Differential methylation landscape of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and its precancerous lesions

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Diseases International


Background: Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal diseases with an incidence almost equal to the mortality. In addition to having genetic causes, cancer can also be considered an epigenetic disease. DNA methylation is the premier epigenetic modification and patterns of aberrant DNA methylation are recognized to be a common hallmark of human tumor. In the multistage carcinogenesis of pancreas starting from precancerous lesions to pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the epigenetic changes play a significant role. Data sources: Relevant studies for this review were derived via an extensive literature search in PubMed via using various keywords such as pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, precancerous lesions, methylation profile, epigenetic biomarkers that are relevant directly or closely associated with the concerned area of our interest. The literature search was intensively done considering a time frame of 20 years (1998–2018). Result: In this review we have highlighted the hypermethylation and hypomethylation of the precancerous PDAC lesions (pancreatic intra-epithelial neoplasia, intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm, mucinous cystic neoplasm and chronic pancreatitis) and PDAC along with the potential biomarkers. We have also achieved the early epigenetic driver that leads to progression from precancerous lesions to PDAC. A bunch of epigenetic driver genes leads to progression of precancerous lesions to PDAC (ppENK, APC, p14/5/16/17, hMLH1 and MGMT) are also documented. We summarized the importance of these observations in therapeutics and diagnosis of PDAC hence identifying the potential use of epigenetic biomarkers in epigenetic targeted therapy. Epigenetic inactivation occurs by hypermethylation of CpG islands in the promoter regions of tumor suppressor genes. We listed all hyper- and hypomethylation of CpG islands of several genes in PDAC including its precancerous lesions. Conclusions: The concept of the review would help to understand their biological effects, and to determine whether they may be successfully combined with other epigenetic drugs. However, we need to continue our research to develop more specific DNA-demethylating agents, which are the targets for hypermethylated CpG methylation sites.

First Page


Last Page




Publication Date