Subtypes of Barrett's oesophagus and oesophageal adenocarcinoma based on genome-wide methylation analysis.


To identify and characterise DNA methylation subtypes in oesophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) and its precursor Barrett's oesophagus (BE).

We performed genome-wide DNA methylation profiling on samples of non-dysplastic BE from cancer-free patients (n=59), EAC (n=23), normal squamous oesophagus (n=33) and normal fundus (n=9), and identified methylation subtypes using a recursively partitioned mixture model. We assessed genomic alterations for 9 BE and 22 EAC samples with massively parallel sequencing of 243 EAC-associated genes, and we conducted integrative analyses with transcriptome data to identify epigenetically repressed genes. We also carried out in vitro experiments treating EAC cell lines with 5-Aza-2'-Deoxycytidine (5-Aza-dC), short hairpin RNA knockdown and anticancer therapies.

We identified and validated four methylation subtypes of EAC and BE. The high methylator subtype (HM) of EAC had the greatest number of activating events in <i>ERBB2</i> (p<0.05, Student's t-test) and the highest global mutation load (p<0.05, Fisher's exact test). <i>PTPN13</i> was silenced by aberrant methylation in the HM subtype preferentially and in 57% of EACs overall. In EAC cell lines, 5-Aza-dC treatment restored <i>PTPN13</i> expression and significantly decreased its promoter methylation in HM cell lines (p<0.05, Welch's t-test). Inhibition of <i>PTPN13</i> expression in the SK-GT-4 EAC cell line promoted proliferation, colony formation and migration, and increased phosphorylation in ERBB2/EGFR/Src kinase pathways. Finally, EAC cell lines showed subtype-specific responses to topotecan, SN-38 and palbociclib treatment.

We identified and characterised methylator subtypes in BE and EAC. We further demonstrated the biological and clinical relevance of EAC methylator subtypes, which may ultimately help guide clinical management of patients with EAC.

  • Ayers J
  • Bass A
  • Carter KT
  • Chak A
  • Chandar AK
  • Elliott R
  • Grady WM
  • Guo Y
  • Heinzerling TJ
  • Kaz AM
  • Maden SK
  • Markowitz SD
  • O'Leary RM
  • Stachler M
  • Willbanks A
  • Willis JE
  • Xu X
  • Yu M
PubMed ID
Appears In
Gut, 2019, 68 (3)