao Hsiao-Wei,Fang Wen-Liang,Lin Wen-Chang Genes, chromosomes & cancer MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding RNAs that play important roles in cellular processes and disease pathogenesis via the control of specific targeted gene expression. The miR-196s miRNA is encoded at three paralogous loci in three HOX clusters and acts as an oncogenic miRNA in cancer progression. Recent studies have demonstrated that the expression of miR-196b increases cell proliferation and survival in leukemic cells. Here, we used a sequential methylation analysis to reveal that the methylation status correlated well with miR-196b expression in different cell lines. Treatment with the demethylating drug 5-Aza-dC reactivated miR-196b transcription in methylation-silenced cells. Using in vitro methylation approach, we further provide evidences that promoter hypermethylation represses miR-196b transcriptional activation tightly in human cancer cell lines. We also demonstrate that the expression of miR-196b is significantly elevated in gastric cancer and that hypomethylation status of miR-196b CpG islands frequently is observed in primary gastric tumors. Our results provide important information on miR-196s regulation and demonstrate that abnormal DNA hypomethylation induces overexpression of miR-196b in gastric cancer. 10.1002/gcc.20804