Progressive methylation during the serrated neoplasia pathway of the colorectum

Mod Pathol. 2005 Feb;18(2):170-8. doi: 10.1038/modpathol.3800261.


Serrated adenoma is a recently described entity characterized by having combined architectural features of hyperplastic polyps and classical adenoma. To understand the role of gene regulation in the progression of the serrated neoplasia pathway, we examined the methylation profiles of the promoter regions of 19 genes, DNA ploidy, and mutator phenotype status. In all, 40 sporadic, classical serrated adenomas were pathologically reviewed and divided into four pathologic groups according to their histologic grades. Methylation-specific PCR was performed using primers for p16, hMLH1, RASSF1A, APC, HIC-1, DAPK, MGMT, SLC5A8, RB1, H-Cadherin, E-Cadherin, TIMP3, PTEN, THBS1, LKB1, p14, p15, FHIT, and VHL. Dual flow-cytometric analyses using cytokeratin and DAPI and MSI studies using BAT26 were also performed. Methylation was observed in 2.5-82.5% (mean 33.9%) of the CpG islands in the promoter regions of 16 genes. The tumors with higher histologic grades, including carcinomas, showed more extensive methylation compared to those with lower grades, and serrated adenomas in the right colon showed more frequent methylation than those in the left (P<0.05). Tumor-specific promoter methylation of SLC5A8 was observed in 33 (82.5%) of the serrated adenomas. Aneuploidization with near-diploid DNA indices was detected in four out of 28 cases examined (14.3%); two were low-grade serrated adenomas and two were carcinomas in the left colon. The high mutator phenotype was not observed in any of the cases examined. Our results indicate that: (1) aberrant, widespread methylation of CpG islands increases with the histological progression of serrated adenomas; (2) methylation of SLC5A8 is an early event; and (3) additional methylation of the p16, p14, MGMT, TIMP3, and FHIT genes are important tumorigenic steps in the serrated neoplasia pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / genetics
  • Adenoma / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Colonic Polyps / genetics
  • Colonic Polyps / pathology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • CpG Islands / genetics
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia / genetics
  • Hyperplasia / pathology
  • Male
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Ploidies
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics


  • Biomarkers, Tumor