DNA methylation signature reveals cell ontogeny of renal cell carcinomas

Gabriel G. Malouf, Xiaoping Su, Jianping Zhang, Chad J. Creighton, Thai H. Ho, Yue Lu, Noël J.M. Raynal, Jose A. Karam, Pheroze Tamboli, Frederick Allanick, Roger Mouawad, Jean Philippe Spano, David Khayat, Christopher G. Wood, Jaroslav Jelinek, Nizar M. Tannir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Purpose: DNA methylation is a heritable covalent modification that is developmentally regulated and is critical in tissue-type definition. Although genotype-phenotype correlations have been described for different subtypes of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), it is unknown if DNA methylation profiles correlate with morphological or ontology based phenotypes. Here, we test the hypothesis that DNA methylation signatures can discriminate between putative precursor cells in the nephron. Experimental Designs: We performed deep profiling of DNA methylation and transcriptome in diverse histopathological RCC subtypes and validated DNA methylation in an independent dataset as well as in The Cancer Genome Atlas Clear Cell and Chromophobe Renal Cell Carcinoma Datasets. Results: Our data provide the first mapping of methylome epi-signature and indicate that RCC subtypes can be grouped into two major epi-clusters: C1, which encompasses clear-cell RCC, papillary RCC, mucinous and spindle cell carcinomas and translocation RCC; C2, which comprises oncocytoma and chromophobe RCC. Interestingly, C1 epi-cluster displayed 3-fold more hypermethylation as compared with C2 epi-cluster. Of note, differentially methylated regions between C1 and C2 epi-clusters occur in gene bodies and intergenic regions, instead of gene promoters. Transcriptome analysis of C1 epi-cluster suggests a functional convergence on Polycomb targets, whereas C2 epi-cluster displays DNA methylation defects. Furthermore, we find that our epigenetic ontogeny signature is associated with worse outcomes of patients with clear-cell RCC. Conclusions: Our data define the epi-clusters that can discriminate between distinct RCC subtypes and for the first time define the epigenetic basis for proximal versus distal tubule derived kidney tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6236-6246
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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