Trends in altered DNA methylation have been defined across human cancers, revealing global loss of methylation (hypomethylation) and focal gain of methylation (hypermethylation) as frequent cancer hallmarks. Although many cancers share these trends, little is known about the specific differences in DNA methylation changes across cancer types, particularly outside of promoters. Here, we present a comprehensive comparison of DNA methylation changes between two distinct cancers, endometrioid adenocarcinoma (EAC) and glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), to elucidate common rules of methylation dysregulation and changes unique to cancers derived from specific cells. Both cancers exhibit significant changes in methylation over regulatory elements. Notably, hypermethylated enhancers within EAC samples contain several transcription factor binding site clusters with enriched disease ontology terms highlighting uterine function, while hypermethylated enhancers in GBM are found to overlap active enhancer marks in adult brain. These findings suggest that loss of original cellular identity may be a shared step in tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number607
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


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