Research highlights : Nature Genetics : Nature Publishing Group: "Cancer epigenomics
Epigenetic alterations are known to be common in cancer, and comprehensive genomic maps of epigenomic alterations in cancer are eagerly anticipated. Now, Andrew Feber, Adrienne Flanagan, Stephan Beck and colleagues report a comparative DNA methylome analysis of peripheral nerve sheath tumors (Genome Res. published online, doi:10.1101/gr.109678.110, 1 February 2011). The authors used methylated DNA immunoprecipitation and next-generation sequencing to profile methylation in pools of genomic DNA from benign neurofibromas, malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) and normal Schwann cells. Global hypomethylation is thought to be a common feature of tumors, but the authors found no evidence of global hypomethylation in the MPNSTs. However, they observed general loss of methylation of satellite repeats. Interestingly, regions of differential methylation between MPNSTs and normal Schwann cells were preferentially located in CpG island shores and in promoters not associated with CpG islands, but not in CpG islands themselves. Finally, the authors integrated their methylation data with published expression profiles of neurofibromas and MPNSTs. These analyses showed that the expression of genes located near differentially methylated regions located in CpG island shores and in non-CpG island promoters could discriminate between neurofibromas and MPNSTs. EN
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