Genomic aberrations occurring in subsets of serrated colorectal lesions but not conventional adenomas.


A subset of aggressive colorectal cancers exhibit BRAF mutation, MLH1 methylation, and a CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP), but precursors are poorly established. In this study, we determined the status of these markers in colorectal polyps and evaluated associated risk factors. The study included 771 polyp cases and 1,027 controls who were ages 24 to 80 years, part of a group health program, received a colonoscopy from 1998 to 2007, and completed a structured questionnaire assessing risk factors. Following standard pathology review, polyps were assayed for BRAF mutation (V600E) and tested for MLH1 and CIMP methylation, the latter including the genes, CACNA1G, IGF2, NEUROG1, RUNX3, and SOCS1. Polytomous logistic regression was used to estimate ORs and 95% confidence intervals for the association between molecularly defined subsets of polyps and potential risk factors. There were 580 conventional adenomas and 419 serrated lesions successfully assayed. For adenomas, the prevalence of each marker was ≤1%. In contrast, 55% of serrated lesions harbored mutant BRAF, 26% were CIMP-high, and 5% had methylated MLH1. In these lesions, the highest prevalence of markers was in sessile-serrated polyps (SSP) of ≥10 mm that were in the right-side/cecal regions of the colon. Risk factors for CIMP-high-serrated lesions included Caucasian race, current smoking status, and a history of polyps, whereas for serrated lesions with mutant BRAF, the significant risk factors were male sex, current smoking status, obesity, and a history of polyps. Our results suggest that SSPs and other large, right-sided serrated lesions have a unique molecular profile that is similar to CIMP-high, BRAF-mutated colorectal cancers.

  • Burnett-Hartman AN
  • Grady WM
  • Makar KW
  • Newcomb PA
  • Passarelli MN
  • Phipps AI
  • Potter JD
  • Upton MP
  • Wurscher MA
  • Zhu LC
PubMed ID
Appears In
Cancer Res, 2013, 73 (9)