Purpose: Anal intraepithelial neoplasia is associated with human papillomavirus infection and may progress to invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which is increasing in immunocompromised patients. We hypothesize that anal intraepithelial neoplasia is associated with abnormal DNA methylation and that detection of these events may be used to improve screening programs. Experimental Design: Seventy-six patients were identified who underwent anal cytology screening and subsequent biopsy at our institution between 1999 and 2004. The specimens from these patients included 184 anal biopsies [normal, n = 57; low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL), n = 74; high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL), n = 41; and invasive SCC, n = 12] and 37 residual liquid-based anal cytology specimens (normal, n = 11; LSIL, n = 12; HSIL, n = 14). The methylation status of the following genes was determined for each biopsy and cytology sample using real-time methylation-specific PCR: HIC1, RASSF1, RARB, CDKN2A, p14, TP73, APC, MLH1, MGMT, DAPK1, and IGSF4. Results: Methylation-specific PCR analysis of biopsy samples revealed that DNA methylation was more common in SCC and HSIL than LSIL and normal mucosa. Specifically, methylation of IGSF4 and DAPK1 was prevalent in SCC (75% and 75% of cases, respectively) and HSIL (59% and 71%, respectively) but was absent in LSIL and normal biopsy samples. Methylation profiles of cytologic samples were similar to those found in the biopsy samples. Conclusions: Aberrant DNA methylation is a frequent event in anal HSIL and SCC. Methylation of IGSF4 and DAPK1 is specific for HSIL and SCC, and may serve as a useful molecular biomarker.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research