[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lynch syndrome (LS) is associated with germline mutations in DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes. The first "hit" to inactivate one allele of the predisposing MMR gene is present in every cell, contributing to accelerated tumorigenesis. Less information is available of the nature, timing, and order of other molecular "hits" required for tumor development. To this end, MMR protein expression and coordinated promoter methylation were examined in colorectal specimens prospectively collected from LS mutation carriers (n = 55) during colonoscopy surveillance (10/2011-5/2013), supplemented with retrospective specimens.
Loss of MMR protein corresponding to the gene mutated in the germline increased with dysplasia, with frequency of 0 % in normal mucosa, 50-68 % in low-grade dysplasia adenomas, and 100 % in high-grade dysplasia adenomas and carcinomas. Promoter methylation as a putative "second hit" occurred in 1/56 (2 %) of tumors with silenced MMR protein. A general hypermethylation tendency was evaluated by two gene sets, eight CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) genes, and seven candidate tumor suppressor genes linked to colorectal carcinoma (CRC). Hypermethylation followed the same trend as MMR protein loss and was present in some low-grade dysplasia adenomas that still expressed MMR protein suggesting the absence of a "second hit." To assess prospectively collected normal mucosa for carcinogenic "fields," the specimen donors were stratified according to age at biopsy (50 years or below vs. above 50 years) and further according to the absence vs. presence of a (previous or concurrent) diagnosis of CRC. In mutation carriers over 50 years old, two markers from the candidate gene panel (SFRP1 and SLC5A8) revealed a significantly elevated average degree of methylation in individuals with CRC diagnosis vs. those without.
Our findings emphasize the importance and early appearance of epigenetic alterations in LS-associated tumorigenesis. The results serve early detection and assessment of progression of CRC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Altered expression of microRNAs (miRNAs) commonly accompanies colorectal (CRC) and endometrial carcinoma (EC) development, but the underlying mechanisms and clinicopathological correlations remain to be clarified. We focused on epigenetic mechanisms and aimed to explore if DNA methylation patterns in tumors depend on DNA mismatch repair (MMR) status, sporadic vs. Lynch-associated disease, and geographic origin (Finland vs. Australia). Treatment of cancer cell lines with demethylating agents revealed 109 significantly upregulated miRNAs. Seven met our stringent criteria for possible methylation-sensitive miRNAs and were used to screen patient specimens (205 CRCs and 36 ECs) by methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification.
Three miRNAs (129-2, 345, and 132) with low methylation levels in normal tissue and frequent hypermethylation in tumors were of particular interest. Hypermethylation of miR-345 and miR-132 associated with MMR deficiency in CRC regardless of geographic origin, and hypermethylation of miR-132 distinguished sporadic MMR-deficient CRC from Lynch-CRC. Finally, hypermethylation of miRNAs stratified 49 endometrial hyperplasias into low-methylator (simple hyperplasia) and high-methylator groups (complex hyperplasia with or without atypia) and suggested that miR-129-2 methylation in particular could serve as a marker of progression in early endometrial tumorigenesis.
Our study identifies miR-345 and miR-132 as novel differentially methylated miRNAs in CRC, thereby facilitating sub-classification of CRC and links miR-129-2 methylation to early endometrial tumorigenesis.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Clinical Epigenetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diagnosis and treatment of epithelial ovarian cancer is challenging due to the poor understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease. Our aim was to investigate epigenetic mechanisms in ovarian tumorigenesis and, especially, whether tumors with different histological subtypes or hereditary background (Lynch syndrome) exhibit differential susceptibility to epigenetic inactivation of growth regulatory genes. Gene candidates for epigenetic regulation were identified from the literature and by expression profiling of ovarian and endometrial cancer cell lines treated with demethylating agents. Thirteen genes were chosen for methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification assays on 104 (85 sporadic and 19 Lynch syndrome-associated) ovarian carcinomas. Increased methylation (i.e., hypermethylation) of variable degree was characteristic of ovarian carcinomas relative to the corresponding normal tissues, and hypermethylation was consistently more prominent in non-serous than serous tumors for individual genes and gene sets investigated. Lynch syndrome-associated clear cell carcinomas showed the highest frequencies of hypermethylation. Among endometrioid ovarian carcinomas, lower levels of promoter methylation of RSK4, SPARC, and HOXA9 were significantly associated with higher tumor grade; thus, the methylation patterns showed a shift to the direction of high-grade serous tumors. In conclusion, we provide evidence of a frequent epigenetic inactivation of RSK4, SPARC, PROM1, HOXA10, HOXA9, WT1-AS, SFRP2, SFRP5, OPCML, and MIR34B in the development of non-serous ovarian carcinomas of Lynch and sporadic origin, as compared to serous tumors. Our findings shed light on the role of epigenetic mechanisms in ovarian tumorigenesis and identify potential targets for translational applications.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Little is known about the genetic factors that contribute to familial colorectal cancer type X (FCCX), characterized by hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal carcinoma with no mismatch repair defects. Genetic linkage analysis, exome sequencing, tumor studies, and functional investigations of 4 generations of a FCCX family led to the identification of a truncating germline mutation in RPS20, which encodes a component (S20) of the small ribosomal subunit and is a new colon cancer predisposition gene. The mutation was associated with a defect in pre-rRNA maturation. Our findings show that mutations in a gene encoding a ribosomal protein can predispose individuals to microsatellite-stable colon cancer. Evaluation of additional FCCX families for mutations in RPS20 and other ribosome-associated genes is warranted.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inherited defects in the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) system, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and PMS2 genes, underlie Lynch syndrome, one of the most prevalent cancer syndromes in man. The syndrome offers a model for cancers arising through MMR defects and microsatellite instability, which applies to approximately 15% of all colorectal, endometrial, and other cancers. Lynch syndrome also illustrates the significance of the epigenetic component in cancer development. Inactivation of tumor suppressor genes by epigenetic mechanisms is an acquired property of many tumors developing in Lynch syndrome. Furthermore, constitutional epimutations of MMR genes may explain a proportion of mutation-negative families lacking MLH1 or MSH2 protein expression in tumor tissue. This review provides an update of the molecular basis of Lynch syndrome by focusing on the role of epigenetic mechanisms in the pathogenesis of the disease.
No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Clinical Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the Western world and interactions between genetic and environmental factors, including diet, are suggested to play a critical role in its etiology. We conducted a long-term feeding experiment in the mouse to address gene expression and methylation changes arising in histologically normal colonic mucosa as putative cancer-predisposing events available for early detection. The expression of 94 growth-regulatory genes previously linked to human CRC was studied at two time points (5 weeks and 12 months of age) in the heterozygote Mlh1 (+/-) mice, an animal model for human Lynch syndrome (LS), and wild type Mlh1 (+/+) littermates, fed by either Western-style (WD) or AIN-93G control diet. In mice fed with WD, proximal colon mucosa, the predominant site of cancer formation in LS, exhibited a significant expression decrease in tumor suppressor genes, Dkk1, Hoxd1, Slc5a8, and Socs1, the latter two only in the Mlh1 (+/-) mice. Reduced mRNA expression was accompanied by increased promoter methylation of the respective genes. The strongest expression decrease (7.3 fold) together with a significant increase in its promoter methylation was seen in Dkk1, an antagonist of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway. Furthermore, the inactivation of Dkk1 seems to predispose to neoplasias in the proximal colon. This and the fact that Mlh1 which showed only modest methylation was still expressed in both Mlh1 (+/-) and Mlh1 (+/+) mice indicate that the expression decreases and the inactivation of Dkk1 in particular is a prominent early marker for colon oncogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genome-wide accumulation of DNA replication errors known as microsatellite instability (MSI) is the hallmark lesion of DNA mismatch repair (MMR) deficient cancers. Although testing for MSI is widely used to guide clinical management, the contribution of MSI at distinct genic loci to the phenotype remains largely unexplored. Here we report that a mononucleotide (T/U)16 tract located in the 3' untranslated region (3'UTR) of the Ewing sarcoma breakpoint region 1 (EWSR1) gene is a novel MSI target locus that shows perfect sensitivity and specificity in detecting mismatch-repair deficient cancers in two independent populations. We further found a striking re-localization of the EWSR1 protein from nucleus to cytoplasm in MMR-deficient cancers, and that the non-protein coding MSI target locus itself has a modulatory effect on EWSR1 gene expression through alternative 3' end processing of the EWSR1 gene. Our results point to a MSI target gene-specific effect in MMR-deficient cancers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of the study was to detect mutations of BRAF oncogene in colorectal cancer and to use this information to identify Lynch syndrome patients. Consecutive cases of primary colorectal cancer (n = 137) were analyzed for MLH1 protein expression using immunohistochemistry (IHC). BRAF V600E mutation was detected by IHC using a specific monoclonal antibody (VE1) and by qPCR. All MLH1 protein-negative cases were subjected to microsatellite instability analysis and MLH1 promoter methylation assay. MLH1 protein expression deficiency and high microsatellite instability (MSI-H) were detected in 18 of the 137 (13.1 %) consecutive colorectal cancer specimens. Detection of the BRAF V600E mutation by IHC was 100 % sensitive and specific as compared to qPCR, and this mutation was frequently present in the MSI-H group (77.8 %; 14/18) and less frequently in the microsatellite-stable group (7.6 %; 9/118). All BRAF V600E mutated cases of the MSI-H group presented with a MLH1 promoter methylation (14/14) as detected by methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification. When BRAF was wild type in the MSI-H group, only one MLH1 promoter methylation was detected (1/4), and of the remaining three cases without MLH1 methylation, two were identified to harbor an MLH1 mutation consistent with Lynch syndrome. Finally, 11 previously confirmed Lynch syndrome cases were analyzed for BRAF V600E mutation, and all of them were wild type. In conclusion, detection of BRAF V600E in colorectal cancer specimens by IHC is sensitive and specific and may help to identify Lynch syndrome patients.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Archiv für Pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für Klinische Medicin
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ovarian carcinoma in Lynch syndrome (LS) is associated with unexpectedly high survival; yet, beyond DNA mismatch repair (MMR) defects, the developmental mechanisms are unknown. We used established (genetic) and new (epigenetic) classifiers of ovarian cancer to explore similarities and differences between LS-associated and sporadic diseases. To this end, all available ovarian carcinomas (n = 20) from MMR gene mutation carriers ascertained through a nation-wide registry and 87 sporadic ovarian carcinomas of the main histological types were molecularly profiled. LS-ovarian carcinomas were mostly of nonserous histology (12 endometrioid, seven clear cell and one serous), diagnosed at a mean age of 45.7 years, and associated with a 10-year survival of 87%. Among LS-ovarian carcinomas, 19/20 (95%) were MMR-deficient vs. 11/87 (13%) among sporadic cases (p < 0.0001). In a striking contrast to the sporadic cases, the expression of p53 was normal and KRAS/BRAF mutations absent in all LS-ovarian carcinomas. PIK3CA mutations, suggested to be a favorable prognostic factor, occurred with a frequency of 6/20 (30%), which was comparable to sporadic tumors of endometrioid or clear cell type. Tumor suppressor genes were more frequently methylated and LINE-1 hypomethylation less common in LS-ovarian carcinomas compared to their sporadic counterparts. The patterns of genetic and epigenetic alterations reflected the origin as LS vs. sporadic cases on one hand and the histological type on the other hand. In conclusion, the significant molecular differences observed between LS-associated and sporadic ovarian carcinomas help explain the different behavior of these tumors and emphasize the need for tailored clinical management.
No preview · Article · Jun 2013 · International Journal of Cancer
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We evaluated long-term psychosocial consequences of predictive genetic testing, and surveillance behaviour in Lynch syndrome (LS). We conducted a longitudinal study of 208 participants (62 LS mutation carriers and 146 non-carriers) who provided information on general anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory), fear of cancer and dying, satisfaction with life, risk and test perceptions, and surveillance behaviour in the baseline questionnaire before testing, and 1 month, 1 year and 7 years post-test. At 7 years, most of the psychosocial variables remained unchanged, regardless of mutation status. Carriers tended to underestimate their colorectal cancer risk but were more worried about their cancer risk than their counterparts. Non-carriers reported a higher degree of satisfaction with their testing decisions (P < 0.05), but had more doubts concerning test result validity than carriers (P < 0.05). All carriers attended a post-test colonoscopy surveillance, while 16 % of non-carriers reported colonoscopy examinations. Those non-carriers with doubts about test validity were more likely (P = 0.019) to report post-test colonoscopy. Of the carriers, 17 % had an interval longer than 3 years between their colonoscopies. Fear of dying soon, measured at 1-month post-test follow-up was the only psychosocial variable predicting non-compliance in recommended surveillance. No adverse psychosocial consequences were detected, and respondents were satisfied with their decision to testing 7 years post-test. Among the carriers, solely fear of dying soon predicted non-compliance in recommended surveillance. Some non-carriers were still worried about their risk and had doubts about the validity of their genetic testing results predicting post-test colonoscopy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To analyze the epidermal growth factor receptor pathway substrate 8 (EPS8) expression status and role in colorectal carcinogenesis given that EPS8 has a conserved actin barbed-end capping function that is required for proper maturation in intestinal cells.
We studied 8 colon cancer cell lines and 58 colorectal tumors (19 adenomas and 39 carcinomas). We performed expression microarray analysis of colon cancer cell lines followed by loss of heterozygosity (LOH) analysis and immunohistochemistry for EPS8 expression in colon tumors. Subsequently, we performed mutation analysis by direct sequencing and methylation analysis by bisulfite sequencing and methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction assays.
Expression microarray analysis of colon cancer cell lines showed overexpression of EPS8 transcript in all lines but RKO. Genome wide loss of heterozygosity (LOH) analysis of colon tumors, showed considerable LOH at the EPS8 gene locus. Immunohistochemically, EPS8 was constitutively expressed in normal colonic mucosa with a dot-like supranuclear localization with accentuation at the luminal surface supporting its proposed role in epithelial maturation. Nineteen colon tumors (4 adenoma, 15 carcinoma) out of 51 (37%) showed strikingly tumor specific EPS8 protein loss. Of the remaining tumors, 5/51 (2 adenoma, and 3 carcinoma, 10%) showed marked overexpression, while 27/51 tumors (53%) showed retained expression. Mutation analysis revealed a missense mutation (c.794C>T, p.R265C) in exon 8 in RKO. The EPS8 promoter was also methylated in RKO, but there was no significant methylation in other cell lines or carcinoma specimens.
The loss of EPS8 expression in colorectal adenomas and carcinomas suggests that down regulation of this gene contributes to the development of a subset of colorectal cancers, a finding which could have applications in diagnosis and treatment.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · World Journal of Gastroenterology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breast carcinoma is the most common cancer in women, but its incidence is not increased in Lynch syndrome (LS) and studies on DNA mismatch repair deficiency (MMR) in LS-associated breast cancers have arrived at conflicting results. This study aimed to settle the question as to whether breast carcinoma belongs to the LS tumor spectrum.
MMR status and epigenetic profiles were determined for all available breast carcinomas identified among 200 LS families from a nation-wide registry (23 tumors from mutation carriers and 18 from non-carriers). Sporadic breast carcinomas (n = 49) and other cancers (n = 105) from MMR gene mutation carriers were studied for comparison.
The proportion of breast carcinomas that were MMR-deficient based on absent MMR protein, presence of microsatellite instability, or both was significantly (P = 0.00016) higher among breast carcinomas from mutation carriers (13/20, 65%) compared to non-carriers (0/14, 0%). While the average age at breast carcinoma diagnosis was similar in carriers (56 years) and non-carriers (54 years), it was lower for MMR-deficient versus proficient tumors in mutation carriers (53 years versus 61 years, P = 0.027). Among mutation carriers, absent MMR protein was less frequent in breast carcinoma (65%) than in any of seven other tumor types studied (75% to 100%). Tumor suppressor promoter methylation patterns were organ-specific and similar between breast carcinomas from mutation carriers and non-carriers.
Breast carcinoma from MMR gene mutation carriers resembles common breast carcinoma in many respects (for example, general clinicopathological and epigenetic profiles). MMR status makes a distinction: over half are MMR-deficient typical of LS spectrum tumors, while the remaining subset which is MMR-proficient may develop differently. The results are important for appropriate surveillance in mutation carriers and may be relevant for LS diagnosis in selected cases.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · Breast cancer research: BCR
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increased risk for urological tumors has been observed in mutation carriers with Lynch syndrome (LS). In this study, we evaluated the clinical features of uroepithelial (bladder and ureter) and kidney cancers in 974 Finnish mutation carriers. Altogether 30 patients had a total of 34 urological tumors: 12 ureter, 12 bladder, and 10 kidney cancers. Urological tumor was the only tumor in 9 (30 %) patients, and metachronous other tumor occurred in 21 (70 %). The occurrence of uroepithelial cancers was significantly higher in MSH2 mutation carriers (6 %; 95 % CI, 2.7-11.0) than in MLH1 carriers (2 %; 95 % CI, 1.1-3.2) and MSH6 mutation carriers (0 %) (p = 0.014). The mean ages of patients at the time of diagnosis were: bladder cancer, 57 years; ureter cancer, 58 years; and kidney cancer, 64 years. Overall 5-year survival rates were 70 % (95 % CI, 0.32-0.89) in bladder cancer, 81 % (95 % CI, 0.45-0.95) in ureter cancer, and 75 % (95 % CI, 0.31-0.93) in kidney cancer. Cancer-specific 5-year survival rates were 70 % (95 % CI, 0.32-0.89) in bladder cancer, 91 % (95 % CI, 0.51-0.98) in ureter cancer, and 100 % in kidney cancer. In conclusion, early age of onset was observed in patients with uroepithelial tumors, but not in patients with kidney cancer. The frequency of uroepithelial tumors was significantly higher in MSH2 mutation carriers than in MLH1 carriers. Further studies with larger numbers of patients, however, are needed to evaluate the potential benefit of surveillance of urological tumors in LS.