Methylation of three genes allows detection of upper urothelial tumours

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Methylation of three genes allows detection of upper urothelial tumours

Segunda, 28.10.2013

Sara Monteiro-Reis (a,b), Luís Leça (c), Mafalda Almeida (a,b), Luís Antunes (d), Paula Monteiro (c), Paula C. Dias (c), António Morais (e), Jorge Oliveira (e), Rui Henrique (a,c,f,#), Carmen Jerónimo (a,b,f,#)

(a) Cancer Epigenetics Group, Research Center of the Portuguese Oncology Institute - Porto, Departments of (b) Genetics, (c) Pathology, (d) Epidemiology, and (e) Urology of Portuguese Oncology Institute - Porto, Rua Dr. António Bernardino de Almeida, 4200-072 Porto, Portugal; (f) Department of Pathology and Molecular Immunology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar (ICBAS), University of Porto, Rua de Jorge Viterbo Ferreira nº 228, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal

# Joint senior authors

Aim of the study: Upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC) accounts for 5–10% of all urothelial tumours. It is mostly diagnosed at advanced stages, entailing a worse prognosis, owing to the lack of early and specific symptoms as well as of effective diagnostic tools. We previously identified a panel of epigenetic biomarkers (GDF15, TMEFF2 and VIM promoter methylation) that accurately identifies bladder cancer in urine. Herein, we assessed the performance of the same panel for UTUC detection and prognosis, in tissue and urine. Material and methods: Methylation levels of reference and target genes were determined using real-time quantitative methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP) in bisulphite- modified DNA of 57 UTUC tissues, 36 normal upper tract urothelium (NUTUs), 22 urines from UTUC suspects and 20 urines from controls. Receiver operator characteristics (ROC)-curve analysis was performed to determine the performance of the biomarker panel and survival analyses were conducted to evaluate their prognostic value. Results: Methylation levels of GDF15, TMEFF2 and VIM were significantly higher in UTUC compared to NUTUs (P = 0.022; P < 0.001; P < 0.001, respectively). The panel accurately identified UTUC with 100% and 91% sensitivity, corresponding to an area under the curve of 1.000 and 0.923 in tissue and urines, respectively, with 100% specificity. Low VIM promoter methylation levels independently predicted poor disease-specific survival. Conclusions: GDF15, TMEFF2 and VIM promoter methylation allows for accurate identification of UTUC, in tissue and urine, and VIM methylation provides relevant prognostic information, especially in high-stage disease. This assay may improve the clinical management of UTUC patients.

European Journal of Cancer