Background & aims: Laterally spreading tumors (LST), characterized by superficial extension along the colonic lumen, have recently been detected by colonoscopy. However, genetic and epigenetic characteristics of these tumors were scarcely reported.
Methods: A total of 205 sporadic colorectal adenoma tissues (157 protruded-type, 23 granular-type LST (G-LST), 12 flat-type LST (F-LST), and 13 flat-type smaller than 1 cm) were collected. CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) was determined by examination of methylation status at p16, methylated in tumor (MINT) 1, 2, 12, and 31 loci. K-ras codon 12 and 13 point mutations were also examined. The relationship between macroscopic appearance and CIMP status or K-ras mutations was analyzed.
Results: Among adenomas larger than 1 cm, CpG island methylation involving 2 or more loci (CIMP-high) was more likely to be observed in G-LST (14/23, 61%) than in protruded-type adenomas (18/73, 25%) (P = .002). The prevalence of K-ras mutations in G-LST (18/23, 78%) was significantly higher than that in protruded-type adenomas (18/73, 25%) (P < .0001). Moreover, the prevalence of CIMP-high and K-ras mutations in G-LST located in the proximal colon was much higher (11/13, 85%; and 12/13, 92%, respectively). In contrast, F-LST exhibited low prevalence of CIMP-high (1/12, 8%) and K-ras mutations (2/12, 16%).
Conclusions: High prevalence of CIMP-high and K-ras mutations in G-LST, especially in the proximal colon, could strongly suggest that G-LST appearance is associated with a unique carcinogenic pathway.