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Leukocyte DNA methylation and colorectal cancer among male smokers

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Author(s): Ying Gao | Keith Killian | Hong Zhang | Kai Yu | Qi-Zhai Li | Stephanie Weinstein | Jarmo Virtamo | Margaret Tucker | Philip Taylor | Demetrius Albanes | Paul Meltzer | Neil Caporaso

Journal: World Journal of Gastrointestinal Oncology
ISSN 1948-5204

Volume: 4;
Issue: 8;
Start page: 193;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: DNA methylation | Colorectal cancer | Susceptibility

ABSTRACT
AIM: To explore the association between methylation in leukocyte DNA and colorectal cancer (CRC) risk in male smokers using the α-tocopherol, β-carotene cancer prevention study. METHODS: About 221 incident CRC cases, and 219 controls, frequency-matched on age and smoking intensity were included. DNA methylation of 1505 CpG sites selected from 807 genes were evaluated using Illumina GoldenGate Methylation Cancer Panel I in pre-diagnostic blood leukocytes of study subjects. Tertiles of methylation level classified according to the distribution in controls for each CpG site were used to analyze the association between methylation level and CRC risk with logistic regression. The time between blood draw to cancer diagnosis (classifying cases according to latency) was incorporated in further analyses using proportional odds regression. RESULTS: We found that methylation changes of 31 CpG sites were associated with CRC risk at P < 0.01 level. Though none of these 31 sites remained statistically significant after Bonferroni correction, the most statistically significant CpG site associated with CRC risk achieved a P value of 1.0 × 10-4. The CpG site is located in DSP gene, and the risk estimate was 1.52 (95% CI: 0.91-2.53) and 2.62 (95% CI: 1.65-4.17) for the second and third tertile comparing with the lowest tertile respectively. Taking the latency information into account strengthened some associations, suggesting that the methylation levels of corresponding sites might change over time with tumor progression. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that the methylation level of some genes were associated with cancer susceptibility and some were related to tumor development over time. Further studies are warranted to confirm and refine our results.

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