*Department of Internal Medicine, Cheju Halla General Hospital, Jeju, Korea.
†Department of Internal Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
‡Department of Pathology, The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
§Department of Pathology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Gastric epithelial dysplasia is considered a precancerous lesion with a variable clinical course. There is disagreement, however, regarding histology-based diagnoses, which has led to confusion in choosing a therapeutic plan. New objective markers are needed to determine which lesions progress to true malignancy. We measured LINE-1 methylation levels, which have been reported to strongly correlate with the global methylation level in gastric epithelial dysplasia and intramucosal cancer.
A total of 145 tissue samples were analyzed by two histopathologists. All tissues were excised by therapeutic endoscopic mucosal resection and paired with adjacent normal tissue samples. A modified long interspersed nucleotide elements-combined bisulfite restriction analysis (COBRA-LINE-1) method was used.
Gastric epithelial dysplasia and intramucosal cancer tissues had significantly lower levels of LINE-1 methylation than adjacent normal gastric tissues. High-grade dysplasia and intramucosal cancer were distinguishable from low-grade dysplasia based on LINE-1 methylation levels. Furthermore, the distinction could be determined with high sensitivity and specificity, as shown by the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC, 0.82; 95% confidence interval, 0.74 to 0.88).
LINE-1 methylation levels may provide a diagnostic tool for identifying high-grade dysplasia and intramucosal cancer.