Toward a comprehensive and systematic methylome signature in colorectal cancers


CpG Island Methylator Phenotype (CIMP) is one of the underlying mechanisms in colorectal cancer (CRC). This study aimed to define a methylome signature in CRC through a methylation microarray analysis and a compilation of promising CIMP markers from the literature. Illumina HumanMethylation27 (IHM27) array data was generated and analyzed based on statistical differences in methylation data (1st approach) or based on overall differences in methylation percentages using lower 95% CI (2nd approach). Pyrosequencing was performed for the validation of nine genes. A meta-analysis was used to identify CIMP and non-CIMP markers that were hypermethylated in CRC but did not yet make it to the CIMP genes’ list. Our 1st approach for array data analysis demonstrated the limitations in selecting genes for further validation, highlighting the need for the 2nd bioinformatics approach to adequately select genes with differential aberrant methylation. A more comprehensive list, which included non-CIMP genes, such as APC, EVL, CD109, PTEN, TWIST1, DCC, PTPRD, SFRP1, ICAM5, RASSF1A, EYA4, 30ST2, LAMA1, KCNQ5, ADHEF1, and TFPI2, was established. Array data are useful to categorize and cluster colonic lesions based on their global methylation profiles; however, its usefulness in identifying robust methylation markers is limited and rely on the data analysis method. We have identified 16 non-CIMP-panel genes for which we provide rationale for inclusion in a more comprehensive characterization of CIMP+ CRCs. The identification of a definitive list for methylome specific genes in CRC will contribute to better clinical management of CRC patients.

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Toward a comprehensive and systematic methylome signature in colorectal cancers