Background: Metachronous gastric cancer (GC) can develop after endoscopic resection of GC and cannot be predicted based on clinical signature. Aberrant DNA methylation in noncancerous gastric mucosa is strongly implicated in gastric carcinogenesis and could be a useful biomarker of GC risk. We evaluated the clinical utility of DNA methylation as a biomarker of metachronous GC risk.
Method: We carried out scheduled follow-up endoscopy in 129 patients after curative endoscopic resection of GC. Biopsy specimens were collected from noncancerous mucosa in the gastric antrum and body, after which quantitative methylation analysis of miR-34b/c, SFRP1, SFRP2, SFRP5, DKK2 and DKK3 was carried out using bisulfite pyrosequencing. The utility of the methylation for predicting the risk of metachronous GC development was assessed using Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazards model analyses.
Results: During the follow-up period, 17 patients (13%) developed metachronous GCs. The cumulative incidence of metachronous GC was significantly higher among patients with elevated miR-34b/c, SFRP2 and DKK2 methylation in their gastric body. MiR-34b/c showed the strongest association with the risk of metachronous GC, and the cumulative incidence of metachronous GC was much higher in the high-miR-34b/c-methylation group than the low-methylation group. Multivariate analysis adjusted for age, sex, H. pylori status and pathological findings showed miR-34b/c methylation in gastric body to be an independent predictor of metachronous GC risk.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that methylation of miR-34b/c in the mucosa of the noncancerous gastric body may be a useful biomarker for predicting the risk of metachronous GC.