Assessment of three epigenotypes in colorectal cancer by combined bisulfite restriction analysis

Mol Carcinog. 2012 Dec;51(12):1003-8. doi: 10.1002/mc.20871. Epub 2011 Oct 17.


Recent investigations have demonstrated the clear heterogeneity of sporadic colorectal cancer (CRC) with regard to CpG island methylation. Two unsupervised cluster analyses revealed that CRCs form three distinct DNA methylation subsets, which are referred to as the high-, intermediate-, and low-methylation epigenotypes (HME, IME, and LME, respectively). A recent study by Yagi et al. found a fairly sensitive and specific identification of HME, IME, and LME using two marker panels analyzed by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry (MassARRAY). However, the expensive equipment required for this method substantially increases the cost and complexity of the assay. In this article, we demonstrate the assessment of HME, IME, and LME in a group of 233 sporadic CRCs using seven markers proposed by Yagi et al. The DNA methylation of each marker was quantified using combined bisulfite restriction analysis (COBRA) and analyzed along with various genetic factors associated with CRC [the BRAF and KRAS mutations, MLH1 methylation and microsatellite instability (MSI)]. The baseline methylation of each marker was generated from pooled DNA isolated from 50 normal colon tissues. We demonstrate that the correlation of HME, IME, and LME epigenotyped by COBRA using different molecular classifiers is similar to that achieved by MassARRAY. Therefore, epigenotyping CRCs using COBRA is a simple, specific, and cost-effective method that has the potential to be widely used in CRC research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / genetics
  • Aged
  • Base Sequence
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • DNA Methylation
  • DNA Primers
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Female
  • Genes, ras
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • MutL Protein Homolog 1
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf / genetics
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • DNA Primers
  • MLH1 protein, human
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • BRAF protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf
  • MutL Protein Homolog 1