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1.  Spectrin Repeat Containing Nuclear Envelope 1 and Forkhead Box Protein E1 Are Promising Markers for the Detection of Colorectal Cancer in Blood 
Identifying biomarkers in body fluids may improve the noninvasive detection of colorectal cancer. Previously, we identified N-Myc downstream-regulated gene 4 (NDRG4) and GATA binding protein 5 (GATA5) methylation as promising biomarkers for colorectal cancer in stool DNA. Here, we examined the utility of NDRG4, GATA5, and two additional markers [Forkhead box protein E1 (FOXE1) and spectrin repeat containing nuclear envelope 1 (SYNE1)] promoter methylation as biomarkers in plasma DNA. Quantitative methylation-specific PCR was performed on plasma DNA from 220 patients with colorectal cancer and 684 noncancer controls, divided in a training set and a test set. Receiver operating characteristic analysis was performed to measure the area under the curve of GATA5, NDRG4, SYNE1, and FOXE1 methylation. Functional assays were performed in SYNE1 and FOXE1 stably transfected cell lines. The sensitivity of NDRG4, GATA5, FOXE1, and SYNE1 methylation in all stages of colorectal cancer (154 cases, 444 controls) was 27% [95% confidence interval (CI), 20%–34%), 18% (95% CI, 12%–24%), 46% (95% CI, 38%– 54%), and 47% (95% CI, 39%–55%), with a specificity of 95% (95% CI, 93%–97%), 99% (95% CI, 98%–100%), 93% (95% CI, 91%–95%), and 96% (95% CI, 94%–98%), respectively. Combining SYNE1 and FOXE1, increased the sensitivity to 56% (95% CI, 48%–64%), while the specificity decreased to 90% (95% CI, 87%–93%) in the training set and to 58% sensitivity (95% CI, 46%–70%) and 91% specificity (95% CI, 80%–100%) in a test set (66 cases, 240 controls). SYNE1 overexpression showed no major differences in cell proliferation, migration, and invasion compared with controls. Overexpression of FOXE1 significantly decreased the number of colonies in SW480 and HCT116 cell lines. Overall, our data suggest that SYNE1 and FOXE1 are promising markers for colorectal cancer detection.
doi:10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-14-0198
PMCID: PMC4316751  PMID: 25538088
2.  Novel Methylation Biomarker Panel for the Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer 
Purpose
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths and there currently is no reliable modality for the early detection of this disease. Here we identify cancer-specific promoter DNA methylation of BNC1 and ADAMTS1 as a promising biomarker detection strategy meriting investigation in pancreatic cancer.
Experimental Design
We used a genome-wide pharmacologic transcriptome approach to identify novel cancer-specific DNA methylation alterations in pancreatic cancer cell lines. Of 8 promising genes, we focused our studies on BNC1 and ADAMTS1 for further downstream analysis including methylation and expression. We used a nanoparticle-enabled MOB (Methylation On Beads) technology to detect early stage pancreatic cancers by analyzing DNA methylation in patient serum.
Results
We identified 2 novel genes, BNC1 (92%) and ADAMTS1, (68%) that showed a high frequency of methylation in pancreas cancers (n=143), up to 100% in PanIN-3 and 97% in Stage I invasive cancers. Using the nanoparticle-enabled MOB technology, these alterations could be detected in serum samples (n=42) from pancreas cancer patients, with a sensitivity for BNC1 of 79% (95%CI:66-91%) and for ADAMTS1 of 48% (95%CI:33-63%), while specificity was 89% for BNC1 (95%CI:76-100%) and 92% for ADAMTS1 (95%CI:82-100%). Overall sensitivity using both markers is 81% (95%CI:69-93%) and specificity is 85% (95%CI:71-99%).
Conclusions
Promoter DNA methylation of BNC1 and ADAMTS1 are potential biomarkers to detect early stage pancreatic cancers. Assaying the promoter methylation status of these genes in circulating DNA from serum is a promising strategy for early detection of pancreatic cancer and has the potential to improve mortality from this disease.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-3224
PMCID: PMC4310572  PMID: 24088737
DNA Methylation; Early detection biomarker; Pancreatic cancer; Cancer screening
3.  Epigenetic regulation of DACH1, a novel Wnt signaling component in colorectal cancer 
Epigenetics  2013;8(12):1373-1383.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the common malignant tumors worldwide. Both genetic and epigenetic changes are regarded as important factors of colorectal carcinogenesis. Loss of DACH1 expression was found in breast, prostate, and endometrial cancer. To analyze the regulation and function of DACH1 in CRC, 5 colorectal cancer cell lines, 8 cases of normal mucosa, 15 cases of polyps and 100 cases of primary CRC were employed in this study. In CRC cell lines, loss of DACH1 expression was correlated with promoter region hypermethylation, and re-expression of DACH1 was induced by 5-Aza-2'-deoxyazacytidine treatment. We found that DACH1 was frequently methylated in primary CRC and this methylation was associated with reduction in DACH1 expression. These results suggest that DACH1 expression is regulated by promoter region hypermethylation in CRC. DACH1 methylation was associated with late tumor stage, poor differentiation, and lymph node metastasis. Re-expression of DACH1 reduced TCF/LEF luciferase reporter activity and inhibited the expression of Wnt signaling downstream targets (c-Myc and cyclinD1). In xenografts of HCT116 cells in which DACH1 was re-expressed, tumor size was smaller than in controls. In addition, restoration of DACH1 expression induced G2/M phase arrest and sensitized HCT116 cells to docetaxel. DACH1 suppresses CRC growth by inhibiting Wnt signaling both in vitro and in vivo. Silencing of DACH1 expression caused resistance of CRC cells to docetaxel. In conclusion, DACH1 is frequently methylated in human CRC and methylation of DACH1 may serve as detective and prognostic marker in CRC.
doi:10.4161/epi.26781
PMCID: PMC3933496  PMID: 24149323
DACH1; DNA methylation; Wnt signaling; colorectal cancer; chemosensitivity
4.  Epigenetic silencing of DACH1 induces the invasion and metastasis of gastric cancer by activating TGF-β signalling 
Gastric cancer (GC) is the fourth most common malignancy in males and the fifth most common malignancy in females worldwide. DACH1 is frequently methylated in hepatic and colorectal cancer. To further understand the regulation and mechanism of DACH1 in GC, eight GC cell lines, eight cases of normal gastric mucosa, 98 cases of primary GC and 50 cases of adjacent non-tumour tissues were examined. Methylation-specific PCR, western blot, transwell assay and xenograft mice were used in this study. Loss of DACH1 expression correlated with promoter region methylation in GC cells, and re-expression was induced by 5-Aza-2′-deoxyazacytidine. DACH1 is methylated in 63.3% (62/98) of primary GC and 38% (19/50) of adjacent non-tumour tissues, while no methylation was found in normal gastric mucosa. Methylation of DACH1 correlated with reduced expression of DACH1 (P < 0.01), late tumour stage (stage III/IV) (P < 0.01) and lymph node metastasis (P < 0.05). DACH1 expression inhibited epithelial–mesenchymal transition and metastasis by inhibiting transforming growth factor (TGF)-β signalling and suppressed GC cell proliferation through inducing G2/M phase arrest. The tumour size is smaller in DACH1-expressed BGC823 cell xenograft mice than in unexpressed group (P < 0.01). Restoration of DACH1 expression also sensitized GC cells to docetaxel. These studies suggest that DACH1 is frequently methylated in human GC and expression of DACH1 was controlled by promoter region methylation. DACH1 suppresses GC proliferation, invasion and metastasis by inhibiting TGF-β signalling pathways both in vitro and in vivo. Epigenetic silencing DACH1 may induce GC cells' resistance to docetaxel.
doi:10.1111/jcmm.12325
PMCID: PMC4302654  PMID: 24912879
DACH1; DNA methylation; gastric cancer; invasion; metastasis; chemosensitive marker; docetaxel
5.  Epigenetic Changes Associated with Neoplasms of the Exocrine and Endocrine Pancreas 
Discovery medicine  2014;17(92):67-73.
Early detection and multi-modality curative treatment for pancreatic cancer remain unsatisfactory due to the insufficient understanding of the mechanisms underlying tumor progression. Epigenetic events, including aberrant methylation of tumor suppressor gene promoter regions, may contribute to tumorigenesis involving both the exocrine and endocrine pancreas. Methylation changes of specific gene promoter regions were examined in 48 resected neoplasms of the exocrine and endocrine pancreas, which were obtained as paraffin-embedded tissue samples. The pancreatic neoplasms included acinar cell carcinoma (n=12), adenocarcinoma (n=18), and islet cell tumors (n=18). DNA methylation was determined with a nested methylation-specific PCR (MSP) technique incorporating an initial bisulfite modification of tumor DNA for the promoter regions associated with 14 tumor suppressor genes. In decreasing order, the 6 most frequently methylated genes were: APC 50%, BRCA1 46%, p16INK4a 35%, p15INK4b 35%, RARβ 35%, and p73 33%. Overall, 94% of the tumors had methylation of at least one gene, and methylation of two or more genes was present in 69% of pancreatic tumors. Pancreatic adenocarcinomas had patterns of gene methylation that differed from pancreatic endocrine tumors. These differences were most notable for the APC and hMLH1 genes.
PMCID: PMC4061564  PMID: 24534469
6.  Epigenetic regulation of DACT2, a key component of the Wnt signalling pathway in human lung cancer 
The Journal of pathology  2013;230(2):194-204.
Dapper, Dishevelled-associated antagonist of β-catenin (DACT), is involved in Xenopus embryonic development. Human DACT2 is localized on chromosome 6q27, a region of frequent loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in human cancers. However, the function and regulation of DACT2 in human lung cancer remain unclear. DNA sequencing, methylation-specific PCR (MSP), semi-quantitative RT-PCR, western blotting, and xenograft models were employed in this study. Eight lung cancer cell lines, 106 cases of primary lung cancer, four specimens of normal lung from patients without cancer, and 99 blood samples from healthy individuals were examined. We found that while there was no SNP related to lung cancer, the DACT2 promoter region is frequently methylated in human lung cancer. DACT2 is silenced by promoter region hypermethylation and re-expressed by 5-aza-2′-deoxyazacytidine treatment of lung cancer cell lines. Methylation of DACT2 was associated with poor differentiation of lung cancer. Loss of DACT2 expression was associated with promoter region hypermethylation in primary lung cancer, and was associated with increased β-catenin expression. Restoration of DACT2 expression suppressed tumour proliferation both in vitro and in vivo. DACT2 expression was down-regulated by siRNA knockdown in H727 cells. DACT2 inhibited T-cell factor/lymphoid enhancer factor (TCF/LEF) and its downstream genes. In conclusion, DACT2 methylation is a potential lung cancer detection marker. DACT2 is regulated by promoter region hypermethylation. DACT2 inhibits lung cancer proliferation by suppressing the Wnt signalling pathway in lung cancer.
doi:10.1002/path.4073
PMCID: PMC4061565  PMID: 22806826
DACT2; chromosome 6q27; SNP; DNA methylation; epigenetics; lung cancer
7.  Epigenetic Silencing of CXCL14 Induced Colorectal Cancer Migration and Invasion 
Discovery medicine  2013;16(88):137-147.
To explore epigenetic regulation and the impact of chemokine CXCL14 on colorectal cancer, 7 colorectal cancer cell lines, 107 cases of primary colorectal cancer, and 10 cases of normal colorectal mucosa were evaluated in this study. Methylation specific PCR (MSP), semi-quantitative reverse-transcription PCR (RT-PCR), cell proliferation assay, colony formation, and transwell assay were performed for the evaluation. Complete methylation and loss of CXCL14 expression were found in 5 colorectal cancer cell lines. Partial methylation and weak expression were found in two cell lines. CXCL14 was methylated in 79.4% (85/107) of primary human colorectal cancer. No methylation was found in 10 cases of normal colorectal mucosa. Restoration of CXCL14 expression was induced by the 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (DAC) treatment. The cell viability was reduced and colony formation was inhibited by restoration of CXCL14 expression in HCT116 cells, a colorectal cancer cell line. The number of invasive and migration cells was reduced by CXCL14. The expression of MMP-2, Vimentin, and NF-κB was suppressed, and the expression of E-cadherin and IκB-α was induced by CXCL14. In conclusion, CXCL14 is frequently methylated in human colorectal cancer and promoter region hypermethylation silenced CXCL14 expression in colorectal cancer cells. Restoration of CXCL14 expression suppressed colorectal cancer proliferation. CXCL14 inhibits colorectal cancer migration, invasion, and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) by suppressing NF-κB signaling.
PMCID: PMC4061567  PMID: 24099668
8.  Methylation of DACT2 Promotes Papillary Thyroid Cancer Metastasis by Activating Wnt Signaling 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112336.
Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine malignant disease and the incidence is increasing. DACT2 was found frequently methylated in human lung cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma. To explore the epigenetic change and the role of DACT2 in thyroid cancer, 7 thyroid cancer cell lines, 10 cases of non-cancerous thyroid tissue samples and 99 cases of primary thyroid cancer samples were involved in this study. DACT2 was expressed and unmethylated in K1, SW579, FTC-133, TT, W3 and 8505C cell lines. Loss of expression and complete methylation was found in TPC-1 cells. Restoration of DACT2 expression was induced by 5-aza-2′deoxycytidine treatment. It demonstrates that the expression of DACT2 was regulated by promoter region methylation. In human primary papillary thyroid cancer, 64.6% (64/99) was methylated and methylation of DACT2 was related to lymph node metastasis (p<0.01). Re-expression of DACT2 suppresses cell proliferation, invasion and migration in TPC-1 cells. The activity of TCF/LEF was inhibited by DACT2 in wild-type or mutant β-catenin cells. The activity of TCF/LEF was increased by co-transfecting DACT2 and Dvl2 in wild-type or mutant β-catenin cells. Overexpression of wild-type β-catenin promotes cell migration and invasion in DACT2 stably expressed cells. The expression of β-catenin, c-myc, cyclinD1 and MMP-9 were decreased and the level of phosphorylated β-catenin (p-β-catenin) was increased after restoration of DACT2 expression in TPC-1 cells. The expression of β-catenin, c-myc, cyclinD1 and MMP-9 were increased and the level of p-β-catenin was reduced after knockdown of DACT2 in W3 and SW579 cells. These results suggest that DACT2 suppresses human papillary thyroid cancer growth and metastasis by inhibiting Wnt signaling. In conclusion, DACT2 is frequently methylated in papillary thyroid cancer. DACT2 expression was regulated by promoter region methylation. DACT2 suppresses papillary thyroid cancer proliferation and metastasis by inhibiting Wnt signaling.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112336
PMCID: PMC4223043  PMID: 25375359
9.  Frequent Inactivation of Cysteine Dioxygenase Type 1 Contributes to Survival of Breast Cancer Cells and Resistance to Anthracyclines 
Purpose
Genome-wide DNA methylation analyses have identified hundreds of candidate DNA-hypermethylated genes in cancer. Comprehensive functional analyses provide an understanding of the biologic significance of this vast amount of DNA methylation data that may allow the determination of key epigenetic events associated with tumorigenesis.
Experimental Design
To study mechanisms of cysteine dioxygenase type 1 (CDO1) inactivation and its functional significance in breast cancer in a comprehensive manner, we screened for DNA methylation and gene mutations in primary breast cancers and analyzed growth, survival, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in breast cancer cells with restored CDO1 function in the context of anthracycline treatment.
Results
DNA methylation-associated silencing of CDO1 in breast cancer is frequent (60%), cancer specific, and correlates with disease progression and outcome. CDO1 function can alternatively be silenced by repressive chromatin, and we describe protein-damaging missense mutations in 7% of tumors without DNA methylation. Restoration of CDO1 function in breast cancer cells increases levels of ROS and leads to reduced viability and growth, as well as sensitization to anthracycline treatment. Priming with 5-azacytidine of breast cancer cells with epigenetically silenced CDO1 resulted in restored expression and increased sensitivity to anthracyclines.
Conclusion
We report that silencing of CDO1 is a critical epigenetic event that contributes to the survival of oxidative-stressed breast cancer cells through increased detoxification of ROS and thus leads to the resistance to ROS-generating chemotherapeutics including anthracyclines. Our study shows the importance of CDO1 inactivation in breast cancer and its clinical potential as a biomarker and therapeutic target to overcome resistance to anthracyclines.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-3751
PMCID: PMC3985391  PMID: 23630167
10.  Comprehensive molecular characterization of gastric adenocarcinoma 
Bass, Adam J. | Thorsson, Vesteinn | Shmulevich, Ilya | Reynolds, Sheila M. | Miller, Michael | Bernard, Brady | Hinoue, Toshinori | Laird, Peter W. | Curtis, Christina | Shen, Hui | Weisenberger, Daniel J. | Schultz, Nikolaus | Shen, Ronglai | Weinhold, Nils | Kelsen, David P. | Bowlby, Reanne | Chu, Andy | Kasaian, Katayoon | Mungall, Andrew J. | Robertson, A. Gordon | Sipahimalani, Payal | Cherniack, Andrew | Getz, Gad | Liu, Yingchun | Noble, Michael S. | Pedamallu, Chandra | Sougnez, Carrie | Taylor-Weiner, Amaro | Akbani, Rehan | Lee, Ju-Seog | Liu, Wenbin | Mills, Gordon B. | Yang, Da | Zhang, Wei | Pantazi, Angeliki | Parfenov, Michael | Gulley, Margaret | Piazuelo, M. Blanca | Schneider, Barbara G. | Kim, Jihun | Boussioutas, Alex | Sheth, Margi | Demchok, John A. | Rabkin, Charles S. | Willis, Joseph E. | Ng, Sam | Garman, Katherine | Beer, David G. | Pennathur, Arjun | Raphael, Benjamin J. | Wu, Hsin-Ta | Odze, Robert | Kim, Hark K. | Bowen, Jay | Leraas, Kristen M. | Lichtenberg, Tara M. | Weaver, Stephanie | McLellan, Michael | Wiznerowicz, Maciej | Sakai, Ryo | Getz, Gad | Sougnez, Carrie | Lawrence, Michael S. | Cibulskis, Kristian | Lichtenstein, Lee | Fisher, Sheila | Gabriel, Stacey B. | Lander, Eric S. | Ding, Li | Niu, Beifang | Ally, Adrian | Balasundaram, Miruna | Birol, Inanc | Bowlby, Reanne | Brooks, Denise | Butterfield, Yaron S. N. | Carlsen, Rebecca | Chu, Andy | Chu, Justin | Chuah, Eric | Chun, Hye-Jung E. | Clarke, Amanda | Dhalla, Noreen | Guin, Ranabir | Holt, Robert A. | Jones, Steven J.M. | Kasaian, Katayoon | Lee, Darlene | Li, Haiyan A. | Lim, Emilia | Ma, Yussanne | Marra, Marco A. | Mayo, Michael | Moore, Richard A. | Mungall, Andrew J. | Mungall, Karen L. | Nip, Ka Ming | Robertson, A. Gordon | Schein, Jacqueline E. | Sipahimalani, Payal | Tam, Angela | Thiessen, Nina | Beroukhim, Rameen | Carter, Scott L. | Cherniack, Andrew D. | Cho, Juok | Cibulskis, Kristian | DiCara, Daniel | Frazer, Scott | Fisher, Sheila | Gabriel, Stacey B. | Gehlenborg, Nils | Heiman, David I. | Jung, Joonil | Kim, Jaegil | Lander, Eric S. | Lawrence, Michael S. | Lichtenstein, Lee | Lin, Pei | Meyerson, Matthew | Ojesina, Akinyemi I. | Pedamallu, Chandra Sekhar | Saksena, Gordon | Schumacher, Steven E. | Sougnez, Carrie | Stojanov, Petar | Tabak, Barbara | Taylor-Weiner, Amaro | Voet, Doug | Rosenberg, Mara | Zack, Travis I. | Zhang, Hailei | Zou, Lihua | Protopopov, Alexei | Santoso, Netty | Parfenov, Michael | Lee, Semin | Zhang, Jianhua | Mahadeshwar, Harshad S. | Tang, Jiabin | Ren, Xiaojia | Seth, Sahil | Yang, Lixing | Xu, Andrew W. | Song, Xingzhi | Pantazi, Angeliki | Xi, Ruibin | Bristow, Christopher A. | Hadjipanayis, Angela | Seidman, Jonathan | Chin, Lynda | Park, Peter J. | Kucherlapati, Raju | Akbani, Rehan | Ling, Shiyun | Liu, Wenbin | Rao, Arvind | Weinstein, John N. | Kim, Sang-Bae | Lee, Ju-Seog | Lu, Yiling | Mills, Gordon | Laird, Peter W. | Hinoue, Toshinori | Weisenberger, Daniel J. | Bootwalla, Moiz S. | Lai, Phillip H. | Shen, Hui | Triche, Timothy | Van Den Berg, David J. | Baylin, Stephen B. | Herman, James G. | Getz, Gad | Chin, Lynda | Liu, Yingchun | Murray, Bradley A. | Noble, Michael S. | Askoy, B. Arman | Ciriello, Giovanni | Dresdner, Gideon | Gao, Jianjiong | Gross, Benjamin | Jacobsen, Anders | Lee, William | Ramirez, Ricardo | Sander, Chris | Schultz, Nikolaus | Senbabaoglu, Yasin | Sinha, Rileen | Sumer, S. Onur | Sun, Yichao | Weinhold, Nils | Thorsson, Vésteinn | Bernard, Brady | Iype, Lisa | Kramer, Roger W. | Kreisberg, Richard | Miller, Michael | Reynolds, Sheila M. | Rovira, Hector | Tasman, Natalie | Shmulevich, Ilya | Ng, Santa Cruz Sam | Haussler, David | Stuart, Josh M. | Akbani, Rehan | Ling, Shiyun | Liu, Wenbin | Rao, Arvind | Weinstein, John N. | Verhaak, Roeland G.W. | Mills, Gordon B. | Leiserson, Mark D. M. | Raphael, Benjamin J. | Wu, Hsin-Ta | Taylor, Barry S. | Black, Aaron D. | Bowen, Jay | Carney, Julie Ann | Gastier-Foster, Julie M. | Helsel, Carmen | Leraas, Kristen M. | Lichtenberg, Tara M. | McAllister, Cynthia | Ramirez, Nilsa C. | Tabler, Teresa R. | Wise, Lisa | Zmuda, Erik | Penny, Robert | Crain, Daniel | Gardner, Johanna | Lau, Kevin | Curely, Erin | Mallery, David | Morris, Scott | Paulauskis, Joseph | Shelton, Troy | Shelton, Candace | Sherman, Mark | Benz, Christopher | Lee, Jae-Hyuk | Fedosenko, Konstantin | Manikhas, Georgy | Potapova, Olga | Voronina, Olga | Belyaev, Smitry | Dolzhansky, Oleg | Rathmell, W. Kimryn | Brzezinski, Jakub | Ibbs, Matthew | Korski, Konstanty | Kycler, Witold | ŁaŸniak, Radoslaw | Leporowska, Ewa | Mackiewicz, Andrzej | Murawa, Dawid | Murawa, Pawel | Spychała, Arkadiusz | Suchorska, Wiktoria M. | Tatka, Honorata | Teresiak, Marek | Wiznerowicz, Maciej | Abdel-Misih, Raafat | Bennett, Joseph | Brown, Jennifer | Iacocca, Mary | Rabeno, Brenda | Kwon, Sun-Young | Penny, Robert | Gardner, Johanna | Kemkes, Ariane | Mallery, David | Morris, Scott | Shelton, Troy | Shelton, Candace | Curley, Erin | Alexopoulou, Iakovina | Engel, Jay | Bartlett, John | Albert, Monique | Park, Do-Youn | Dhir, Rajiv | Luketich, James | Landreneau, Rodney | Janjigian, Yelena Y. | Kelsen, David P. | Cho, Eunjung | Ladanyi, Marc | Tang, Laura | McCall, Shannon J. | Park, Young S. | Cheong, Jae-Ho | Ajani, Jaffer | Camargo, M. Constanza | Alonso, Shelley | Ayala, Brenda | Jensen, Mark A. | Pihl, Todd | Raman, Rohini | Walton, Jessica | Wan, Yunhu | Demchok, John A. | Eley, Greg | Mills Shaw, Kenna R. | Sheth, Margi | Tarnuzzer, Roy | Wang, Zhining | Yang, Liming | Zenklusen, Jean Claude | Davidsen, Tanja | Hutter, Carolyn M. | Sofia, Heidi J. | Burton, Robert | Chudamani, Sudha | Liu, Jia
Nature  2014;513(7517):202-209.
Gastric cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths, but analysis of its molecular and clinical characteristics has been complicated by histological and aetiological heterogeneity. Here we describe a comprehensive molecular evaluation of 295 primary gastric adenocarcinomas as part of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project. We propose a molecular classification dividing gastric cancer into four subtypes: tumours positive for Epstein–Barr virus, which display recurrent PIK3CA mutations, extreme DNA hypermethylation, and amplification of JAK2, CD274 (also known as PD-L1) and PDCD1LG2 (also knownasPD-L2); microsatellite unstable tumours, which show elevated mutation rates, including mutations of genes encoding targetable oncogenic signalling proteins; genomically stable tumours, which are enriched for the diffuse histological variant and mutations of RHOA or fusions involving RHO-family GTPase-activating proteins; and tumours with chromosomal instability, which show marked aneuploidy and focal amplification of receptor tyrosine kinases. Identification of these subtypes provides a roadmap for patient stratification and trials of targeted therapies.
doi:10.1038/nature13480
PMCID: PMC4170219  PMID: 25079317
11.  DNA Methylation at the Novel CpG Sites in the Promoter of MED15/PCQAP Gene as a Biomarker for Head and Neck Cancers 
Biomarker Insights  2014;9:53-60.
Head and neck cancers (HNCs) represent a significant and ever-growing burden to the modern society, mainly due to the lack of early diagnostic methods. A significant number of HNCs is often associated with drinking, smoking, chewing beetle nut, and human papilloma virus (HPV) infections. We have analyzed DNA methylation patterns in tumor and normal tissue samples collected from head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients who were smokers. We have identified novel methylation sites in the promoter of the mediator complex subunit 15 (MED15/PCQAP) gene (encoing a co-factor important for regulation of transcription initiation for promoters of many genes), hypermethylated specifically in tumor cells. Two clusters of CpG dinucleotides methylated in tumors, but not in normal tissue from the same patients, were identified. These CpG methylation events in saliva samples were further validated in a separate cohort of HNSCC patients (who developed cancer due to smoking or HPV infections) and healthy controls using methylation-specific PCR (MSP). We used saliva as a biological medium because of its non-invasive nature, close proximity to the tumors, easiness and it is an economically viable option for large-scale screening studies. The methylation levels for the two identified CpG clusters were significantly different between the saliva samples collected from healthy controls and HNSCC individuals (Welch’s t-test returning P < 0.05 and Mann–Whitney test P < 0.01 for both). The developed MSP assays also provided a good discriminative ability with AUC values of 0.70 (P < 0.01) and 0.63 (P < 0.05). The identified novel CpG methylation sites may serve as potential non-invasive biomarkers for detecting HNSCC.
doi:10.4137/BMI.S16199
PMCID: PMC4085102  PMID: 25057238
Saliva; DNA methylation; diagnostics; non-invasiveness
12.  SOX17 Methylation Inhibits Its Antagonism of Wnt Signaling Pathway in Lung Cancer 
Discovery medicine  2012;14(74):33-40.
The purpose of this study was to explore epigenetic changes and functions of SOX17 in human lung cancer. Five lung cancer cell lines and 88 primary lung cancer samples were examined in this study. Methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP), semi-quantitative reverse-transcription PCR, immunohistochemistry, luciferase reporter assays, colony-formation assays, and western blotting were used to analyze methylation changes and functions of SOX17 in lung cancer. SOX17 methylation was found in 60.2% of primary human lung cancer samples, and promoter region methylation of SOX17 silenced its expression. SOX17 methylation was associated with female patients and lung cancer differentiation. Colony-formation assays revealed that SOX17 suppressed lung cancer cell proliferation. Re-expression of SOX17 inhibited Wnt signaling in H23 lung cancer cell line. SOX17 acts as a Wnt signaling inhibitor.
PMCID: PMC4061568  PMID: 22846201
13.  Whole Exome Sequencing of Pancreatic Neoplasms with Acinar Differentiation 
The Journal of pathology  2014;232(4):428-435.
Pancreatic carcinomas with acinar differentiation, including acinar cell carcinoma, pancreatoblastoma, and carcinomas with mixed differentiation, are distinct pancreatic neoplasms with poor prognosis. Although recent whole exome sequencing analyses have defined the somatic mutations that characterize the other major neoplasms of the pancreas, the molecular alterations underlying pancreatic carcinomas with acinar differentiation remain largely unknown. In the current study, we sequenced the exomes of 23 surgically resected pancreatic carcinomas with acinar differentiation. These analyses revealed a relatively large number of genetic alterations at both the individual base pair and chromosomal levels. There was an average of 119 somatic mutations per carcinoma. When three outliers were excluded, there was an average of 64 somatic mutations per tumor (range 12–189). The mean fractional allelic loss (FAL) was 0.27 (range 0–0.89) and heterogeneity at the chromosome level was confirmed in selected cases using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). No gene was mutated in >30% of the cancers. Genes altered in other neoplasms of the pancreas were occasionally targeted in carcinomas with acinar differentiation; SMAD4 was mutated in six tumors (26%), TP53 in three (13%), GNAS in two (9%), RNF43 in one (4%) and MEN1 in one tumor (4%). Somatic mutations were identified in genes in which constitutional alterations are associated with familial pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, such as ATM, BRCA2, and PALB2 (one tumor each), as well as in genes altered in extra-pancreatic neoplasms, such as JAK1 in four tumors (17%) BRAF in three (13%), RB1 in three (13%), APC in two (9%), PTEN in two (9%), ARID1A in two (9%), MLL3 in two (9%), and BAP1 in one (4%). Perhaps most importantly, we found that more than a third of these carcinomas have potentially targetable genetic alterations including mutations in BRCA2, PALB2, ATM, BAP1, BRAF and JAK1.
doi:10.1002/path.4310
PMCID: PMC4048021  PMID: 24293293
pancreas; carcinoma; acinar cell carcinoma; genetics; sequencing; pancreatoblastoma
14.  Adoption of Gene Expression Profile Testing and Association With Use of Chemotherapy Among Women With Breast Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2012;30(18):2218-2226.
Purpose
Gene expression profile (GEP) testing is a relatively new technology that offers the potential of personalized medicine to patients, yet little is known about its adoption into routine practice. One of the first commercially available GEP tests, a 21-gene profile, was developed to estimate the benefit of adjuvant chemotherapy for hormone receptor–positive breast cancer (HR-positive BC).
Patients and Methods
By using a prospective registry data set outlining the routine care provided to women diagnosed from 2006 to 2008 with HR-positive BC at 17 comprehensive and community-based cancer centers, we assessed GEP test adoption and the association between testing and chemotherapy use.
Results
Of 7,375 women, 20.4% had GEP testing and 50.2% received chemotherapy. Over time, testing increased (14.7% in 2006 to 27.5% in 2008; P < .01) and use of chemotherapy decreased (53.9% in 2006 to 47.0% in 2008; P < .01). Characteristics independently associated with lower odds of testing included African American versus white race (odds ratio [OR], 0.70; 95% CI, 0.54 to 0.92) and high school or less versus more than high school education (OR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.52 to 0.76). Overall, testing was associated with lower odds of chemotherapy use (OR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.62 to 0.80). Stratified analyses demonstrated that for small, node-negative cancers, testing was associated with higher odds of chemotherapy use (OR, 11.13; 95% CI, 5.39 to 22.99), whereas for node-positive and large node-negative cancers, testing was associated with lower odds of chemotherapy use (OR, 0.11; 95% CI, 0.07 to 0.17).
Conclusion
There has been a progressive increase in use of this GEP test and an associated shift in the characteristics of and overall reduction in the proportion of women with HR-positive BC receiving adjuvant chemotherapy.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2011.38.5740
PMCID: PMC3397718  PMID: 22585699
15.  Distinct Epigenetic Mechanisms Distinguish TMPRSS2–ERG Fusion-Positive and -Negative Prostate Cancers 
Cancer discovery  2012;2(11):979-981.
Summary
This issue of Cancer Discovery features an article that describes distinct epigenetic mechanisms that operate in TMPRSS2–ERG fusion-negative prostate cancers. This finding clarifies molecular features of these TMPRSS2–ERG fusion-negative tumors and may have implications for how to treat this prostate cancer subtype.
doi:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-12-0392
PMCID: PMC3661413  PMID: 23148372
16.  Id1 overexpression is independent of repression and epigenetic silencing of tumor suppressor genes in melanoma 
The full molecular consequences of oncogene activation during tumorigenesis are not well understood, but several studies have recently linked oncogene activation to epigenetic silencing of specific genes.1,2 Transcriptional repressor Id1 is overexpressed in many malignancies including melanoma, and Id1 targets include tumor suppressor genes TSP1, CDKN2A (p16) and CDKN1A (p21), which are frequently epigenetically silenced in cancer. We confirmed that both TSP1 and CDKN2A have abnormal promoter region DNa methylation in primary melanoma, but the mechanism by which this silencing occurs remains unknown. Here we explore the effects of stable lentiviral Id1 overexpression on the expression of these Id1 target genes in human melanoma cell lines. Overexpressed Id1 was functional and bound transcriptional activator E2A, but did not sequester E2A from gene promoters and repress gene expression. Therefore, these Id1 target genes were resistant to Id1-mediated gene silencing. Our results suggest that Id1 activation may need to occur at discrete stages in cooperation with additional gene dysregulation to repress and induce epigenetic silencing of tumor suppressor genes during melanoma progression.
PMCID: PMC3654680  PMID: 20484992
Id1; thrombospondin; melanoma; DNA methylation; oncogene
17.  Acute myeloid leukemia is characterized by Wnt pathway inhibitor promoter hypermethylation 
Leukemia & lymphoma  2010;51(9):1711-1719.
Nuclear localization of non-phosphorylated, active β-catenin is a measure of Wnt pathway activation and is associated with adverse outcome in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). While genetic alterations of the Wnt pathway are infrequent in AML, inhibitors of this pathway are silenced by promoter methylation in other malignanices. Leukemia cell lines were examined for Wnt pathway inhibitor methylation and total β-catenin levels, and had frequent methylation of Wnt inhibitors and upregulated β-catenin by Western blot and immunofluorescence. One hundred sixty-nine AML samples were examined for methylation of Wnt inhibitor genes. Diagnostic samples from 72 patients with normal cytogenetics who received standard high-dose induction chemotherapy were evaluated for associations between methylation and event-free or overall survival. Extensive methylation of Wnt pathway inhibitor genes was observed in cell lines, and 89% of primary AML samples had at least one methylated gene: DKK1 (16%), DKK3 (8%), RUNX3 (27%), sFRP1 (34%), sFRP2 (66%), sFRP4 (9%), sFRP5 (54%), SOX17 (29%), and WIF1 (32%). In contrast to epithelial tumors, methylation of APC (2%) and RASSF1A (0%) was rare. In patients with AML with normal cytogenetics, sFRP2 and sFRP5 methylation at the time of diagnosis was associated with an increased risk of relapse, and sFRP2 methylation was associated with an increased risk for death. In patients with AML: (a) there is a high frequency of Wnt pathway inhibitor methylation; (b) Wnt pathway inhibitor methylation is distinct from that observed in epithelial malignancies; and (c) methylation of sFRP2 and sFRP5 may predict adverse clinical outcome in patients with normal karyotype AML.
doi:10.3109/10428194.2010.496505
PMCID: PMC4000011  PMID: 20795789
Cytogenetics; DNA methylation; epigenetics; leukemia; Wnt pathway
18.  Silencing DACH1 Promotes Esophageal Cancer Growth by Inhibiting TGF-β Signaling 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95509.
Human Dachshund homologue 1 (DACH1) is a major component of the Retinal Determination Gene Network. Loss of DACH1 expression was found in breast, prostate, lung, endometrial, colorectal and hepatocellular carcinoma. To explore the expression, regulation and function of DACH1 in human esophageal cancer, 11 esophageal cancer cell lines, 10 cases of normal esophageal mucosa, 51 cases of different grades of dysplasia and 104 cases of primary esophageal squamous cancer were employed. Methylation specific PCR, immunohistochemistry, western blot, flow cytometry, small interfering RNAs, colony formation techniques and xenograft mice model were used. We found that DACH1 expression was regulated by promoter region hypermethylation in esophageal cancer cell lines. 18.8% (6 of 32) of grade 1, 42.1% (8 of 19) of grade 2 and grade 3 dysplasia (ED2,3), and 61.5% (64 of 104) of esophageal cancer were methylated, but no methylation was found in 10 cases of normal esophageal mucosa. The methylation was increased in progression tendency during esophageal carcinogenesis (P<0.01). DACH1 methylation was associated with poor differentiation (P<0.05) and late tumor stage (P<0.05). Restoration of DACH1 expression inhibited cell growth and activated TGF-β signaling in KYSE150 and KYSE510 cells. DACH1 suppressed human esophageal cancer cell tumor growth in xenograft mice. In conclusion, DACH1 is frequently methylated in human esophageal cancer and methylation of DACH1 is involved in the early stage of esophageal carcinogenesis. DACH1 expression is regulated by promoter region hypermethylation. DACH1 suppresses esophageal cancer growth by activating TGF-β signaling.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095509
PMCID: PMC3990688  PMID: 24743895
19.  Epigenetic Regulation of WNT Signaling Pathway Genes in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Associated Neoplasia 
Introduction
WNT signaling pathway dysregulation is an important event in the pathogenesis of colorectal cancer (CRC) with APC mutations seen in more than 80% of sporadic CRC. However, such mutations in the WNT signaling pathway genes are rare in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) associated neoplasia (dysplasia and cancer). This study examined the role of epigenetic silencing of WNT signaling pathway genes in the pathogenesis of IBD-associated neoplasia.
Methods
Paraffin-embedded tissue samples were obtained and methylation of ten WNT signaling pathway genes, including APC1A, APC2, SFRP1, SFRP2, SFRP4, SFRP5, DKK1, DKK3, WIF1 and LKB1, was analyzed. Methylation analysis was performed on 41 IBD samples, 27 normal colon samples (NCs), and 24 sporadic CRC samples.
Results
Methylation of WNT signaling pathway genes is a frequent and early event in IBD and IBD-associated neoplasia. A progressive increase in the percentage of methylated genes in the WNT signaling pathway from NCs (4.2%) to IBD colitis (39.7%) to IBD-associated neoplasia (63.4%) was seen (NCs vs. IBD colitis, p<0.01; IBD colitis vs. IBD-associated neoplasia, p=0.01). In the univariate logistic regression model, methylation of APC2 (OR 4.7, 95% CI: 1.1–20.63, p=0.04), SFRP1 (OR 5.1, 95% CI: 1.1–31.9, p=0.04), and SFRP2 (OR 5.1, 95% CI: 1.1–32.3, p=0.04) was associated with progression from IBD colitis to IBD-associated neoplasia, while APC1A methylation was borderline significant (OR 4.1, 95% CI: 0.95–17.5, p=0.06). In the multivariate logistic regression model, methylation of APC1A and APC2 was more likely to be associated with IBD-associated neoplasia than IBD colitis. (OR APC1A: 6.4, 95% CI: 1.1–37.7 p=0.04; OR APC2 9.1, 95% CI: 1.3–61.7, p=0.02).
Summary
Methylation of the WNT signaling genes is an early event seen in patients with IBD colitis and there is a progressive increase in methylation of the WNT signaling genes during development of IBD-associated neoplasia. Moreover, methylation of APC1A, APC2, SFRP1, and SFRP2 appears to mark progression from IBD colitis to IBD-associated neoplasia, and these genes may serve as biomarkers for IBD-associated neoplasia.
doi:10.1007/s11605-008-0633-5
PMCID: PMC3976145  PMID: 18716850
IBD; Methylation; WNT signaling; Colorectal cancer
20.  Epigenetic regulation of the Wnt signaling inhibitor DACT2 in human hepatocellular carcinoma 
Epigenetics  2013;8(4):373-382.
DACT2 (Dapper, Dishevelled-associated antagonist of β-catenin homolog 2) is a member of the DACT family involved in the regulation of embryonic development. Human DACT2 is localized on 6q27, a region of frequent loss of heterozygosity in human cancers. However, the regulation of DACT2 expression and function in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains unclear. In this study, genetic and epigenetic changes of DACT2 were analyzed in HCC cell lines and primary cancer. We found no single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) associated with HCC. Promoter region methylation was correlated with loss or reduction of DACT2 expression, and restoration of DACT2 expression was induced by 5-aza-2’-deoxycytidine (5-AZA) in HCC cell lines. Promoter region methylation was found in 54.84% of primary HCC. Reduction of DACT2 expression was associated with promoter hypermethylation, and expression of DACT2 was inversely related to β-catenin expression in primary HCC. DACT2 suppressed cell proliferation, induced G2-M arrest in cell lines and inhibited tumor growth in xenograft nude mice. The transcriptional activity of TCF-4 and the expression of Wnt signaling downstream genes were suppressed by DACT2 re-expression and reactivated by depletion of DACT2. In conclusion, DACT2 is frequently methylated in HCC and its expression is regulated by promoter hypermethylation. DACT2 suppresses HCC by inhibiting Wnt signaling in human HCC.
doi:10.4161/epi.24113
PMCID: PMC3674046  PMID: 23449122
DACT2; hepatocellular carcinoma; epigenetics; DNA methylation; Wnt signaling
21.  CHFR protein expression predicts outcomes to taxane-based first line therapy in metastatic NSCLC 
Purpose
Currently, there is no clinically validated test for the prediction of response to tubulin-targeting agents in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Here, we investigated the significance of nuclear expression of the mitotic checkpoint gene checkpoint with forkhead and ringfinger domains (CHFR) as predictor of response and overall survival (OS) with taxane-based first-line chemotherapy in advanced stage NSCLC.
Methods
We studied a cohort of 41 patients (median age 63 years) with advanced NSCLC treated at the Atlanta VAMC between 1999 and 2010. CHFR expression by immunohistochemistry (score 0–4) was correlated with clinical outcome using Chi-Square test and Cox proportional models. A cutoff score of ‘3’ was determined by ROC-analysis for “low” CHFR expression. Results were validated in an additional 20 patients who received taxane based chemotherapy at Emory University Hospital and the Atlanta VAMC.
Results
High expression (score = 4) of CHFR is strongly associated with adverse outcomes: the risk for progressive disease (PD) after first-line chemotherapy with carboplatin-paclitaxel was 52% in patients with CHFR-high vs. only 19% in those with CHFR-low tumors (p=0.033). Median OS was strongly correlated with CHFR expression status (CHFR low: 9.9 months; CHFR high: 6.2 months; p =0.002). After multivariate adjustment, reduced CHFR expression remained a powerful predictor of improved OS (HR 0.24 (95% CI 0.1–0.58, p=0.002). In the validation set, low CHFR expression was associated with higher likelihood of clinical benefit (p=0.03) and improved OS (p=0.038).
Conclusions
CHFR expression is a novel predictive marker of response and OS in NSCLC patients treated with taxane-containing chemotherapy.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-2995
PMCID: PMC3602233  PMID: 23386692
22.  CDX2 serves as a Wnt signaling inhibitor and is frequently methylated in lung cancer 
Cancer Biology & Therapy  2012;13(12):1152-1157.
Aberrant promoter region hypermethylation of upstream transcription factors may be responsible for silencing entire anti-neoplastic gene networks. In this study, we explored whether transcription factor coding gene, caudal-related homeobox 2 (CDX2), is silenced by promoter hypermethylation in lung cancer, and examined its potential tumor-suppressive functions. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR showed that four of six lung cancer cell lines exhibited no or weak CDX2 expression. Expression of CDX2 was correlated to CDX2 promoter region methylation status, as determined by methylation-specific PCR (MSP) and bisulfite sequencing. Restoration of CDX2 expression was induced by treatment with demethylating drug 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-AZA) in lung cancer cell lines. Methylation of CDX2 was common in human primary lung cancer (61 of 110 tumors, 55.45%), but no methylation was found in normal lung tissues. Re-expression of CDX2 suppressed lung cancer cell proliferation and blocked cells in G1 phase. β-catenin/TCF activity and downstream genes expression were inhibited by re-expression of CDX2, and increased by depletion of CDX2. In conclusion, CDX2 is frequently methylated in lung cancer, and expression of CDX2 is regulated by promoter region hypermethylation. CDX2 may serve as a tumor suppressor in lung cancer and inhibits lung cancer cell proliferation by suppressing Wnt signaling.
doi:10.4161/cbt.21344
PMCID: PMC3469472  PMID: 22892849
5-aza-2’-deoxycytidine; CDX2; DNA methylation; Wnt signaling pathway; epigenetics; lung cancer
23.  Emerging evidence for CHFR as a cancer biomarker: from tumor biology to precision medicine 
Cancer Metastasis Reviews  2013;33(1):161-171.
Novel insights in the biology of cancer have switched the paradigm of a “one-size-fits-all” cancer treatment to an individualized biology-driven treatment approach. In recent years, a diversity of biomarkers and targeted therapies has been discovered. Although these examples accentuate the promise of personalized cancer treatment, for most cancers and cancer subgroups no biomarkers and effective targeted therapy are available. The great majority of patients still receive unselected standard therapies with no use of their individual molecular characteristics. Better knowledge about the underlying tumor biology will lead the way toward personalized cancer treatment. In this review, we summarize the evidence for a promising cancer biomarker: checkpoint with forkhead and ring finger domains (CHFR). CHFR is a mitotic checkpoint and tumor suppressor gene, which is inactivated in a diverse group of solid malignancies, mostly by promoter CpG island methylation. CHFR inactivation has shown to be an indicator of poor prognosis and sensitivity to taxane-based chemotherapy. Here we summarize the current knowledge of altered CHFR expression in cancer, the impact on tumor biology and implications for personalized cancer treatment.
doi:10.1007/s10555-013-9462-4
PMCID: PMC3988518  PMID: 24375389
CHFR promoter methylation; Predictive biomarker; Taxane sensitivity
24.  BEYOND GENETICS: EPIGENETIC CODE IN CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE 
Kidney international  2010;79(1):10.1038/ki.2010.335.
Epigenetics refers to a heritable change in the pattern of gene expression that is mediated by a mechanism specifically not due to alterations in the primary nucleotide sequence. Well known epigenetic mechanisms encompass DNA methylation, chromatin remodeling (histone modifications) and RNA interference. Functionally, epigenetics provides an extra layer of transcriptional control and plays a crucial role in normal physiological development, as well as in pathological conditions. Aberrant DNA methylation is implicated in immune dysfunction, inflammation and insulin resistance. Epigenetic changes may be responsible for “metabolic memory” and development of micro- and macrovascular complications of diabetes. MicroRNAs are critical in the maintenance of glomerular homeostasis and hence RNA interference may be important in the progression of renal disease. Recent studies have shown that epigenetic modifications orchestrate the epithelial-mesenchymal transition and eventually fibrosis of the renal tissue. Oxidative stress, inflammation, hyperhomocysteinemia and uremic toxins could induce epimutations in chronic kidney disease. Epigenetic alterations are associated with inflammation and cardiovascular disease in patients with chronic kidney disease. Reversible nature of the epigenetic changes gives an unique opportunity to halt or even reverse the disease process through targeted therapeutic strategies.
doi:10.1038/ki.2010.335
PMCID: PMC3867804  PMID: 20881938
25.  CHFR silencing or microsatellite instability is associated with increased anti-tumor activity of docetaxel or gemcitabine in colorectal cancer 
Phenotypic differences among cancers with the same origin may be associated with chemotherapy response. CHFR silencing associated with DNA methylation has been suggested to be predictive of taxane sensitivity in diverse tumor types. However, the use of microsatellite instability (MSI:unstable--MSS:stable) as a predictive marker for therapeutic effect has had conflicting results. We examined these molecular alterations as predictors of chemotherapy sensitivity in colorectal cancer (CRC). Differential sensitivity to docetaxel and gemcitabine was compared to potential predictive biomarkers CHFR methylation and MSI status. Cell lines that were MSI-H/CHFR-methylated, MSS/CHFR-methylated, and MSS/CHFR-unmethylated were assessed for in vivo sensitivity of CRC cell line xenografts to docetaxel and/or gemcitabine. We observed increased sensitivity in vitro to gemcitabine in cell lines with MSI and docetaxel in cell lines with CHFR inactivation via DNA methylation. In vivo treatment of human xenografts confirmed differential sensitivity, with the MSI-H/CHFR-methylated line RKO having tumor growth inhibition to each agent, and at least additive tumor growth inhibition with combination therapy. The MSS-CHFR-unmethylated line, CACO2, was resistant to single and combination therapy, while COLO205, the MSS/CHFR-methylated line, showed tumor growth inhibition with docetaxel, but not gemcitabine, therapy. CHFR methylation in CRC cell lines predicted for sensitivity in vitro and in vivo to docetaxel, while MSI-H cell lines were more sensitive to gemcitabine. These data suggest that a subset of CRC patients would be selectively sensitive to a novel combination of gemcitabine and docetaxel, and are the basis for an ongoing clinical trial of this combination in a biomarker-selected patient population.
doi:10.1002/ijc.28390
PMCID: PMC3830586  PMID: 23873170
MSI; CHFR; colorectal cancer; methylation; taxanes; gemcitabine

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