MethCNA: A database for integrating genomic and epigenomic data in human cancer

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Background: The integration of DNA methylation and copy number alteration data promises to provide valuable insight into the underlying molecular mechanisms responsible for cancer initiation and progression. However, the generation and processing of these datasets are costly and time-consuming if carried out separately. The Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip, initially designed for the evaluation of DNA methylation levels, allows copy number variant calling using bioinformatics tools. Results: A substantial amount of Infinium HumanMethylation450 data across various cancer types has been accumulated in recent years and is a valuable resource for large-scale data analysis. Here we present MethCNA, a comprehensive database for genomic and epigenomic data integration in human cancer. In the current release, MethCNA contains about 10,000 tumor samples representing 37 cancer types. All raw array data were collected from The Cancer Genome Atlas and NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus database and analyzed using a pipeline that integrated multiple computational resources and tools. The normalized copy number aberration data and DNA methylation alterations were obtained. We provide a user-friendly web-interface for data mining and visualization. Conclusions: The Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip enables the interrogation and integration of both genomic and epigenomic data from exactly the same DNA specimen, and thus can aid in distinguishing driver from passenger mutations in cancer. We expect MethCNA will enable researchers to explore DNA methylation and copy number alteration patterns, identify key oncogenic drivers in cancer, and assist in the development of targeted therapies. MethCNA is publicly available online at




Deng, G., Yang, J., Zhang, Q., Xiao, Z. X., & Cai, H. (2018). MethCNA: A database for integrating genomic and epigenomic data in human cancer. BMC Genomics, 19(1).

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