Epigenomic profiling of non-small cell lung cancer xenografts uncover LRP12 DNA methylation as predictive biomarker for carboplatin resistance

Genome Med. 2018 Jul 20;10(1):55. doi: 10.1186/s13073-018-0562-1.


Background: Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide and is primarily treated with radiation, surgery, and platinum-based drugs like cisplatin and carboplatin. The major challenge in the treatment of NSCLC patients is intrinsic or acquired resistance to chemotherapy. Molecular markers predicting the outcome of the patients are urgently needed.

Methods: Here, we employed patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) to detect predictive methylation biomarkers for platin-based therapies. We used MeDIP-Seq to generate genome-wide DNA methylation profiles of 22 PDXs, their parental primary NSCLC, and their corresponding normal tissues and complemented the data with gene expression analyses of the same tissues. Candidate biomarkers were validated with quantitative methylation-specific PCRs (qMSP) in an independent cohort.

Results: Comprehensive analyses revealed that differential methylation patterns are highly similar, enriched in PDXs and lung tumor-specific when comparing differences in methylation between PDXs versus primary NSCLC. We identified a set of 40 candidate regions with methylation correlated to carboplatin response and corresponding inverse gene expression pattern even before therapy. This analysis led to the identification of a promoter CpG island methylation of LDL receptor-related protein 12 (LRP12) associated with increased resistance to carboplatin. Validation in an independent patient cohort (n = 35) confirmed that LRP12 methylation status is predictive for therapeutic response of NSCLC patients to platin therapy with a sensitivity of 80% and a specificity of 84% (p < 0.01). Similarly, we find a shorter survival time for patients with LRP12 hypermethylation in the TCGA data set for NSCLC (lung adenocarcinoma).

Conclusions: Using an epigenome-wide sequencing approach, we find differential methylation patterns from primary lung cancer and PDX-derived cancers to be very similar, albeit with a lower degree of differential methylation in primary tumors. We identify LRP12 DNA methylation as a powerful predictive marker for carboplatin resistance. These findings outline a platform for the identification of epigenetic therapy resistance biomarkers based on PDX NSCLC models.

Keywords: Carboplatin resistance; DNA methylation; Epigenomics; NSCLC; Non-small cell lung cancer; Patient-derived xenografts; Predictive biomarker; Therapy response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Carboplatin / pharmacology
  • Carboplatin / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics*
  • DNA Methylation / genetics*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Epigenomics*
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Genome, Human
  • Humans
  • Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor-Related Protein-1 / genetics*
  • Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor-Related Protein-1 / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Mice, Nude
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • LRP12 protein, human
  • Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor-Related Protein-1
  • Carboplatin