Methylation profile of imprinted genes provides evidence for teratomatous origin of a subset of mucinous ovarian tumours

J Pathol. 2021 Aug;254(5):567-574. doi: 10.1002/path.5702. Epub 2021 Jun 2.


Mucinous ovarian tumours are sometimes associated with mature teratomas. It is suggested that the mucinous tumours in this setting are derived from teratomas, but there remains the possibility of collision or metastasis from extra-ovarian sites. Because mature ovarian teratomas are considered to be parthenogenetic tumours that arise from a single oocyte/ovum, they have only a maternal genome and therefore show maternal genome imprinting. If mucinous ovarian tumours originate from teratomas, their genome imprinting is theoretically maternal. One of the most important mechanisms of genome imprinting is DNA methylation. In the present study, we analysed a total of 28 mucinous ovarian tumours (7 with teratomas, 21 without teratomas; 14 malignant, 14 borderline) to clarify the methylation profiles of their imprinted genes using methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MS-MLPA) of 21 imprinting control regions (ICRs) of nine imprinted genes/gene clusters using formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded samples. All cases lacked evidence of an extra-ovarian primary mucinous tumour. In all seven mucinous tumours with teratomas, the overall methylation profile of mucinous tumours was comparable to that of teratomas, although some ICRs showed aberrant methylation. In contrast, all but one of the mucinous tumours without teratomas showed somatic or irregular methylation patterns. Morphologically, there was little teratomatous tissue in some mucinous tumours carrying teratoma-type methylation profiles, suggesting that mucinous tumours overwhelmed ancestral teratomas. In conclusion, the methylation profile of imprinted genes provides evidence that a subset of mucinous ovarian tumours originated from mature teratomas. Genome imprinting-based analysis is a promising strategy to verify the teratomatous origin of human tumours. © 2021 The Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords: clonal relationship; genome imprinting; imprinted genes; mature teratoma; methylation; mucinous tumours; origin; ovary.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma, Mucinous / pathology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • DNA Methylation / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genomic Imprinting / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Teratoma / genetics*
  • Teratoma / pathology
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Teratoma, Ovarian