The associations of DNA methylation alterations in oxidative stress-related genes with cancer incidence and mortality outcomes: A population-based cohort study

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Abstract

Background: Reactive oxygen species may be involved in epigenetic gene activation or silencing. We aimed to identify CpG sites, at which DNA methylation is related to urinary 8-isoprostane levels (biomarker of lipid peroxidation) and cancer or mortality outcomes. This investigation was based on a German, population-based cohort with linkage to cancer and mortality registry data (2000-2016). Results: Blood DNA methylation in promoter regions of 519 genes, known to be involved in pathways from oxidative stress (OS) to cancer, was obtained at the cohort's baseline examination. Inverse associations of DNA methylation at cg25365794 (ALOXE3) and cg08862778 (MTOR) with 8-isoprostane levels were observed in a derivation set (n = 1000) and validated in two independent subsets of the cohort (n = 548 and n = 741). Multivariate regression models were used to evaluate the associations of DNA methylation at the two CpG sites with lung, colorectal, prostate, breast, and overall cancer incidence as well as CVD, cancer, and all-cause mortality. DNA methylation at cg25365794 (ALOXE3) was inversely associated with lung and prostate cancer incidence. DNA methylation at cg08862778 (MTOR) was associated with a 43% lower breast cancer incidence in the top vs. bottom tertile. Conclusion: The finding for ALOXE3 may not be causal. As ALOXE3 is mainly expressed in skin tissue, the observed association might reflect the fact that both DNA methylation at the ALOXE3 gene and urinary 8-isoprostane concentrations depend on the level of OS in tissues. Contrarily, the finding for the MTOR gene and breast cancer is biologically plausible because the MTOR protein plays an important role in PI3K/Akt signaling, which is a pathway related to cancer development and cell senescence.

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Gào, X., Zhang, Y., Burwinkel, B., Xuan, Y., Holleczek, B., Brenner, H., & Schöttker, B. (2019). The associations of DNA methylation alterations in oxidative stress-related genes with cancer incidence and mortality outcomes: A population-based cohort study. Clinical Epigenetics, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13148-018-0604-y

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