Integrative Analysis Defines Distinct Prognostic Subgroups of Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma

Hepatology. 2019 May;69(5):2091-2106. doi: 10.1002/hep.30493. Epub 2019 Feb 28.


Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (iCCA) is the second most common primary liver cancer. It is defined by cholangiocytic differentiation and has poor prognosis. Recently, epigenetic processes have been shown to play an important role in cholangiocarcinogenesis. We performed an integrative analysis on 52 iCCAs using both genetic and epigenetic data with a specific focus on DNA methylation components. We found recurrent isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) and IDH2 (28%) gene mutations, recurrent arm-length copy number alterations (CNAs), and focal alterations such as deletion of 3p21 or amplification of 12q15, which affect BRCA1 Associated Protein 1, polybromo 1, and mouse double minute 2 homolog. DNA methylome analysis revealed excessive hypermethylation of iCCA, affecting primarily the bivalent genomic regions marked with both active and repressive histone modifications. Integrative clustering of genetic and epigenetic data identified four iCCA subgroups with prognostic relevance further designated as IDH, high (H), medium (M), and low (L) alteration groups. The IDH group consisted of all samples with IDH1 or IDH2 mutations and showed, together with the H group, a highly disrupted genome, characterized by frequent deletions of chromosome arms 3p and 6q. Both groups showed excessive hypermethylation with distinct patterns. The M group showed intermediate characteristics regarding both genetic and epigenetic marks, whereas the L group exhibited few methylation changes and mutations and a lack of CNAs. Methylation-based latent component analysis of cell-type composition identified differences among these four groups. Prognosis of the H and M groups was significantly worse than that of the L group. Conclusion: Using an integrative genomic and epigenomic analysis approach, we identified four major iCCA subgroups with widespread genomic and epigenomic differences and prognostic implications. Furthermore, our data suggest differences in the cell-of-origin of the iCCA subtypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / classification*
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / classification*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / diagnosis
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / genetics*
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Female
  • Genes, p53
  • Humans
  • Isocitrate Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Prognosis


  • IDH2 protein, human
  • Isocitrate Dehydrogenase
  • IDH1 protein, human