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Biomolecules 2016, 6(4), 45;

The Emergence of Pan-Cancer CIMP and Its Elusive Interpretation

National Human Genome Research Institute, Rockville, MD 20852, USA
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10065, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Gerda Egger and Melanie R. Hassler
Received: 30 August 2016 / Revised: 8 November 2016 / Accepted: 11 November 2016 / Published: 22 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue DNA Methylation and Cancer)
Full-Text   |   PDF [1098 KB, uploaded 22 November 2016]   |  


Epigenetic dysregulation is recognized as a hallmark of cancer. In the last 16 years, a CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) has been documented in tumors originating from different tissues. However, a looming question in the field is whether or not CIMP is a pan-cancer phenomenon or a tissue-specific event. Here, we give a synopsis of the history of CIMP and describe the pattern of DNA methylation that defines the CIMP phenotype in different cancer types. We highlight new conceptual approaches of classifying tumors based on CIMP in a cancer type-agnostic way that reveal the presence of distinct CIMP tumors in a multitude of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) datasets, suggesting that this phenotype may transcend tissue-type specificity. Lastly, we show evidence supporting the clinical relevance of CIMP-positive tumors and suggest that a common CIMP etiology may define new mechanistic targets in cancer treatment. View Full-Text
Keywords: pan-cancer; CpG island methylator phenotype; DNA methylation pan-cancer; CpG island methylator phenotype; DNA methylation

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Miller, B.F.; Sánchez-Vega, F.; Elnitski, L. The Emergence of Pan-Cancer CIMP and Its Elusive Interpretation. Biomolecules 2016, 6, 45.

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