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Sci Rep. 2016 Jul 25;6:29922. doi: 10.1038/srep29922.

Methylation of a panel of genes in peripheral blood leukocytes is associated with colorectal cancer.

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Department of Epidemiology, Public Health College, Harbin Medical University, 157 Baojian Street, Harbin, Heilongjiang, 150006, People's Republic of China.
Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Cancer Hospital of Harbin Medical University, 150 Haping Street, Harbin, Heilongjiang, 150006, People's Republic of China.


The relationship between the DNA methylation status of the CpG islands of multiple genes in blood leukocytes in CRC susceptibility and prognosis, as well as possible interactions with dietary factors on CRC risk are unclear. We carried out a case-control study including 421 CRC patients and 506 controls to examine the associations between six genes (AOX-1, RARB2, RERG, ADAMTS9, IRF4, and FOXE-1), multiple CpG site methylation (MCSM) and susceptibility to CRC. High-level MCSM (MCSM-H) was defined as methylation of greater than or equal to 2 of 5 candidate genes (except for RARB2); low-level MCSM (MCSM-L) was when 1 candidate gene was methylated; non-MCSM was when none of the candidate genes were methylated. Blood cell-derived DNA methylation status was detected using methylation-sensitive high-resolution melting analysis. The hypermethylation status of each individual gene was statistically significantly associated with CRC. MCSM status was also associated with CRC (OR = 1.54, 95% CI: 1.15-2.05, P = 0.004). We observed interactions between a high level of dietary intake of cereals, pungent food, and stewed fish with brown sauce, age (older than 60 yrs), smoking and hypermethylation on risk of CRC. MCSM in peripheral blood DNA may be an important biomarker for susceptibility to CRC.

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