The CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) is a distinct phenotype in colorectal cancer, associated with specific clinical, pathologic, and molecular features. However, most of the studies stratified methylation according to two subgroups (CIMP-High versus No-CIMP/CIMP-Low). In our study, we defined three different subgroups of methylation (No-CIMP, CIMP-Low, and CIMP-High) and evaluated the prognostic significance of methylation status on a population-based series of sporadic colon cancers. A total of 582 colon adenocarcinomas were evaluated using methylation-specific PCR for 5 markers (hMLH1, P16, MINT1, MINT2, and MINT31). No-CIMP status was defined as no methylated locus, CIMP-Low status as one to three methylated loci, and CIMP-High status as four or five methylated loci. Clinicopathologic and molecular characteristics were correlated to the methylation status. Crude and relative survival was compared according to methylation status. In the microsatellite-stable (MSS) group, CIMP-High was significantly associated with proximal location (P = 0.011) and BRAF mutation (P <0.001). KRAS mutations were more associated with CIMP-High and CIMP-Low status (P = 0.008). A shorter 5-year survival was observed in MSS cancer patients with CIMP-Low or CIMP-High status. These results remained significant in multivariate analysis adjusted for age, stage, and BRAF and KRAS mutational status [CIMP-Low: hazard ratio (HR), 1.85; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 1.37-2.51; CIMP-High, HR, 2.90; 95% CI, 1.53-5.49 compared with No-CIMP]. Within the high-level microsatellite instability group, no difference in survival was observed between the different CIMP groups. Our results show the interest of defining three subgroups of patients according to their methylation status (No-CIMP/CIMP-Low/CIMP-High). Methylation is an independent prognostic factor in MSS colon cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research