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1. NATURAL SCIENCES, 1.6 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
Global hypomethylation and regional hypermethylation are well-known epigenetic features of cancer; however, in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), studies on genome-wide epigenetic modifications are limited. Here, we analyzed the global methylation profiles in CLL, by applying high-resolution methylation microarrays (27 578 CpG sites) to 23 CLL samples, belonging to the immunoglobulin heavy-chain variable (IGHV) mutated (favorable) and IGHV unmutated/IGHV3-21 (poor-prognostic) subsets. Overall, results demonstrated significant differences in methylation patterns between these subgroups. Specifically, in IGHV unmutated CLL, we identified methylation of 7 known or candidate tumor suppressor genes (eg, VHL, ABI3, and IGSF4) as well as 8 unmethylated genes involved in cell proliferation and tumor progression (eg, ADORA3 and PRF1 enhancing the nuclear factor-B and mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways, respectively). In contrast, these latter genes were silenced by methylation in IGHV mutated patients. The array data were validated for selected genes using methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction, quantitative reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction, and bisulfite sequencing. Finally, the significance of DNA methylation in regulating gene promoters was shown by reinducing 4 methylated tumor suppressor genes (eg, VHL and ABI3) in IGHV unmutated samples using the methyl-inhibitor 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine. Taken together, our data for the first time reveal differences in global methylation profiles between prognostic subsets of CLL, which may unfold epigenetic silencing mechanisms involved in CLL pathogenesis.
Kanduri, M. et al. (2011) Differential genome-wide array–based methylation profiles in prognostic subsets of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Blood. 2010 Jan 14;115(2):296-305 doi:10.1182/blood-2009-07-232868