Sunday, April 24, 2016
Folate status and aberrant DNA methylation are associated with HPV infection and cervical pathogenesis
Aberrant DNA methylation is a recognized feature of human cancers, and folate is directly involved in DNA methylation via one-carbon metabolism. Previous reports also suggest that folate status is associated with the natural history of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. A cross-sectional study was conducted to test the hypothesis that folate status and aberrant DNA methylation show a progressive change across stages of cervical pathology from normal cells to cervical cancer. Additionally, we postulated that a gene-specific hypermethylation profile might be used as a predictive biomarker of cervical cancer risk. DNA hypermethylation of seven tumor suppressor genes, global DNA hypomethylation, systemic folate status, and HPV status were measured in 308 women with a diagnosis of normal cervix (n = 58), low-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN1; n = 68), high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN2, n = 56; and CIN3, n = 76), or invasive cervical cancer (ICC; n = 50). Lower folate status was associated with high-risk HPV infection (P = 0.031) and with a diagnosis of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia or invasive cervical cancer (P < 0.05). Global DNA hypomethylation was greater in women with invasive cervical cancer than all other groups (P < 0.05). A cluster of three tumor suppressor genes, CDH1, DAPK, and HIC1, displayed a significantly increased frequency of promoter methylation with progressively more severe cervical neoplasia (P < 0.05). These findings are compatible with a role for folate in modulating the risk of cervical cancer, possibly through an influence over high-risk HPV infection. DAPK, CDH1, and HIC1 genes are potential biomarkers of cervical cancer risk.