The degree of methylation at the c-myc proto-oncogene was found to change in human lymphoproliferative diseases, when examined using a methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme. In peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) c-myc DNA showed hypomethylation in human lymphoproliferative diseases, in comparison to normal subjects matched in age and sex. In cases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the change was amplified in the crisis. When the DNA was examined at the actin gene, no significant change was observed. The results suggest that the change in c-myc proto-oncogene methylation might become an important clue in understanding the relationship between levels of gene expression and methylation in human lymphoproliferative diseases.

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