To understand the role of gene promoter methylation in neoplastic evolution and progression, the methylation changes associated with 15 candidate tumor suppressor genes were studied throughout stages of tumor progression involving intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN) of the pancreas. Genomic DNA from 28 pancreatic IPMN tissue samples, categorized histologically as non-invasive intraductal IPMN (n = 3), IPMN with carcinoma in situ (n = 7), IPMN with microinvasion <1 mm (n = 4), and infiltrative IPMN with associated adenocarcinoma (n = 14), was modified by bisulfite treatment and analyzed with methylation-specific PCR (MSP). Promoter methylation of at least one tumor suppressor gene was present in 26/28 (92%) of the IPMNs. The cell cycle control genes, p16 and p73, were methylated frequently (>50%) in both non-invasive and invasive tumors. APC methylation was discovered in <10% of the non-invasive IPMNs versus 45% of the IPMNs associated with infiltrative adenocarcinoma, P = 0.040. Mismatch repair genes, hMLH1 and MGMT, were frequently methylated in the invasive IPMNs compared with the non-invasive tumors (38 versus 10% and 45 versus 20%, respectively) as was E-cadherin (38 versus 10%), P = 0.11. Multiple gene methylation at greater than three loci was present in 55% of the invasive tumors compared with 20% of the non-invasive tumors, P = 0.075. Lymph node status did not predict multi-gene methylation among tumors associated with invasive cancer. Compared with non-invasive IPMNs of the pancreas, IPMNs associated with adenocarcinoma demonstrate higher rates of aberrant tumor suppressor gene methylation. The sequential acquisition of hypermethylation at multiple gene promoter sites may explain tumor progression in IPMNs and other malignancies. Detection of methylation within selected genes may afford an accurate diagnostic molecular marker and predictor of neoplastic behavior.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research