AIM: To investigate insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2 ) differentially methylated region (DMR)0 hypomethylation in relation to clinicopathological and molecular features in colorectal serrated lesions. METHODS: To accurately analyze the association between the histological types and molecular features of each type of serrated lesion, we consecutively collected 1386 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue specimens that comprised all histological types [hyperplastic polyps (HPs, n = 121), sessile serrated adenomas (SSAs, n = 132), traditional serrated adenomas (TSAs, n = 111), non-serrated adenomas (n = 195), and colorectal cancers (CRCs, n = 827)]. We evaluated the methylation levels of IGF2 DMR0 and long interspersed nucleotide element-1 (LINE-1) in HPs (n = 115), SSAs (n = 120), SSAs with cytological dysplasia (n = 10), TSAs (n = 91), TSAs with high-grade dysplasia (HGD) (n = 15), non-serrated adenomas (n = 80), non-serrated adeno-Naito mas with HGD (n = 105), and CRCs (n = 794). For the accurate quantification of the relative methylation levels (scale 0%-100%) of IGF2 DMR0 and LINE-1, we used bisulfite pyrosequencing method. Tumor specimens were analyzed for microsatellite instability, KRAS (codons 12 and 13), BRAF (V600E ), and PIK3CA (exons 9 and 20) mutations; MLH1 and MGMT methylation; and IGF2 expression by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: The distribution of the IGF2 DMR0 methylation level in 351 serrated lesions and 185 non-serrated adenomas (with or without HGD) was as follows: mean 61.7, median 62.5, SD 18.0, range 5.0-99.0, interquartile range 49.5-74.4. The IGF2 DMR0 methylation level was divided into quartiles (Q1 ≥ 74.5, Q2 62.6-74.4, Q3 49.6-62.5, Q4 ≤ 49.5) for further analysis. With regard to the histological type, the IGF2 DMR0 methylation levels of SSAs (mean ± SD, 73.1 ± 12.3) were significantly higher than those of HPs (61.9 ± 20.5), TSAs (61.6 ± 19.6), and non-serrated adenomas (59.0 ± 15.8) (P < 0.0001). The IGF2 DMR0 methylation level was inversely correlated with the IGF2 expression level (r = -0.21, P = 0.0051). IGF2 DMR0 hypomethylation was less frequently detected in SSAs compared with HPs, TSAs, and non-serrated adenomas (P < 0.0001). Multivariate logistic regression analysis also showed that IGF2 DMR0 hypomethylation was inversely associated with SSAs (P < 0.0001). The methylation levels of IGF2 DMR0 and LINE-1 in TSAs with HGD (50.2 ± 18.7 and 55.7 ± 5.4, respectively) were significantly lower than those in TSAs (61.6 ± 19.6 and 58.8 ± 4.7, respectively) (IGF2 DMR0, P = 0.038; LINE-1, P = 0.024). CONCLUSION: IGF2 DMR0 hypomethylation may be an infrequent epigenetic alteration in the SSA pathway. Hypomethylation of IGF2 DMR0 and LINE-1 may play a role in TSA pathway progression.
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