Methylation Signature Implicated in Immuno-Suppressive Activities in Tubo-Ovarian High-Grade Serous Carcinoma

Australian Ovarian Cancer Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Better understanding of prognostic factors in tubo-ovarian high-grade serous carcinoma (HGSC) is critical, as diagnosis confers an aggressive disease course. Variation in tumor DNA methylation shows promise predicting outcome, yet prior studies were largely platform-specific and unable to evaluate multiple molecular features. METHODS: We analyzed genome-wide DNA methylation in 1,040 frozen HGSC, including 325 previously reported upon, seeking a multi-platform quantitative methylation signature that we evaluated in relation to clinical features, tumor characteristics, time to recurrence/death, extent of CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL), gene expression molecular subtypes, and gene expression of the ATP-binding cassette transporter TAP1. RESULTS: Methylation signature was associated with shorter time to recurrence, independent of clinical factors (N = 715 new set, hazard ratio (HR), 1.65; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.10-2.46; P = 0.015; N = 325 published set HR, 2.87; 95% CI, 2.17-3.81; P = 2.2 × 10-13) and remained prognostic after adjustment for gene expression molecular subtype and TAP1 expression (N = 599; HR, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.66-2.95; P = 4.1 × 10-8). Methylation signature was inversely related to CD8+ TIL levels (P = 2.4 × 10-7) and TAP1 expression (P = 0.0011) and was associated with gene expression molecular subtype (P = 5.9 × 10-4) in covariate-adjusted analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Multi-center analysis identified a novel quantitative tumor methylation signature of HGSC applicable to numerous commercially available platforms indicative of shorter time to recurrence/death, adjusting for other factors. Along with immune cell composition analysis, these results suggest a role for DNA methylation in the immunosuppressive microenvironment. IMPACT: This work aids in identification of targetable epigenome processes and stratification of patients for whom tailored treatment may be most beneficial.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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