Genome-wide DNA methylation studies suggest distinct DNA methylation patterns in pediatric embryonal and alveolar rhabdomyosarcomas.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Epigenetics : official journal of the DNA Methylation Society, Volume 7, Issue 4 (2012)


2012, April 2012, Center-Authored Paper, Clinical Research Division, Human Biology Division, Public Health Sciences Division


Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft-tissue sarcoma in children. While cytogenetic abnormalities have been well characterized in this disease, aberrant epigenetic events such as DNA hypermethylation have not been performed in genome-wide studies. We have analyzed the methylation status of 25,500 promoters in normal skeletal muscle, and in cell lines and tumor samples of embryonal and alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma from pediatric patients. We identified over 1,900 CpG islands that are hypermethylated in rhabdomyosarcomas relative to skeletal muscle. Genes involved in tissue development, differentiation, and oncogenesis such as DNAJA4, HES5, IRX1, BMP8A, GATA4, GATA6, ALX3, and P4HTM were hypermethylated in both RMS cell lines and primary samples, implicating aberrant DNA methylation in the pathogenesis of rhabdomyosarcoma. Furthermore, cluster analysis revealed embryonal and alveolar subtypes had distinct DNA methylation patterns, with the alveolar subtype being enriched in DNA hypermethylation of polycomb target genes. These results suggest that DNA methylation signatures may aid in the diagnosis and risk stratification of pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma and help identify new targets for therapy.