Published online Nov 14, 2011. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v17.i42.4718
Revised: July 14, 2011
Accepted: July 21, 2011
Published online: November 14, 2011
AIM: To evaluate the clinical significance of CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) in plasma and its association with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) progress.
METHODS: CIMP status of 108 HCC patients was analyzed using a methylation marker panel in tumor tissues and plasma with methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction. Fifteen samples of non-neoplastic liver tissues and 60 of plasma from healthy persons were examined simultaneously. Examined genes included APC, WIF-1, RUNX-3, DLC-1, SFRP-1, DKK and E-cad.
RESULTS: The frequencies of high-level methylation in HCC tissue and plasma were at least 15% for the seven genes: APC, 48/108, 44.44% in tissue and 26/108, 24.07% in plasma; WIF-1, 53/108, 49.07% in tissue and 35/108, 32.41% in plasma; RUNX-3, 52/108, 48.14% in tissue and 42/108, 38.89% in plasma; DLC-1, 38/108, 35.18% in tissue and 23/108, 21.30% in plasma; SFRP-1, 40/108, 37.04% in tissue and 31/108, 28.7% in plasma; DKK, 39/108, 36.1% in tissue and 25/108, 23.14% in plasma; and E-cad, 37/108, 34.3% in tissue and 18/108, 16.67% in plasma. CIMP+ (≥ 3 methylated genes) was detected in 68 (60.2%) tumor tissue samples and 62 (57.4%) plasma samples. CIMP was not detected in non-neoplastic liver tissues or plasma of healthy persons. CIMP status in tumor tissues differed significantly in gender, hepatitis B surface antigen, alpha-fetoprotein, and tumor-node-metastasis stage (P < 0.05). Similar results were obtained with plasma samples (P < 0.05). There was no difference in CIMP status in age, presence of hepatitis C virus antibody, cirrhosis, number of nodes, number of tumors, tumor size, or Edmondson-Steiner stage. A one-year follow-up found that the metastatic rate and recurrence rate in the CIMP+ group were significantly higher than in the CIMP- group as assessed with plasma samples (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: Plasma DNA can be a reliable sample source for CIMP analysis. CIMP in plasma may serve as a molecular marker of late-stage and poor-prognosis HCC.