Epigenome-wide DNA methylation and transcriptome profiling of localized and locally advanced prostate cancer: Uncovering new molecular markers
Qian Liu 1 , Madison Reed 1 , Haiying Zhu 2 , Yan Cheng 3 , Joana Almeida 4 , Gema Fruhbeck 5 , Ricardo Ribeiro 6 , Pingzhao Hu 7
Background: It has become increasingly important to identify molecular markers for accurately diagnosing prostate cancer (PCa) stages between localized PCa (LPC) and locally advanced PCa (LAPC). However, there is a lack of profiling both epigenome-wide DNA methylation and transcriptome for the same patients with PCa at different stages. This study aims to identify epitranscriptomic biomarkers screened in the peri-prostatic (PP) adipose tissue for predicting LPC and LAPC.
Methods: We profiled gene expression and DNA methylation of 10 PCa patients' PP adipose tissue (4 LPC and 6 LAPC). Differential analysis was used to identify differentially methylated CpG sites and expressed genes. An integrative analysis of the microarray gene expression profiles and DNA methylation profiles was conducted using LASSO (least absolute shrinkage and selection operator) between each studied gene and the CpG sites in their promoter region. This epitranscriptomic signature was constructed by combining the association and differential analyses. The signature was then refined using the genetic mutation data of >1500 primary PCa and metastasis PCa samples from 4 different studies. We determined genes that were the most significantly affected by mutations. Machine learning models were built to evaluate the classification ability of the identified signature using the gene expression profiles from three external cohorts.
Results: From the LASSO-based association analysis, we identified 56 genes presenting significant anti-correlation between the expression level and the methylation level of at least one CpG site in the promoter region (p-value<5 × 10-8). From the differential analysis, we detected 16,405 downregulated genes and 9485 genes containing at least one hypermethylated CpG site. We identified 30 genes that showed anti-correlation, down-regulation and hyper-methylation simultaneously. Using genetic mutation data, we determined that 6 of the 30 genes showed significant differences (adjusted p-value<0.05) in mutation frequencies between the primary PCa and metastasis PCa samples. The identified 30 genes performed well in distinguishing PCa patients with metastasis from PCa patient without metastasis (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) = 0.81). The gene signature also performed well in distinguishing PCa patients with high risk of progression from PCa patients with low risk of progression (AUC = 0.88).
Conclusions: We established an integrative framework to identify differentially expressed genes with an aberrant methylation pattern on PP adipose tissue that may represent novel candidate molecular markers for distinguishing between LPC and LAPC.