The aim of this study was to clarify the association between the epigenetic instability phenotype and the chromosomal instability phenotype in primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Sixty primary HCC tumors were examined. Methylation status for nine CpG islands (the p16, COX2, GSTP1, RASSF1A, E-cadherin, and APC gene promoters, and the MINT 1, 25, and 31 clones) was evaluated by methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction. Chromosomal structural alterations of these 60 HCC tumors were characterized in our previous study by using whole genomic array-based comparative genomic hybridization. We found that the epigenetic instability phenotype and the chromosomal instability phenotype are not mutually exclusive in hepatocarcinogenesis and that they do not show a simple cause-and-effect relationship. Hepatitis virus infection in the background liver was significantly associated with these instability phenotypes. Furthermore, we identified an epigenetic instability-dependent HCC that shows frequent epigenetic aberrations without chromosomal instability. It was noteworthy that epigenetic instability-positive and -negative HCCs displayed distinctive combinations of chromosomal structural alterations. In summary, by combined analyses of genetic and epigenetic aberration profiles in HCC, we obtained a comprehensive view of genomic alterations in hepatocarcinogenesis. Our results have clinical relevance because epigenetic instability-dependent HCCs may respond well to methylation inhibitory therapies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine