Promoter methylation is a gene- and cancer type-specific epigenetic event that plays an important role in tumour development. As endometrioid (endometrioid endometrial carcinoma, EEC) and serous endometrial cancers (uterine papillary serous carcinoma, UPSC) exhibit different clinical, histological and molecular genetic characteristics, we hypothesized that these differences may be reflected in epigenetic phenomena as well. Identification of a panel of methylation biomarkers could be helpful in a correct histological classification of these two subtypes, which solely on the basis of morphology is not always easy. Methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification was used to assess the extent of promoter methylation of different tumour suppressor genes in EEC and UPSC. Methylation results were correlated with histology and survival. The median cumulative methylation index of all genes was significantly higher in EEC (124) than in UPSC (93) (P<0.001). Promoter methylation of CDH13 and MLH1 was more frequently present in EEC, while CDKN2B and TP73 were more frequently methylated in UPSC. Almost 90% of EEC and 70% of UPSC could be predicted by CDH13 and TP73. In EEC, methylation of MLH1 was associated with a shorter disease-free survival (DFS; P<0.0001) and overall survival (OS; P=0.005). In a multivariate model, MLH1 methylation emerged as an additional prognostic factor to stage for DFS (P=0.002). In conclusion, promoter methylation is more common in EEC than UPSC. A panel of methylation biomarkers could be useful to distinguish between the two histological subtypes of endometrial cancer. Furthermore, methylation of MLH1 may have prognostic value in EEC.
Laura M S Seeber, Ronald P Zweemer, Luigi Marchionni, Leon F A G Massuger, Vincent T H B M Smit, W Marchien van Baal, René H M Verheijen and Paul J van Diest
Cathy B Moelans, Joep de Ligt, Petra van der Groep, Pjotr Prins, Nicolle J M Besselink, Marlous Hoogstraat, Natalie D ter Hoeve, Miangela M Lacle, Robert Kornegoor, Carmen C van der Pol, Wendy W J de Leng, Ellis Barbé, Bert van der Vegt, John Martens, Peter Bult, Vincent T H B M Smit, Marco J Koudijs, Isaac J Nijman, Emile E Voest, Pier Selenica, Britta Weigelt, Jorge S Reis-Filho, Elsken van der Wall, Edwin Cuppen and Paul J van Diest
Male breast cancer (MBC) is extremely rare and accounts for less than 1% of all breast malignancies. Therefore, clinical management of MBC is currently guided by research on the disease in females. In this study, DNA obtained from 45 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) MBCs with and 90 MBCs (52 FFPE and 38 fresh-frozen) without matched normal tissues was subjected to massively parallel sequencing targeting all exons of 1943 cancer-related genes. The landscape of mutations and copy number alterations was compared to that of publicly available estrogen receptor (ER)-positive female breast cancers (smFBCs) and correlated to prognosis. From the 135 MBCs, 90% showed ductal histology, 96% were ER-positive, 66% were progesterone receptor (PR)-positive, and 2% HER2-positive, resulting in 50, 46 and 4% luminal A-like, luminal B-like and basal-like cases, respectively. Five patients had Klinefelter syndrome (4%) and 11% of patients harbored pathogenic BRCA2 germline mutations. The genomic landscape of MBC to some extent recapitulated that of smFBC, with recurrent PIK3CA (36%) and GATA3 (15%) somatic mutations, and with 40% of the most frequently amplified genes overlapping between both sexes. TP53 (3%) somatic mutations were significantly less frequent in MBC compared to smFBC, whereas somatic mutations in genes regulating chromatin function and homologous recombination deficiency-related signatures were more prevalent. MDM2 amplifications were frequent (13%), correlated with protein overexpression (P = 0.001) and predicted poor outcome (P = 0.007). In conclusion, despite similarities in the genomic landscape between MBC and smFBC, MBC is a molecularly unique and heterogeneous disease requiring its own clinical trials and treatment guidelines.