ENPP2 Methylation in Health and Cancer

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Nov 4;22(21):11958. doi: 10.3390/ijms222111958.


Autotaxin (ATX) encoded by Ectonucleotide Pyrophosphatase/Phosphodiesterase 2 (ENPP2) is a key enzyme in Lysophosphatidic Acid (LPA) synthesis implicated in cancer. Although its aberrant expression has been reported, ENPP2 methylation profiles in health and malignancy are not described. We examined in silico the methylation of ENPP2 analyzing publicly available methylome datasets, to identify Differentially Methylated CpGs (DMCs) which were then correlated with expression at gene and isoform levels. Significance indication was set to be FDR corrected p-value < 0.05. Healthy tissues presented methylation in all gene body CGs and lower levels in Promoter Associated (PA) regions, whereas in the majority of the tumors examined (HCC, melanoma, CRC, LC and PC) the methylation pattern was reversed. DMCs identified in the promoter were located in sites recognized by multiple transcription factors, suggesting involvement in gene expression. Alterations in methylation were correlated to an aggressive phenotype in cancer cell lines. In prostate and lung adenocarcinomas, increased methylation of PA CGs was correlated to decreased ENPP2 mRNA expression and to poor prognosis parameters. Collectively, our results corroborate that methylation is an active level of ATX expression regulation in cancer. Our study provides an extended description of the methylation status of ENPP2 in health and cancer and points out specific DMCs of value as prognostic biomarkers.

Keywords: ENPP2; autotaxin; cancer; expression; methylation; regulation.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases / genetics*
  • Prognosis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases
  • alkylglycerophosphoethanolamine phosphodiesterase