Kanduri M, Cahill N, Göransson H, Enström C, Ryan F, Isaksson A, Rosenquist R
Blood 115 (2) 296-305 [2010-01-14; online 2009-11-10]
Global hypomethylation and regional hypermethylation are well-known epigenetic features of cancer; however, in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), studies on genome-wide epigenetic modifications are limited. Here, we analyzed the global methylation profiles in CLL, by applying high-resolution methylation microarrays (27,578 CpG sites) to 23 CLL samples, belonging to the immunoglobulin heavy-chain variable (IGHV) mutated (favorable) and IGHV unmutated/IGHV3-21 (poor-prognostic) subsets. Overall, results demonstrated significant differences in methylation patterns between these subgroups. Specifically, in IGHV unmutated CLL, we identified methylation of 7 known or candidate tumor suppressor genes (eg, VHL, ABI3, and IGSF4) as well as 8 unmethylated genes involved in cell proliferation and tumor progression (eg, ADORA3 and PRF1 enhancing the nuclear factor-kappaB and mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways, respectively). In contrast, these latter genes were silenced by methylation in IGHV mutated patients. The array data were validated for selected genes using methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction, quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, and bisulfite sequencing. Finally, the significance of DNA methylation in regulating gene promoters was shown by reinducing 4 methylated tumor suppressor genes (eg, VHL and ABI3) in IGHV unmutated samples using the methyl-inhibitor 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine. Taken together, our data for the first time reveal differences in global methylation profiles between prognostic subsets of CLL, which may unfold epigenetic silencing mechanisms involved in CLL pathogenesis.