Colorectal laterally spreading tumors (LSTs) grow to extremely large size while rarely invade deeply. Also, there is a low tendency to become cancerous. We used the Illumina Human Methylation 450K array to query the main epigenetic difference of LSTs. We built a discovery cohort with 10 matched cases, and a validation cohort with 9 additional matched cases. Our results suggest that LST displays significant decrease in DNA methylation, highlighted by the discovery of 1,018 hypomethylated intergenic regions (IGRs). Comparing to classic differentially methylated probes and regions that overlap transcription starting site and CpG island, IGR-regions were associated more closely with genes involved in functional biological processes and correlated with specific histone modifications. Hypomethylated IGR regions were often annotated as tissue-specific regulatory elements for noncolon tissues and were typically epigenetically silenced in normal colon mucosa. By integration of public data, we defined the commonality and specific epigenetic signatures for adenomas, LSTs and colon adenocarcinomas. Only 435 hypermethylated differentially methylated probes (DMPs) and differentially methylated regions (DMRs) and 517 hypomethylated DMPs and DMRs were shared by the three diseases. However, our pathway-level analysis discovered that genes in four pathways were common target of epimutations in LSTs, adenomas and CRCs. More interestingly, different diseases seem to employ distinct epigenetic insult to disturb specific pathways. Between LST and adenoma, we found eight pathways including Ras signaling and Rap1 signaling pathway were commonly targeted but the epimutation patterns were opposite. Comparison between precancerous conditions and invasive states revealed the key pathways governing the progression to malignancy, including PI3K-Akt pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2488-2498
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 15 2018


  • DNA methylation
  • DNA methylation array
  • epimutation
  • laterally spreading tumors


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