Genetic and epigenetic alterations are a fundamental aspect of colorectal cancer formation. There is considerable heterogeneity between colorectal cancers regarding the mutations and methylated genes they carry, and this heterogeneity may arise early in the polyp-cancer sequence. However, our understanding of the epigenetic alterations and gene mutations in colon adenomas and their relation to colorectal cancer is incomplete. Thus, we have assessed the methylome in normal colon mucosa, tubular adenomas, and colorectal adenocarcinomas and have determined the relationship of these findings between adenomas and cancer in the colon. Genome-wide alterations in DNA methylation were found in the normal colon mucosa adjacent to colorectal cancer, tubular adenomas, and colorectal cancer. Three subgroups of CRCs and two subgroups of adenomas were identified on the basis of their DNA methylation patterns. The adenomas separated into a high-frequency methylation class (Adenoma-H) and a low-frequency methylation class. The adenoma-H polyps have a methylated DNA signature similar to non-CIMP CRCs, whereas those of the Adenoma-L class have a similar methylation pattern to normal colon mucosa. The CpGs that account for these signatures are located in intragenic/intergenic regions, which suggests that these two groups of adenomas arise from different stem cell populations.
We conducted genome-wide array-based studies and comprehensive data analyses of aberrantly methylated loci in 41 normal colon samples, 42 colon adenomas, and 64 colorectal cancers.
Supplementary file 'GSE48684_Matrix_signal_intensities_1.txt.gz': includes the unmethylated and methylated signal intensities from Samples GSM1183439-GSM1183561. Supplementary file 'GSE48684_Matrix_signal_intensities_2.txt.gz': includes the unmethylated and methylated signal intensities from Samples GSM1235135-GSM1235158.