18q loss of heterozygosity in microsatellite stable colorectal cancer is correlated with CpG island methylator phenotype-negative (CIMP-0) and inversely with CIMP-low and CIMP-high

BMC Cancer. 2007 May 2;7:72. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-7-72.


Background: The CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) with widespread promoter methylation is a distinct epigenetic phenotype in colorectal cancer, associated with microsatellite instability-high (MSI-high) and BRAF mutations. 18q loss of heterozygosity (LOH) commonly present in colorectal cancer with chromosomal instability (CIN) is associated with global hypomethylation in tumor cell. A recent study has shown an inverse correlation between CIN and CIMP (determined by MINTs, p16, p14 and MLH1 methylation) in colorectal cancer. However, no study has examined 18q LOH in relation to CIMP-high, CIMP-low (less extensive promoter methylation) and CIMP-0 (CIMP-negative), determined by quantitative DNA methylation analysis.

Methods: Utilizing MethyLight technology (real-time PCR), we quantified DNA methylation in 8 CIMP-specific promoters {CACNA1G, CDKN2A (p16), CRABP1, IGF2, MLH1, NEUROG1, RUNX3 and SOCS1} in 758 non-MSI-high colorectal cancers obtained from two large prospective cohorts. Using four 18q microsatellite markers (D18S55, D18S56, D18S67 and D18S487) and stringent criteria for 18q LOH, we selected 374 tumors (236 LOH-positive tumors with > or = 2 markers showing LOH; and 138 LOH-negative tumors with > or = 3 informative markers and no LOH).

Results: CIMP-0 (0/8 methylated promoters) was significantly more common in 18q LOH-positive tumors (59% = 139/236, p = 0.002) than 18q LOH-negative tumors (44% = 61/138), while CIMP-low/high (1/8-8/8 methylated promoters) was significantly more common (56%) in 18q LOH-negative tumors than 18q LOH-positive tumors (41%). These relations persisted after stratification by sex, location, or the status of MSI, p53 expression (by immunohistochemistry), or KRAS/BRAF mutation.

Conclusion: 18q LOH is correlated positively with CIMP-0 and inversely with CIMP-low and CIMP-high. Our findings provide supporting evidence for relationship between CIMP-0 and 18q LOH as well as a molecular difference between CIMP-0 and CIMP-low in colorectal cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 18 / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • CpG Islands / genetics*
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Humans
  • Loss of Heterozygosity / genetics*
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics*
  • Phenotype*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor