Integrative genomics analysis of nasal intestinal-type adenocarcinomas demonstrates the major role of CACNA1C and paves the way for a simple diagnostic tool in male woodworkers

Clin Epigenetics. 2021 Sep 25;13(1):179. doi: 10.1186/s13148-021-01122-5.


Background: Nasal intestinal-type adenocarcinomas (ITAC) are strongly related to chronic wood dust exposure: The intestinal phenotype relies on CDX2 overexpression but underlying molecular mechanisms remain unknown. Our objectives were to investigate transcriptomic and methylation differences between healthy non-exposed and tumor olfactory cleft mucosae and to compare transcriptomic profiles between non-exposed, wood dust-exposed and ITAC mucosa cells.

Methods: We conducted a prospective monocentric study (NCT0281823) including 16 woodworkers with ITAC, 16 healthy exposed woodworkers and 13 healthy, non-exposed, controls. We compared tumor samples with healthy non-exposed samples, both in transcriptome and in methylome analyses. We also investigated wood dust-induced transcriptome modifications of exposed (without tumor) male woodworkers' samples and of contralateral sides of woodworkers with tumors. We conducted in parallel transcriptome and methylome analysis, and then, the transcriptome analysis was focused on the genes highlighted in methylome analysis. We replicated our results on dataset GSE17433.

Results: Several clusters of genes enabled the distinction between healthy and ITAC samples. Transcriptomic and IHC analysis confirmed a constant overexpression of CDX2 in ITAC samples, without any specific DNA methylation profile regarding the CDX2 locus. ITAC woodworkers also exhibited a specific transcriptomic profile in their contralateral (non-tumor) olfactory cleft, different from that of other exposed woodworkers, suggesting that they had a different exposure or a different susceptibility. Two top-loci (CACNA1C/CACNA1C-AS1 and SLC26A10) were identified with a hemimethylated profile, but only CACNA1C appeared to be overexpressed both in transcriptomic analysis and in immunohistochemistry.

Conclusions: Several clusters of genes enable the distinction between healthy mucosa and ITAC samples even in contralateral nasal fossa thus paving the way for a simple diagnostic tool for ITAC in male woodworkers. CACNA1C might be considered as a master gene of ITAC and should be further investigated.

Trial registration: NIH ClinicalTrials, NCT0281823, registered May 23d 2016, .

Keywords: CACNA1C; CDX2; Metaplasia; SLC26A10; Wood dust exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / epidemiology
  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics
  • Aged
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type / genetics
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type / metabolism*
  • DNA Methylation / drug effects
  • Female
  • Genomics / instrumentation
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Genomics / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Intestinal Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nose Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Nose Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis
  • Wood


  • CACNA1C protein, human
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type