Detection of ovarian cancer using plasma cell-free DNA methylomes.

Lu Huaiwu et al.

BACKGROUND: Ovarian cancer (OC) is a highly lethal gynecologic cancer, and it is hard to diagnose at an early stage. Clinically, there are no ovarian cancer-specific markers for early detection. Here, we demonstrate the use of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) methylomes to detect ovarian cancer, especially the early-stage OC. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Plasma from 74 epithelial ovarian cancer patients, 86 healthy volunteers, and 20 patients with benign pelvic masses was collected. The cfDNA methylomes of these samples were generated by cell-free methylated DNA immunoprecipitation and high-throughput sequencing (cfMeDIP-seq). The differentially methylated regions (DMRs) were identified by the contrasts between tumor and non-tumor groups, and the discrimination performance was evaluated with the iterative training and testing method. RESULTS: The DMRs identified for cfDNA methylomes can well discriminate tumor groups and non-tumor groups (ROC values from 0.86 to 0.98). The late-stage top 300 DMRs are more late-stage-specific and failed to detect early-stage OC. However, the early-stage markers have the potential to discriminate all-stage OCs from non-tumor samples. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that cfDNA methylomes generated with cfMeDIP-seq could be used to identify OC-specific biomarkers for OC, especially early OC detection. To detect early-stage OC, the biomarkers should be directly identified from early OC plasma samples rather than mix-stage ones. Further exploration of DMRs from a k larger early-stage OC cohort is warranted.

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June, 2022


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