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Mod Pathol. 2008 Dec;21(12):1499-507. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.2008.157. Epub 2008 Sep 26.

Multiple genes are hypermethylated in intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms of the pancreas.

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Department of Pathology, The Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA.


Ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas is the fourth leading cause of cancer death and is usually diagnosed late. Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms are an increasingly recognized precursor to invasive ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. Identifying the alterations in DNA methylation that arise during intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm development may facilitate the development of markers that could be used to differentiate intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms from non-neoplastic pancreatic cystic lesions. Surgically resected intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms and adjacent ductal adenocarcinomas were microdissected from 50 patients. Normal pancreas was also obtained from 27 patients with intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms or pancreatic adenocarcinomas and 10 patients with well-differentiated pancreatic endocrine neoplasms. Methylation-specific PCR was performed on isolated DNA for seven genes (SPARC, SARP2, TSLC1, RELN, TFPI2, CLDN5, UCHL1) known to be commonly aberrantly methylated in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas. The mean percentage of genes methylated in invasive ductal adenocarcinomas arising in association with an intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (mean+/-s.d., 81+/-17%) was significantly higher than that in noninvasive-intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (57+/-26%, P=0.007) or peritumoral normal epithelial cells (22+/-17%, P<0.0001). Carcinomas (intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms with carcinoma in situ or their associated infiltrating adenocarcinoma) had significantly more methylated genes (71+/-19%) than low-grade (low and moderate dysplasia) intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (44+/-26%, P<0.0001). The mean percentage of genes methylated in histologically normal pancreatic ductal cells from patients with ductal neoplasia (22+/-17%) was significantly higher than in normal ductal cells from patients with well-differentiated pancreatic endocrine neoplasms (4+/-7%, P=0.002). Thus, aberrant DNA methylation increases with histologic grades of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm. Low-level aberrant methylation in the normal ductal cells is more prevalent in patients with ductal neoplasia than in controls without ductal neoplasms and may contribute to carcinogenesis. The detection of aberrant methylation in pancreatic cystic lesions could facilitate the diagnosis of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms.

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