Molecular correlates with MGMT promoter methylation and silencing support CpG island methylator phenolype-low (CIMP-low) in colorectal cancer

Ogino, Shuji; Kawasaki, Takako; Kirkner, Gregory J.; Suemoto, Yuko; Meyerhardt, Jeffrey A.; Fuchs, Charles S.
November 2007
Gut;Nov2007, Vol. 56 Issue 11, p1564
Academic Journal
Background: The CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP or CIMP-high) with widespread promoter methylation is a distinct epigenetic phenotype in colorectal cancer. In contrast, a phenotype with less widespread promoter methylation (CIMP-low) has not been well characterised. O-6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter methylation and silencing have been associated with G>A mutations and microsatellite instability-low (MSI-low). Aim: To examine molecular correlates with MGMT methylation/silencing in colorectal cancer. Methods: Utilising MethyLight technology, we quantified DNA methylation in MGMT and eight other markers (a CIMP-diagnostic panel; CACNA1G, CDKN2A (p16), CRABP1, IGF2, MLH1, NEUROG1, RUNX3 and SOCS1) in 920 population-based colorectal cancers. Results: Tumours with both MGMT methylation and loss were correlated positively with MSI-low (p=0.02), CIMP-high (⩾6/8 methylated CIMP markers, p=0.005), CIMP-low (1/8-5/8 methylated CIMP markers, p = 0.002, compared to CIMP-O with 0/8 methylated markers), KRAS G>A mutation (p = 0.02), and inversely with 18q loss of heterozygosity (p = 0.0002). Tumours were classified into nine MSI/CIMP subtypes. Among the CIMP-low group, tumours with both MGMT methylation and loss were far more frequent in MSI-low tumours (67%, 12/18) than MSI-high tumours (5.6%, 1/18; p=0.0003) and microsatellite stable (MSS) tumours (33%, 52/160; p=0.008). However, no such relationship was observed among the CIMP-high or CIMP-0 groups. Conclusion: The relationship between MGMT methylation/silencing and MSI-low is limited to only CIMP-low tumours, supporting the suggestion that CIMP-low in colorectal cancer may be a different molecular phenotype from CIMP-high and CIMP-0. Our data support a molecular difference between MSI-low and MSS in colorectal cancer, and a possible link between CIMP-low, MSI-low, MGMT methylation/loss and KRAS mutation.


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