DNA methylation signatures of Prostate Cancer in peripheral T-cells

BMC Cancer. 2020 Jun 23;20(1):588. doi: 10.1186/s12885-020-07078-8.


Background: Prostate Cancer (PCa) is the second most common cancer in men where advancements have been made for early detection using imaging techniques, however these are limited by lesion size. Immune surveillance has emerged as an effective approach for early detection and to monitor disease progression. In recent studies, we have shown that host peripheral blood immune cells undergo changes in DNA methylation in liver and breast cancer.

Methods: In the current study, we examined the DNA methylation status of peripheral blood T cells of men with positive biopsy for PCa versus men with negative biopsy having benign prostate tissue, defined as controls. T cells DNA was isolated and subjected to Illumina Infinium methylation EPIC array and validated using Illumina amplicon sequencing and pyrosequencing platforms.

Results: Differential methylation of 449 CG sites between control and PCa T cell DNA showed a correlation with Gleason score (p < 0.05). Two hundred twenty-three differentially methylated CGs between control and PCa (Ƨ +/- 10%, p < 0.05), were enriched in pathways involved in immune surveillance system. Three CGs which were found differentially methylated following DMP (Differentially methylated probes) analysis of ChAMP remained significant after BH (Benjamini-Hochberg) correction, of which, 2 CGs were validated. Predictive ability of combination of these 3 CGs (polygenic methylation score, PMS) to detect PCa had high sensitivity, specificity and overall accuracy. PMS also showed strong positive correlation with Gleason score and tumor volume of PCa patients.

Conclusions: Results from the current study provide for the first-time a potential role of DNA methylation changes in peripheral T cells in PCa. This non-invasive methodology may allow for early intervention and stratification of patients into different prognostic groups to reduce PCa associated morbidity from repeat invasive prostate biopsies and design therapeutic strategy to reduce PCa associated mortality.

Keywords: Blood; DNA methylation; Diagnosis; Immune; Prostate cancer; T cells.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA Methylation / immunology*
  • Epigenome / immunology
  • Epigenomics / methods*
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Surveillance / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Prognosis
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / immunology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Tumor Burden