Expression of BMP6 is Associated with its Methylation Status in Colorectal Cancer Tissue but Lacks Prognostic Significance


Background: The study aimed to evaluate the incidence of CpG island promoter methylation of BMP6, a member of the transforming growth factor beta family, in tissue samples from colorectal cancers (CRC) and look for its association with BMP6 expression and clinicopathological correlation. Materials and
Methods: Methylation specific PCR for the BMP6 promoter region was performed with 85 frozen tissue samples of CRC and 45 of normal colon. Methylation status of MLH1 was also determined by the same method. Expression of BMP6 was evaluated by immunohistochemistry (IHC), using Allred’s scoring system. The methylation status was analyzed against clinical and pathological parameters in CRC.
Results: The study revealed BMP6 hypermethylation in 34 of 85 tumor specimens (40%), and 15 out of 45 normal tissue samples from CRC (33%). The incidence ofhypermethylation was inversely correlated with IHC score. Allred’s scores of 7 or more were correlated with lower frequency of BMP6 hypermethylation (29% compared to 50% in the remaining, p-value 0.049). However, there was no association between hypermethylation status and any clinicopathological parameters. The methylation status of BMP6 was not correlated with that of MLH1, a key methylation determinant in CRC. On survival analysis, there was no significant difference in progress-free survival (PFS) between the cases with and without hypermethylation (2-year PFS 74% and 76%, respectively).
Conclusions: CpG island methylation of BMP6 is found in high frequency in CRC and this epigenetic event is associated with suppressed protein expression in the tumor tissue. However, the marker is not associated with tumor progression of the disease.