RUNX3 Inactivation in Colorectal Polyps Arising Through Different Pathways of Colonic Carcinogenesis

M.M. Subramaniam, J.Y. Chan, R. Soong, K. Ito, K.G. Yeoh, R.B. Wong, T. Guenther, O. Will, C.L. Chen, M.P. Kumarasinghe, Y. Ito, Manuel Salto-Tellez

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38 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: We hypothesized that RUNX3 inactivation by promoter hypermethylation in colorectal polyps is an early molecular event in colorectal carcinogenesis.
METHODS: RUNX3 protein expression was analyzed immunohistochemically in 50 sporadic colorectal polyps comprising 19 hyperplastic polyps (HPs), 14 traditional serrated adenomas (TSAs), and 17 sporadic traditional adenomas (sTAs) as well as in 19 familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) samples from 10 patients showing aberrant crypt foci (ACF) (n=91), small adenomas (SmAds) (n=40), and large adenomas (LAds) (n=13). In addition, we assessed the frequency of promoter hypermethylation of RUNX3 by methylation-specific PCR (MSP) in all the 50 sporadic polyps as well as 38 microdissected FAP polyps comprising ACF, SmAds, and LAds obtained from 7 FAP samples. A total of 12 normal colon samples were also included for RUNX3 MSP analysis.
RESULTS: Compared to normal colon (2 of 12, 16%) and sTAs (3 of 17, 18%), HPs (15 of 19, 79%) and TSAs (8 of 14, 57%) displayed significant inactivation of RUNX3 (P<0.05). In FAP, RUNX3 inactivation was more frequently seen in ACF (78 of 91, 86%), SmAds (25 of 40, 62%), and LAds (6 of 13, 46%) compared to normal mucosa (0 of 19, 0%) in the same samples (all P<0.05). Promoter hypermethylation of RUNX3 was significantly higher in colorectal polyps (64 of 87, 74%) compared to normal colon (2 of 12, 16%) (P=0.001). Serrated polyps such as HPs (17 of 19, 89%) and TSAs (12 of 14, 86%) were significantly more methylated than sTAs (7 of 17, 44%) (P=0.004). RUNX3 hypermethylation was observed in 28 of the total 38 (74%) FAP polyps. Overall, RUNX3 promoter methylation correlated with inactivation of RUNX3 expression in sporadic (27 of 36, 75%) (P=0.022) and FAP (21 of 28, 75%) (P=0.021) polyps.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that RUNX3 inactivation due to promoter hypermethylation in colorectal polyps represents an early event in colorectal cancer (CRC) progression. In addition, epigenetic RUNX3 inactivation is a frequent event in the serrated colonic polyps as well as in the ACF of FAP polyps.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-436
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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