Examination of whole blood DNA methylation as a potential risk marker for gastric cancer

Tomomitsu Tahara, Shinji Maegawa, Woonbok Chung, Judith Garriga, Jaroslav Jelinek, Marcos R.H. Estécio, Tomoyuki Shibata, Ichiro Hirata, Tomiyasu Arisawa, Jean Pierre J. Issa

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Whole blood DNA methylation analysis has been proposed to be a risk marker for cancer that can be used to target patients for preventive interventions. To test this, we examined whole blood DNA methylation of 16 CpG island promoters and LINE1 repetitive element in patients with gastric cancer and control subjects. Bisulfite pyrosequencing was used to quantify the methylation of 14 CpG island promoters (MINT25, RORA, GDNF, CDH1, RARAB2, ER, CDH13, MYOD1, SFRP1, P2RX7, SLC16A12, IGF2, DPYS, and N33) and LINE1 from 72 patients with gastric cancer, 67 control, and 52 healthy young individuals. Quantitative methylation-specific real-time PCR was also conducted for 3 CpG island promoters (MINT25, MYO3A, and SOX11). Among all sites tested, only a marginal increase in the methylation of the SFRP1 promoter was observed in the blood of patients with gastric cancer when compared with the control group (11.3% vs 10.5%; age-adjusted P value: P = 0.009), and this association was also seen in a validation set of 91 patients with gastric cancer (11.5% vs 10.5%; age-adjusted P value: P = 0.001). The methylation of 9 sites (GDNF, CDH1, RARAB2, CDH13, MYOD1, SFRP1, SLC16A12, DPYS, N33, and LINE1) and their mean Z score was correlated with higher age (R = 0.41, P < 0.0001) and marginally with telomere shortening (R = -0.18, P = 0.01) but not with gastric cancer risk (other than SFRP1 methylation). Variability in whole blood DNA methylation of cancer markers is primarily associated with aging, reflecting turnover of white blood cells, and has no direct link to gastric cancer predisposition. SFRP1 methylation in whole blood may be associated with gastric cancer risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1093-1100
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Prevention Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 10-2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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