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      DNA methylation signatures for breast cancer classification and prognosis

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          Abstract

          Changes in gene expression that reset a cell program from a normal to a diseased state involve multiple genetic circuitries, creating a characteristic signature of gene expression that defines the cell's unique identity. Such signatures have been demonstrated to classify subtypes of breast cancers. Because DNA methylation is critical in programming gene expression, a change in methylation from a normal to diseased state should be similarly reflected in a signature of DNA methylation that involves multiple gene pathways. Whole-genome approaches have recently been used with different levels of success to delineate breast-cancer-specific DNA methylation signatures, and to test whether they can classify breast cancer and whether they could be associated with specific clinical outcomes. Recent work suggests that DNA methylation signatures will extend our ability to classify breast cancer and predict outcome beyond what is currently possible. DNA methylation is a robust biomarker, vastly more stable than RNA or proteins, and is therefore a promising target for the development of new approaches for diagnosis and prognosis of breast cancer and other diseases. Here, I review the scientific basis for using DNA methylation signatures in breast cancer classification and prognosis. I discuss the role of DNA methylation in normal gene regulation, the aberrations in DNA methylation in cancer, and candidate-gene and whole-genome approaches to classify breast cancer subtypes using DNA methylation markers.

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          Most cited references 85

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          High density DNA methylation array with single CpG site resolution.

          We have developed a new generation of genome-wide DNA methylation BeadChip which allows high-throughput methylation profiling of the human genome. The new high density BeadChip can assay over 480K CpG sites and analyze twelve samples in parallel. The innovative content includes coverage of 99% of RefSeq genes with multiple probes per gene, 96% of CpG islands from the UCSC database, CpG island shores and additional content selected from whole-genome bisulfite sequencing data and input from DNA methylation experts. The well-characterized Infinium® Assay is used for analysis of CpG methylation using bisulfite-converted genomic DNA. We applied this technology to analyze DNA methylation in normal and tumor DNA samples and compared results with whole-genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) data obtained for the same samples. Highly comparable DNA methylation profiles were generated by the array and sequencing methods (average R2 of 0.95). The ability to determine genome-wide methylation patterns will rapidly advance methylation research. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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            Stromal gene expression predicts clinical outcome in breast cancer.

            Although it is increasingly evident that cancer is influenced by signals emanating from tumor stroma, little is known regarding how changes in stromal gene expression affect epithelial tumor progression. We used laser capture microdissection to compare gene expression profiles of tumor stroma from 53 primary breast tumors and derived signatures strongly associated with clinical outcome. We present a new stroma-derived prognostic predictor (SDPP) that stratifies disease outcome independently of standard clinical prognostic factors and published expression-based predictors. The SDPP predicts outcome in several published whole tumor-derived expression data sets, identifies poor-outcome individuals from multiple clinical subtypes, including lymph node-negative tumors, and shows increased accuracy with respect to previously published predictors, especially for HER2-positive tumors. Prognostic power increases substantially when the predictor is combined with existing outcome predictors. Genes represented in the SDPP reveal the strong prognostic capacity of differential immune responses as well as angiogenic and hypoxic responses, highlighting the importance of stromal biology in tumor progression.
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              A genomic sequencing protocol that yields a positive display of 5-methylcytosine residues in individual DNA strands.

              The modulation of DNA-protein interactions by methylation of protein-binding sites in DNA and the occurrence in genomic imprinting, X chromosome inactivation, and fragile X syndrome of different methylation patterns in DNA of different chromosomal origin have underlined the need to establish methylation patterns in individual strands of particular genomic sequences. We report a genomic sequencing method that provides positive identification of 5-methylcytosine residues and yields strand-specific sequences of individual molecules in genomic DNA. The method utilizes bisulfite-induced modification of genomic DNA, under conditions whereby cytosine is converted to uracil, but 5-methylcytosine remains nonreactive. The sequence under investigation is then amplified by PCR with two sets of strand-specific primers to yield a pair of fragments, one from each strand, in which all uracil and thymine residues have been amplified as thymine and only 5-methylcytosine residues have been amplified as cytosine. The PCR products can be sequenced directly to provide a strand-specific average sequence for the population of molecules or can be cloned and sequenced to provide methylation maps of single DNA molecules. We tested the method by defining the methylation status within single DNA strands of two closely spaced CpG dinucleotides in the promoter of the human kininogen gene. During the analysis, we encountered in sperm DNA an unusual methylation pattern, which suggests that the high methylation level of single-copy sequences in sperm may be locally modulated by binding of protein factors in germ-line cells.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Genome Med
                Genome Med
                Genome Medicine
                BioMed Central
                1756-994X
                2012
                30 March 2012
                30 March 2013
                : 4
                : 3
                : 26
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Sackler Program in Epigenetics and Psychobiology, McGill University, 3,655 Sir William Osler Promenade, Montreal H3G1Y6, Canada
                Article
                gm325
                10.1186/gm325
                3446276
                22494847
                Copyright ©2012 BioMed Central Ltd.
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