A Panel of Methylated MicroRNA Biomarkers for Identifying High-Risk Patients with Ulcerative Colitis-associated Colorectal Cancer.
Ajay Goel Ph.D.
Toiyama, Y., Y. Okugawa, K. Tanaka, T. Araki, K. Uchida, A. Hishida, M. Uchino, H. Ikeuchi, S. Hirota, M. Kusunoki, C. R. Boland and A. Goel (2017). “A panel of methylated microrna biomarkers for identifying high-risk patients with ulcerative colitis-associated colorectal cancer.” Gastroenterology: 2017 Aug [Epub ahead of print].
BACKGROUND&AIMS: Methylation of specific microRNAs (miRNAs) often occurs in an age-dependent manner, as a field defect in some instances, and may be an early event in colitis-associated carcinogenesis. We aimed to determine whether specific mRNA signature patterns (MIR1, MIR9, MIR124, MIR137, MIR34B/C) could be used to identify patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) patients who are at increased risk for colorectal neoplasia. METHODS: We obtained 387 colorectal tissue specimens, collected from 238 patients with UC (152 without neoplasia, 17 with dysplasia, and 69 with UC-associated colorectal cancer [UC-CRC]), from 2 independent cohorts in Japan from 2005 and 2015. We quantified methylation of miRNAs by bisulfite pyrosequencing analysis. We analyzed clinical data to determine whether miRNA methylation patterns associated with age, location, or segment of the colorectum (cecum, transverse colon, and rectum). Differences in tissue miRNA methylation and expression levels were compared among samples and associated with cancer risk using the Wilcoxon test, Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis tests as appropriately. We performed a validation study of samples from 90 patients without UC and 61 patients with UC-associated dysplasia or cancer to confirm the association between specific methylation patterns of miRNAs in non-tumor rectal mucosa from patients with UC with risk of UC-CRC. RESULTS: Among patients with UC without neoplasia, rectal tissues had significantly higher levels of methylation levels of MIR1, MIR9, MIR124, and MIR137 than in proximal mucosa; levels of methylation associated with age and duration of UC in rectal mucosa. Methylation of all miRNAs was significantly higher in samples from patients with dysplasia or CRC compared to samples from patients without neoplasia. Receiver operating characteristic analysis revealed that methylation levels of miRNAs in rectal mucosa accurately differentiated patients with CRC from those without. Methylation of MIR137 in rectal mucosa was independent risk factor for UC-CRC. Methylation patterns of a set of miRNAs (panel) could discriminated patients with UC patients with or without dysplasia or CRC in the evaluation cohort (area under the curve, 0.81) and the validation cohort (area under the curve, 0.78). CONCLUSIONS: In evaluation and validation cohorts, we found specific miRNAs to be methylated in rectal mucosal samples from patients with UC with dysplasia or CRC compared with patients without neoplasms. This pattern also associated with patient age and might be used to identify patients with UC at greatest risk for developing UC-CRC. Our findings provide evidence for a field defect in rectal mucosa from patients with UC-CRC.