Gliomas are tumors of the central nervous system with a wide spectrum of different tumor types. They range from pilocytic astrocytoma, with a generally good prognosis, to the extremely aggressive malignant glioblastoma. In addition to these 2 types of contrasting neoplasms, several other subtypes can be distinguished, each characterized by specific phenotypic, as well as genotypic features. Recently, the epigenotype, as evident from differentially methylated DNA loci, has been proposed to be useful as a further criterion to distinguish between tumor types. In our study, we screened 139 tissue samples, including 33 pilocytic astrocytomas, 46 astrocytomas of different grades, 7 oligoastrocytomas, 10 oligodendrogliomas, 10 glioblastoma multiforme samples and 33 control tissues, for methylation at CpG islands of 15 different gene loci. We used the semiquantitative high throughput method MethyLight to analyze a gene panel comprising ARF, CDKN2B, RB1, APC, CDH1, ESR1, GSTP1, TGFBR2, THBS1, TIMP3, PTGS2, CTNNB1, CALCA, MYOD1 and HIC1. Seven of these loci showed tumor specific methylation changes. We found tissue as well as grade specific methylation profiles. Interestingly, pilocytic astrocytomas showed no evidence of CpG island hypermethylation, but were significantly hypomethylated, relative to control tissues, at MYOD1. Our results show that glioma subtypes have characteristic methylation profiles and, with the exception of pilocytic astrocytomas, show both locus specific hyper- as well as hypomethylation.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.