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BACKGROUND: Ulcerative colitis associated colorectal cancer (UCACRC) has several distinctive clinicopathological and genetic features which differ from sporadic colorectal cancer (SCRC). Hypermethylation of the E-cadherin gene (CDH1) has not been described previously in colorectal cancer. AIMS: A panel of SCRC and UCACRC were investigated for mutations in CDH1, and for hypermethylation of the promoter region of CDH1. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: DNA was available from 14 patients with UCACRC and from 14 with SCRC. All exons of CDH1 were amplified with the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and screened using single strand conformational polymorphism and direct sequencing. Hypermethylation of the CDH1 promoter region was determined by methylation specific PCR following bisulphite modification, and compared with E-cadherin protein expression from a previous immunohistochemistry study. RESULTS: Thirteen of 28 cancers (46%) were hypermethylated in the CDH1 promoter region-eight cancers (57%) in the UCACRC group and five cancers (36%) in the SCRC group (NS)-and this correlated with reduced E-cadherin expression (p<0.05). There was a trend for methylation to be associated with a more advanced stage of cancer although this did not reach statistical significance. There were no mutations in CDH1 in either group although there were several polymorphisms. CONCLUSION: We have demonstrated hypermethylation of the promoter region in CDH1 in 46% of colorectal cancers studied. There was no difference between the UCACRC and SCRC groups. Just as there are specific differences in the genetic changes between UCACRC and SCRC, there is also likely to be a large degree of overlap among the genetic pathways of these cancers.


Journal article



Publication Date





367 - 371


Cadherins, Colitis, Ulcerative, Colorectal Neoplasms, DNA Methylation, Gene Expression, Humans, Middle Aged, Mutation, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Polymorphism, Single-Stranded Conformational, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Statistics, Nonparametric