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PLoS One. 2009 Dec 21;4(12):e8357. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008357.

Analysis of the association between CIMP and BRAF in colorectal cancer by DNA methylation profiling.

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  • 1USC Epigenome Center, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Abstract

A CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) is displayed by a distinct subset of colorectal cancers with a high frequency of DNA hypermethylation in a specific group of CpG islands. Recent studies have shown that an activating mutation of BRAF (BRAF(V600E)) is tightly associated with CIMP, raising the question of whether BRAF(V600E) plays a causal role in the development of CIMP or whether CIMP provides a favorable environment for the acquisition of BRAF(V600E). We employed Illumina GoldenGate DNA methylation technology, which interrogates 1,505 CpG sites in 807 different genes, to further study this association. We first examined whether expression of BRAF(V600E) causes DNA hypermethylation by stably expressing BRAF(V600E) in the CIMP-negative, BRAF wild-type COLO 320DM colorectal cancer cell line. We determined 100 CIMP-associated CpG sites and examined changes in DNA methylation in eight stably transfected clones over multiple passages. We found that BRAF(V600E) is not sufficient to induce CIMP in our system. Secondly, considering the alternative possibility, we identified genes whose DNA hypermethylation was closely linked to BRAF(V600E) and CIMP in 235 primary colorectal tumors. Interestingly, genes that showed the most significant link include those that mediate various signaling pathways implicated in colorectal tumorigenesis, such as BMP3 and BMP6 (BMP signaling), EPHA3, KIT, and FLT1 (receptor tyrosine kinases) and SMO (Hedgehog signaling). Furthermore, we identified CIMP-dependent DNA hypermethylation of IGFBP7, which has been shown to mediate BRAF(V600E)-induced cellular senescence and apoptosis. Promoter DNA hypermethylation of IGFBP7 was associated with silencing of the gene. CIMP-specific inactivation of BRAF(V600E)-induced senescence and apoptosis pathways by IGFBP7 DNA hypermethylation might create a favorable context for the acquisition of BRAF(V600E) in CIMP+ colorectal cancer. Our data will be useful for future investigations toward understanding CIMP in colorectal cancer and gaining insights into the role of aberrant DNA hypermethylation in colorectal tumorigenesis.

PMID:
20027224
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2791229
Free PMC Article
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