Prognostic implications of CpG island hypermethylator phenotype in colorectal cancers

Virchows Arch. 2009 Dec;455(6):485-94. doi: 10.1007/s00428-009-0857-0. Epub 2009 Nov 13.


CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) refers to a subset of colorectal cancers (CRCs) that are characterized by concordant hypermethylation of multiple CpG island loci. CIMP+ CRCs have peculiar clinicopathological features. However, controversy exists over prognostic implications of CIMP in CRCs. We analyzed 320 cases of CRCs for their CIMP status using the MethyLight assay and determined clinicopathological features and prognostic implications of CIMP alone or in combination with microsatellite instability (MSI). With methylation of five or more markers among eight markers examined, CIMP+ tumors were significantly associated with female gender, proximal tumor location, poor differentiation, nodal metastasis, more advanced cancer, BRAF mutations, MSI, and poor prognosis (all P values <0.05). Ogino's combined eight-marker panel outperformed the Ogino and the Laird five-marker panels in detecting these features. Of the four molecular subtypes generated by the combination of CIMP and MSI status, the CIMP+/MSI- subtype showed the worst clinical outcome (P = 0.0003). However, poor prognosis of CIMP+/MSI- subtype was found to be attributed to BRAF mutation. In conclusion, the CIMP+/MSI- subtype tends to present with distinct clinicopathological and molecular features and shows the worst clinical outcome among the four molecular subtypes of CRCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • CpG Islands / genetics*
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Microsatellite Instability
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • ras Proteins / genetics


  • KRAS protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • BRAF protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • ras Proteins