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Ann Oncol. 2009 Jul;20(7):1216-22. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdn782. Epub 2009 Jan 22.

MGMT and MLH1 promoter methylation versus APC, KRAS and BRAF gene mutations in colorectal cancer: indications for distinct pathways and sequence of events.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, GROW-School for Oncology and Developmental Biology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

To study how caretaker gene silencing relates to gatekeeper mutations in colorectal cancer (CRC), we investigated whether O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) and Human Mut-L Homologue 1 (MLH1) promoter hypermethylation are associated with APC, KRAS and BRAF mutations among 734 CRC patients.

METHODS:

We compared MGMT hypermethylation with G:C > A:T mutations in APC and KRAS and with the occurrence of such mutations in CpG or non-CpG dinucleotides in APC. We also compared MLH1 hypermethylation with truncating APC mutations and activating KRAS and BRAF mutations.

RESULTS:

Only 10% of the tumors showed both MGMT and MLH1 hypermethylation. MGMT hypermethylation occurred more frequently in tumors with G:C > A:T KRAS mutations (55%) compared with those without these mutations (38%, P < 0.001). No such difference was observed for G:C > A:T mutations in APC, regardless of whether mutations occurred in CpG or non-CpG dinucleotides. MLH1 hypermethylation was less common in tumors with APC mutations (P = 0.006) or KRAS mutations (P = 0.001), but was positively associated with BRAF mutations (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

MGMT hypermethylation is associated with G:C > A:T mutations in KRAS, but not in APC, suggesting that MGMT hypermethylation may succeed APC mutations but precedes KRAS mutations in colorectal carcinogenesis. MLH1-hypermethylated tumors harbor fewer APC and KRAS mutations and more BRAF mutations, suggesting that they develop distinctly from an MGMT methylator pathway.

PMID:
19164452
DOI:
10.1093/annonc/mdn782
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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