Journal Article

Promoter methylation of Wnt antagonists <i>DKK1</i> and <i>SFRP1</i> is associated with opposing tumor subtypes in two large populations of colorectal cancer patients

James B. Rawson, Michael Manno, Miralem Mrkonjic, Darshana Daftary, Elizabeth Dicks, Daniel D. Buchanan, H. Banfield Younghusband, Patrick S. Parfrey, Joanne P. Young, Aaron Pollett, Roger C. Green, Steven Gallinger, John R. McLaughlin, Julia A. Knight and Bharati Bapat

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 32, issue 5, pages 741-747
Published in print May 2011 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online February 2011 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgr020
Promoter methylation of Wnt antagonists DKK1 and SFRP1 is associated with opposing tumor subtypes in two large populations of colorectal cancer patients

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Aberrant activation of canonical Wnt signaling is a hallmark event in colorectal carcinogenesis. The Dickkopf-1 (DKK1) and Secreted Frizzled Related Protein 1 (SFRP1) genes encode extracellular inhibitors of Wnt signaling that are frequently silenced by promoter hypermethylation in colorectal cancer (CRC). These methylation events have been identified as prognostic markers of patient outcome and tumor subtype in several cancers but similar roles in CRC have not been comprehensively examined. In CRC, the microsatellite instability (MSI) subtype associates with favorable disease outcome but the molecular events that are responsible remain poorly understood. Consequently, we quantified promoter methylation status of the Wnt antagonist genes DKK1 and SFRP1 in a large population-based cohort of CRCs from Ontario (n = 549) and Newfoundland (n = 696) stratified by MSI status. We examined the association between methylation status and clinicopathlogical features including tumor MSI status and patient survival. DKK1 and SFRP1 were methylated in 13 and 95% of CRCs, respectively. In Ontario, DKK1 methylation was strongly associated with MSI tumors after adjustment for age, sex and tumor location [odds ratio (OR) = 13.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 7.8–24.2, P < 0.001]. Conversely, SFRP1 methylation was inversely associated with MSI tumors after these adjustments (OR = 0.3, 95% CI = 0.1–0.9, P = 0.009). Similar results were obtained in Newfoundland. There were no independent associations with recurrence-free survival. This is the first large study to identify associations between Wnt antagonist promoter hypermethylation and CRC MSI subtype. These events provide insight into subtype-specific epigenetic mediation of Wnt signaling in CRC.

Journal Article.  5515 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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