Colorectal cancer (CRC) develops through the accumulation of both genetic and epigenetic alterations. However, while the former are already used as prognostic and predictive biomarkers, the latter are less well characterized. Here, performing global methylation analysis on both CRCs and adenomas by Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450 Bead Chips, we identified a panel of 74 altered CpG islands, demonstrating that the earliest methylation alterations affect genes coding for proteins involved in the crosstalk between cell and surrounding environment. The panel discriminates CRCs and adenomas from peritumoral and normal mucosa with very high specificity (100%) and sensitivity (99.9%). Interestingly, over 70% of the hypermethylated islands resulted in downregulation of gene expression. To establish the possible usefulness of these non-invasive markers for detection of colon cancer, we selected three biomarkers and identified the presence of altered methylation in stool DNA and plasma cell-free circulating DNA from CRC patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research