DNA methylation profiling in Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma reveals unique methylation signatures and molecular subclasses.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Epigenetics : official journal of the DNA Methylation Society, Volume 6, Issue 12, p.1403-12 (2011)


2011, ADENOCARCINOMA, Aged, Barrett Esophagus, Center-Authored Paper, Clinical Research Division, CpG Islands, DISEASE PROGRESSION, DNA Methylation, Epigenesis, Genetic, Esophageal Neoplasms, Experimental Histopathology Core Facility, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Genomics Core Facility, Jan 12, January 2012, Middle Aged, Neoplasm Staging, Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis, Prognosis, Public Health Sciences Division, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Shared Resources, Tumor Markers, Biological


Barrett's esophagus (BE) is a metaplastic process whereby the normal stratified, squamous esophageal epithelium is replaced by specialized intestinal epithelium. Barrett's is the only accepted precursor lesion for esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), a solid tumor that is rapidly increasing in incidence in western countries. BE evolves into EAC through intermediate steps that involve increasing degrees of dysplasia. Current histologic criteria are quite subjective and the clinical behavior of BE is highly variable and difficult to predict using these standards. It is widely believed that molecular alterations present in BE and EAC will provide more precise prognostic and predictive markers for these conditions than the current clinical and histologic features in use. In order to further define molecular alterations that can classify unique groups of BE and EAC, we utilized methylation microarrays to compare the global gene methylation status of a collection of normal squamous, BE, BE + high-grade dysplasia (HGD), and EAC cases. We found distinct global methylation signatures, as well as differential methylation of specific genes, that discriminated these histological groups. We also noted high and low methylation epigenotypes among the BE and EAC cases. Additional validation of those CpG sites that distinguished BE from BE + HGD and EAC may lead to the discovery of useful biomarkers with potential clinical applications in the diagnosis and prognosis of BE and EAC.