Utility of 5-Methylcytosine Immunohistochemical Staining to Assess Global DNA Methylation and Its Prognostic Impact in MDS Patients

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Department of Hematology, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, India.

2 Department of Hematology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.

3 Department of Pathology, JIPMER, Puducherry, India.

Abstract

 
Background: DNA methylation plays a vital role in the pathogenesis of the myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a heterogeneous group of clonal hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) disorders. It is reported to be an independent prognostic factor affecting overall survival (OS). Our aim was to analyze the role of global DNA methylation using an anti-5-methylcytosine (5-MC) antibody by immunohistochemistry (IHC) of bone marrow biopsy (BM Bx) specimens in MDS patients, assessing correlations with various clinical and biological prognostic factors. Material and methods: A total of 59 MDS cases, classified as per the World Health Organization (WHO) 2008 guidelines, were evaluated over a period of 4 years. Clinical data were retrieved from departmental case records and anti-5-MC expression was analyzed with formalin fixed paraffin embedded sections of BM Bx specimens of MDS patients and controls. Results: The median age at diagnosis was 52 years (15-85years). Patients were categorized into low risk (59%) and high risk (41%) according to International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS). The median follow-up time was 10 months (1 to 37 months). We generated a methylation score (M-score) using anti-5-MC and with the derived cut-off of 30.5 from the receiver operator curve (ROC), there was a significant difference between the two groups in the percentage of BM blasts (p=0.01), WHO sub-type (p=0.01), IPSS (p=0.004), progression to AML (p=0.04) on univariate analysis. Interestingly, patients showing a high M-score (M-score ≥ 30.5) demonstrated a significantly shorter OS and progression to AML. However, on multivariate analysis, only BM blasts (p=0.01) and IPSS (p=0.02) remained independent variables for progression to AML and OS respectively. Conclusion: Immunostaining with anti-5-MC antibody with BM Bx samples is a simple and cost effective technique to detect global methylation, a powerful tool to predict overall survival in patients with MDS.

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