[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gene-specific promoter methylation of several genes occurs in aging normal tissues and may predispose to tumorigenesis. In the present study, we investigate the association of blood folate levels and dietary and lifestyle factors with CpG island (CGI) methylation in normal colorectal mucosa. Subjects were enrolled in a multicenter chemoprevention trial of aspirin or folic acid for the prevention of large bowel adenomas. We collected 1,000 biopsy specimens from 389 patients, 501 samples from the right colon and 499 from the rectum at the follow-up colonoscopy. We measured DNA methylation of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) and secreted frizzled related protein-1 (SFRP1), using bisulfite pyrosequencing. We used generalized estimating equations regression analysis to examine the association between methylation and selected variables. For both ERα and SFRP1, percentage methylation was significantly higher in the rectum than in the right colon (P = 0.001). For each 10 years of age, we observed a 1.7% increase in methylation level for ERα and a 2.9% increase for SFRP1 (P < 0.0001). African Americans had a significantly lower level of ERα and SFRP1 methylation than Caucasians and Hispanics. Higher RBC folate levels were associated with higher levels of both ERα (P = 0.03) and SFRP1 methylation (P = 0.01). Our results suggest that CGI methylation in normal colorectal mucosa is related to advancing age, race, rectal location, and RBC folate levels. These data have important implications regarding the safety of supplementary folate administration in healthy adults, given the hypothesis that methylation in normal mucosa may predispose to colorectal neoplasia.
Cancer Prevention Research 12/2010; 3(12):1552-64. · 4.89 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs) constitute a novel class of targeted drugs that alter the acetylation status of histones and other important cellular proteins. These agents modulate chromatin structure leading to transcriptional changes, induce pleiotropic effects on functional pathways and activate cell death signaling in cancer cells. Anti-neoplastic activity in vitro was shown in several experimental models of cancer, but the exact mechanism of cytotoxicity and responses are not clearly understood. Phase I/II clinical trials of various HDACIs as single agents conducted to date have shown substantial activity in cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL), preliminary activity in Hodgkin's disease and modest activity in myeloid neoplasms. Responses have been rare in solid tumors. Several agents are being tested in combination therapy clinical trials, either as chemosensitizers for cytotoxic chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or in association with DNA methylation inhibitors based on in vitro synergy. In this review, we focus on recent basic and clinical data that highlight the anti-neoplastic role of HDACIs.
Cancer letters 05/2009; 280(2):192-200. · 4.86 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fifteen years after the first demonstration of epigenetic tumor-suppressor gene inactivation associated with promoter methylation, the field has reached a level of understanding that threatens a re-writing of established biologic concepts. In gastrointestinal malignancies, epigenetic analysis has led to novel hypotheses regarding the etiology of age-associated cancer susceptibility and the interactions between environmental exposures and neoplasia. Methylation profiling has uncovered a distinct pathway to colorectal neoplasia that may arise from a hitherto underestimated precursor lesion, the proximal hyperplastic polyp-serrated adenoma pathway. Epigenetic information has shown promise in clarifying susceptibility to cancer and defining poor prognosis groups in gastrointestinal cancers. Finally, the field has engendered renewed interest in therapeutic targeting of epigenetic regulatory molecules, and several such drugs are currently in clinical trials. It is likely that epigenetic pathways will be integrated in the routine management of gastrointestinal malignancies over the next decade.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The accumulation of genetic and epigenetic changes plays a pivotal role in tumor development and progression. In this study, we investigated these changes using comparative genomic hybridization and bisulfite polymerase chain reaction analysis for CpG island hypermethylation of the following genes: TP16, THBS2, E-Cadherin (ECAD), RARbeta2, MINT1, MINT2, and MINT31 in six paired primary breast tumors and their matched sentinel lymph nodes (SLN). The most frequent chromosomal alterations observed were the following: losses of 6q13 approximately q23 and 13q13 approximately q32 and gains of 9q31 approximately qter, 11p15 approximately q21, 12q23 approximately qter, and 20q12 approximately qter. Gain of 6p21 approximately pter was observed in the SLN but in none of the primary tumors. Overall, 71% (30/42) of the methylation measurements were identical between the primary tumors and the SLN. Of the six cases, two showed no differences between the primary tumors and SLN, one tumor with 4 of 7 genes hypermethylated in the primary tumor showed loss of all four hypermethylation events in the SLN, and the remaining three tumors showed loss of one methylation event and simultaneous gain of one to two methylation changes in the SLN. This is the first study reporting genetic and epigenetic alterations in breast sentinel lymph nodes compared to their corresponding primary tumors. Characterization of such alterations may lead to identification of initial events associated with the metastatic dissemination process.
Cancer Genetics and Cytogenetics 11/2003; 146(1):33-40. · 1.93 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To identify CpG islands differentially methylated in pancreatic adenocarcinoma, we used methylated CpG island amplification (MCA) coupled with representational difference analysis. Of 42 CpG islands identified by MCA/representational difference analysis, 7 CpG islands [methylated in carcinoma of the pancreas (MICP)] were differentially methylated in a panel of eight pancreatic cancer cell lines compared with normal pancreas. In a larger panel of 75 pancreatic adenocarcinomas, these 7 MICPs (ppENK, Cyclin G, ZBP, MICP25, 27, 36, and 38) were methylated in 93, 3, 9, 15, 48, 19, and 41% of cancers, respectively, by methylation-specific PCR but not in any of 15 normal pancreata. In pancreatic cancer cell lines, methylation of ppENK, a gene with known growth suppressive properties, was associated with transcriptional silencing that was reversible with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine treatment. Relationships between the methylation patterns of pancreatic adenocarcinomas and their clinicopathological features were also determined. Larger pancreatic cancers and those from older patients (P = 0.017) harbored more methylated loci than smaller tumors and those from younger patients (P = 0.017). ppENK, MICP25, and 27 were variably methylated in normal gastric, duodenal, and colonic mucosae. These data indicate that aberrant methylation of ppENK and its transcriptional repression is a common event in pancreatic carcinogenesis.
Cancer Research 01/2002; 61(23):8540-6. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have used genome-wide allelotyping with 348 polymorphic autosomal markers spaced, on average, 10 cM apart to quantitate the extent of intrachromosomal instability in 59 human sporadic colorectal carcinomas. We have compared instability measured by this method with that measured by inter-(simple sequence repeat) PCR and microsatellite instability assays. Instability quantitated by fractional allelic loss rates was found to be independent of that detected by microsatellite instability analyses but was weakly associated with that measured by inter-(simple sequence repeat) PCR. A set of seven loci were identified that were most strongly associated with elevated rates of fractional allelic loss and/or inter-(simple sequence repeat) PCR instability; these seven loci were on chromosomes 3, 8, 11, 13, 14, 18, and 20. A lesser association was seen with two loci flanking p53 on chromosome 17. Coordinate loss patterns for these loci suggest that at least two separate sets of cooperating loci exist for intrachromosomal genomic instability in human colorectal cancer.
Cancer Research 12/2001; 61(22):8274-83. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have sequenced the promoter region of the murine asparagine synthetase gene and examined its methylation profile in the CpG islands of L-asparaginase-sensitive 6C3HED cells (asparagine auxotrophs) and resistant variants (prototrophs). In the former, complete methylation of the CpG island is correlated with failure of expression of mRNA: cells of the latter possess both methylated and unmethylated alleles, as do cells of the intrinsically asparagine-independent lines L1210 and EL4. A similar phenomenon was seen in normal splenic cells of adult mice. This was age related: no methylation was found in weanlings, but up to 45% of gene copies in animals 18 weeks or older were methylated. It was also tissue related, with methylation occurring rarely in liver cells. The relationship of these changes to oncogenesis is considered.
British Journal of Cancer 10/2001; 85(6):930-5. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have recently identified a maternally imprinted tumor suppressor gene, ARHI (aplysia ras homolog I), the expression of which is lost in ovarian and breast cancers. We have now characterized the genomic structure of the gene including its promoter and the methylation status of its upstream CpG islands. The ARHI gene spans approximately 8 kb containing two exons and one intron. Exon 1 contains 81 non-translated nucleotides, connected to exon 2 with a 3.2-kb intron. The entire protein-coding region is located within exon 2 and encodes a 229-residue small GTP-binding protein belonging to the Ras superfamily. Genomic structure analysis has identified three potential CpG islands. Two of them (CpG island I and II) are located within the promoter and adjacent exon 1 of the ARHI gene. Aberrant methylation of these CpG islands has been detected in breast cancer cells but not in normal epithelial cells, supporting the possibility that appropriate methylation status of the CpG islands in the promoter region may play a role in the downregulation of ARHI gene expression. A TATA box is found 27 bp upstream of the transcription start site associated with several putative transcription factor binding sites. Transient transfection with nested deletion constructs of the 2-kb ARHI promoter regions fused to a luciferase reporter indicated a 121-bp sequence upstream of the transcription initiation site is required for basal promoter activity. Interestingly, this is the region where lower promoter activity has been observed in cancer cells than in normal cells.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 07/2001; 1519(3):216-22. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CpG island hypermethylation is a mechanism of gene silencing that can be usurped by neoplastic cells to inactivate undesirable genes. In the colon, hypermethylation often starts in normal mucosa as a function of age and is markedly increased in cancer. To test the hypothesis that subjects at increased risk of colon cancer have higher levels of methylation in their nonneoplastic mucosa, we studied methylation patterns of five genes in the normal and dysplastic mucosa of patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), a condition associated with a marked increased risk of colon cancer. One gene (Mlh1) was unmethylated in all tissues examined. All four remaining genes had low but detectable levels of methylation in the epithelium of UC patients without evidence of dysplasia, and this methylation was not different from non-UC controls. By contrast, all four genes were highly methylated in dysplastic epithelium from high-grade dysplasia (HGD)/cancer patients with UC; methylation in HGD versus controls averaged 40.0% versus 7.4% (P = 0.00003) for ER, 44.0% versus 3.0% (P < 0.00003) for MYOD, 9.4% versus 2.4% (P = 0.03) for p16 exon 1, and 57.5% versus 30.6% (P = 0.01) for CSPG2. Importantly, three of the four genes were also highly methylated in the normal appearing (nondysplastic) epithelium from these same HGD/cancer patients, indicating that methylation precedes dysplasia and is widespread in these patients. Compared with controls, methylation averaged 20.1% versus 7.2% (P = 0.07) for ER, 18.4% versus 3.0% (P < 0.008) for MYOD, and 7.9% versus 2.4% (P = 0.007) for p16 exon 1. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that age-related methylation marks (and may lead to) the field defect that reflects acquired predisposition to colorectal neoplasia. Furthermore, the data suggest that chronic inflammation is associated with high levels of methylation, perhaps as a result of increased cell turnover, and that UC can be viewed as resulting in premature aging of colorectal epithelial cells.
Cancer Research 05/2001; 61(9):3573-7. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aberrant methylation of multiple CpG islands has been described in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), but it is not known whether these are independent events or whether they reflect specific methylation defects in a subset of cases. To study this issue, the methylation status of 14 promoter-associated CpG islands was analyzed in 36 cases of AML previously characterized for estrogen-receptor methylation (ERM). Cases with methylation density of 10% or greater were considered positive. Seventeen cases (47%) were ERM(+) while 19 cases were ERM(-). Hypermethylation of any of the following, p15, p16, CACNA1G, MINT1, MINT2, MDR1, THBS1, and PTC1 (2 promoters), was relatively infrequent (6% to 31% of patients). For each of these CpG islands, the methylation density was positively correlated with ERM density (rank order correlation coefficients, 0.32-0.59; 2-tailed P < or = .058 for each gene). Hypermethylation of MYOD1, PITX2, GPR37, and SDC4 was frequently found in AML (47% to 64% of patients). For each of these genes as well, methylation density was positively correlated with ERM density (correlation coefficients 0.43 to 0.69, P < or = .0087 for each gene). MLH1 was unmethylated in all cases. Hypermethylation of p15, MDR1, and SDC4 correlated with reduced levels of expression. There was an inverse correlation between age and the number of genes methylated (P = .0030). It was concluded that CpG-island methylation in AML results from methylation defects in subsets of cases. These results have potential implications for the classification and prognosis of AML and for the identification of patients who may benefit from treatment with methylation inhibitors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alterations in methylation are widespread in cancers. DNA methylation of promoter-associated CpG islands is an alternate mechanism to mutation in silencing gene function, and affects tumor-suppressor genes such as p16 and RBI, growth and differentiation controlling genes such as ER and many others. Evidence is now accumulating that some of these methylation changes may initiate in subpopulations of normal cells as a function of age and progressively increase during carcinogenesis. Age-related methylation appears to be widespread and is one of the earliest changes marking the risk for neoplasia. In colon cancer, we have shown a pattern of age-related methylation for several genes, including ER, IGF2, N33 and MyoD, which progresses to full methylation in adenomas and neoplasms. Hypermethylation of these genes is associated with gene silencing. Age-related methylation involves at least 50% of the genes which are hypermethylated in colon cancer, and we propose that such age-related methylation may partly account for the fact that most cancers occur as a function of old age. Age-related methylation, then, may be a fundamental mark of the field defect in patients with neoplasia. The causes of age-related methylation are still unknown at this point, but evidence points to an interplay between local predisposing factors in DNA (methylation centers), levels of gene expression and environmental exposure. The concept that age-related methylation is a predisposing factor for neoplasia implies that it may serve as a diagnostic risk marker in cancer, and as a novel target for chemoprevention. Studies in animal models support this hypothesis and should lead to novel approaches to risk-assessment and chemoprevention in humans.
Histology and histopathology 08/2000; 15(3):835-42. · 2.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cyclooxygenases (COXs) are key enzymes that convert arachidonic acid to prostaglandins. Overexpression of one of the COX isozymes, COX2, has been shown to play an important role in colorectal cancer progression. Recently, however, low expression of COX2 has been reported in a subset of colorectal and gastric cancers. Aberrant CpG island methylation and associated transcriptional silencing are common in colorectal cancer, and we therefore investigated the potential role of methylation in the transcriptional silencing of COX2. We examined the methylation status of the COX2 5' CpG island in a series of tumor cell lines. Among the 33 cell lines examined, dense methylation (>70%) of COX2 was detected in 5 cell lines, and partial methylation was detected in 10 cell lines. Detailed methylation mapping using bisulfite genomic sequencing revealed that loss of expression of COX2 mRNA was closely correlated with methylation of a region upstream of exon 1, and expression could be restored by demethylation using the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor 5-aza-deoxycytidine. Aberrant methylation of COX2 was also detected in 12 of 92 (13%) unselected sporadic primary colorectal cancers and 7 of 50 (14%) colorectal adenomas. COX2 methylation was strongly associated with the presence of the CpG island methylator phenotype (P<0.01), inversely related to p53 gene mutation (P<0.01), and unrelated to microsatellite instability status. We propose that COX2 expression in colorectal tumors is modulated by functional factors that favor high expression and by the CpG island methylator phenotype that favors silencing in a subset of cases. These results raise the possibility that tumors with COX2 methylation may be less sensitive to treatment using specific COX2 inhibitors.
Cancer Research 08/2000; 60(15):4044-8. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Colorectal cancer has provided an excellent model for studying the genetic basis of cancer and is one of the better-understood malignancies in this regard. The orderly progression of the disease, with distinct genetic alterations at each step, is a useful framework for deciphering the molecular basis of neoplasia. Epigenetics, the study of clonal changes in gene expression without associated genetic lesions, has raised increased interest recently, in part because of the identification of DNA methylation as a potential molecular mediator of the process. Several tumor-suppressor genes are silenced in various neoplasms in association with aberrant promoter methylation, and in the absence of coding region mutations. The study of DNA methylation changes in colorectal cancer has now provided additional clues into the pathogenesis of the disease. This review presents evidence for a model whereby DNA methylation changes play two distinct roles in the molecular evolution of colorectal cancer. Initially, progressive methylation and silencing of a subset of genes takes place in normal tissues as a function of age or time-dependent events and predisposes these normal cells to neoplastic transformation. At a later stage of disease progression, DNA methylation plays an important role in a subset of tumors affected by the CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP), a recently identified pathway that results in a form of epigenetic instability through the simultaneous silencing of multiple genes. DNA methylation changes have important interactions with genetic lesions in this cancer type. CIMP+ cancers include the majority of tumors with sporadic mismatch repair deficiency through hypermethylation of the hMLH1 promoter, and also account for the majority of tumors with Ki-ras mutations through an unknown mechanism. By contrast, CIMP- cases evolve along a more classic genetic instability pathway, with a high rate of p53 mutations and chromosomal changes. Thus, the integration of epigenetic and genetic information provides a more complete molecular understanding of colorectal cancer and may have implications for the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of patients affected by this disease.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 07/2000; 910:140-53; discussion 153-5. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) is a DNA repair protein that removes mutagenic and cytotoxic adducts from the O6 position of guanine. O6-methylguanine mispairs with thymine during replication, and if the adduct is not removed, this results in conversion from a guanine-cytosine pair to an adenine-thymine pair. In vitro assays show that MGMT expression avoids G to A mutations and MGMT transgenic mice are protected against G to A transitions at ras genes. We have recently demonstrated that the MGMT gene is silenced by promoter methylation in many human tumors, including colorectal carcinomas. To study the relevance of defective MGMT function by aberrant methylation in relation to the presence of K-ras mutations, we studied 244 colorectal tumor samples for MGMT promoter hypermethylation and K-ras mutational status. Our results show a clear association between the inactivation of MGMT by promoter hypermethylation and the appearance of G to A mutations at K-ras: 71% (36 of 51) of the tumors displaying this particular type of mutation had abnormal MGMT methylation, whereas only 32% (12 of 37) of those with other K-ras mutations not involving G to A transitions and 35% (55 of 156) of the tumors without K-ras mutations demonstrated MGMT methylation (P = 0.002). In addition, MGMT loss associated with hypermethylation was observed in the small adenomas, including those that do not yet contain K-ras mutations. Hypermethylation of other genes such as p16INK4a and p14ARF was not associated with either MGMT hypermethylation or K-ras mutation. Our data suggest that epigenetic silencing of MGMT by promoter hypermethylation may lead to a particular genetic change in human cancer, specifically G to A transitions in the K-ras oncogene.
Cancer Research 06/2000; 60(9):2368-71. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hypermethylation of CpG islands is a common mechanism by which tumor suppressor genes are inactivated. We studied 45 pancreatic carcinomas and 14 normal pancreata for aberrant DNA methylation of CpG islands of multiple genes and clones using methylation-specific PCR (MSP) and bisulfite-modified sequencing. Using MSP, we detected aberrant methylation of at least one locus in 60% of carcinomas. The genes analyzed included RARbeta (methylated in 20%), p16 (18%), CACNA1G (16%), TIMP-3 (11%), E-cad (7%), THBS1 (7%), hMLH1 (4%), DAP kinase (2%), and MGMT (0%). In addition, aberrant methylation was found in three CpG islands (MINT31, -1, and -2) in 38, 38, and 14% of carcinomas, respectively. Hypermethylation was largely confined to the carcinomas with only three loci (E-cad, DAP kinase, and MINT2) harboring methylation in some normal pancreata (36, 21, and 14%, respectively). Simultaneous methylation of at least four loci was observed in 5 of 36 (14%) pancreatic adenocarcinomas. We defined this subgroup of pancreatic adenocarcinomas as "CpG island-methylator-phenotype positive (CIMP+)." Two of four carcinomas with microsatellite instability harbored promoter hypermethylation of hMLH1, and both cases were CIMP+. Thus, we conclude that many pancreatic carcinomas hypermethylate a small percentage of genes, whereas a subset displays a CIMP+ phenotype.
Cancer Research 05/2000; 60(7):1835-9. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Colorectal cancers (CRCs) are characterized by multiple genetic (mutations) and epigenetic (CpG island methylation) alterations, but it is not known whether these evolve independently through stochastic processes. We have recently described a novel pathway termed CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) in CRC, which is characterized by the simultaneous methylation of multiple CpG islands, including several known genes, such as p16, hMLH1, and THBS1. We have now studied mutations in K-RAS, p53, DPC4, and TGFbetaRII in a panel of colorectal tumors with or without CIMP. We find that CIMP defines two groups of tumors with significantly different genetic lesions: frequent K-RAS mutations were found in CIMP(+) CRCs (28/41, 68%) compared with CIMP(-) cases (14/47, 30%, P = 0.0005). By contrast, p53 mutations were found in 24% (10/41) of CIMP(+) CRCs vs. 60% (30/46) of CIMP(-) cases (P = 0.002). Both of these differences were independent of microsatellite instability. These interactions between CIMP, K-RAS mutations, and p53 mutations were preserved in colorectal adenomas, suggesting that they occur early in carcinogenesis. The distinct combinations of epigenetic and genetic alterations in each group suggest that activation of oncogenes and inactivation of tumor suppressor genes is related to the underlying mechanism of generating molecular diversity in cancer, rather than simply accumulate stochastically during cancer development.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2000; 97(2):710-5. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cancer development and progression is dictated by a series of alterations in genes such as oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, DNA repair genes, and others. DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that is profoundly altered in most cancers. Recently, hypermethylation of CpG-rich areas located in the promoter of genes (CpG islands) has been shown to be commonly implicated in silencing tumor suppressor genes in cancer. By cloning and characterizing a large number of such CpG islands hypermethylated in colon cancer, we found that two processes explain most of these events. Age-related CpG island methylation in a subset of cells in normal tissues, followed by intensification of methylation in cancer cells explains the majority of hypermethylation events in colon cancer and may provide a mechanistic link between aging and cancer formation. Most of the other CpG islands methylated in colon cancer can be explained by a newly described phenotype, the CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) which results in multiple methylation events in a subset of cancers. CIMP accounts for the majority of sporadic colon cancers characterized by microsatellite instability, as well as most tumors with k-ras mutations. Understanding further the factors that lead to, and modulate, aberrant methylation in cancer may provide novel avenues for prevention and treatment of this disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aberrant methylation of 5' CpG islands is thought to play an important role in the inactivation of tumor suppressor genes in cancer. In colorectal cancer, a group of tumors is characterized by a hypermethylator phenotype termed CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP), which includes methylation of such genes as p16 and hMLH1. To study whether CIMP is present in gastric cancer, the methylation status of five newly cloned CpG islands was examined in 56 gastric cancers using bisulfite-PCR. Simultaneous methylation of three loci or more was observed in 23 (41%) of 56 cancers, which suggests that these tumors have the hypermethylator phenotype CIMP. There was a significant concordance between CIMP and the methylation of known genes including p16, and hMLH1; methylation of p16 was detected in 16 (70%) of 23 CIMP+ tumors, 1 (8%) of 12 CIMP intermediate tumors, and 1 (5%) of 21 CIMP- tumors (P<0.0001). Methylation of the hMLH1 gene was detected in three of five tumors that showed microsatellite instability, and all three of the cases were CIMP+. The CIMP phenotype is an early event in gastric cancer, being present in the normal tissue adjacent to cancer in 5 of 56 cases. These results suggest that CIMP may be one of the major pathways that contribute to tumorigenesis in gastric cancers.
Cancer Research 11/1999; 59(21):5438-42. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CpG islands are short stretches of CpG rich regions that are frequently associated with the promoter region of genes. Aberrant methylation of CpG islands is one mechanism of inactivating tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) in neoplasia, and there is growing evidence that altered cytosine methylation play important roles in cancer development. However, the differences in global CpG island methylation patterns between normal and cancer cells remain poorly understood. By examining a large number of loci in a series of cancers, global methylation profiles can be constructed. Such studies revealed that in colorectal cancer, there appears to be two types of methylation that are associated with cancer progression: type A (for age-related) methylation, and type C (for cancer-specific) methylation. Initially, type A methylation arises as a function of age in normal colorectal epithelial cells. By affecting genes that regulate the growth and/or differentiation of these cells, such methylation may result in a predisposition state that precedes tumor formation in the colon. Type C methylation, by contrast, was found exclusively in a subset of cancers, which display a CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP). CIMP is a novel molecular instability pathway that appears to be responsible for most cases of aberrant TSG methylation in colorectal cancer, and which has important interactions with genetic pathways as well. In fact, CIMP+ tumors account for the majority of sporadic colorectal cancers with microsatellite instability, through methylation of the mismatch repair gene hMLH1. This model whereby age-related methylation increases cell-susceptibility to transformation and cancer-specific methylation results in neoplastic progression in a subset of cases may be applicable to many human neoplasms.
Seminars in Cancer Biology 11/1999; 9(5):349-57. · 7.44 Impact Factor