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Publication numberUS20050158731 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/842,072
Publication dateJul 21, 2005
Filing dateMay 10, 2004
Priority dateJan 31, 2001
Also published asCA2435770A1, EP1373567A2, EP1373567A4, US6893820, US20070259364, WO2002060318A2, WO2002060318A3
Publication number10842072, 842072, US 2005/0158731 A1, US 2005/158731 A1, US 20050158731 A1, US 20050158731A1, US 2005158731 A1, US 2005158731A1, US-A1-20050158731, US-A1-2005158731, US2005/0158731A1, US2005/158731A1, US20050158731 A1, US20050158731A1, US2005158731 A1, US2005158731A1
InventorsChristoph Plass
Original AssigneeThe Ohio State University Research Foundation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Detection of methylated CpG rich sequences diagnostic for malignant cells
US 20050158731 A1
Abstract
The present invention provides methods for determining the methylation status of CpG-containing dinucleotides on a genome-wide scale using infrequent cleaving, methylation sensitive restriction endonucleases and two-dimensional gel electrophoretic display of the resulting DNA fragments. Such methods can be used to diagnose cancer, classify tumors and provide prognoses for cancer patients. The present invention also provides isolated polynucleotides and oligonucleotides comprising CpG dinucleotides that are differentially methylated in malignant cells as compared to normal, non-malignant cells. Such polynucleotides and oligonucleotides are useful for diagnosis of cancer. The present invention also provides methods for identifying new DNA clones within a library that contain specific CpG dinucleotides that are differentially methylated in cancer cells as compared to normal cells.
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Claims(37)
1-3. (canceled)
4. A method of preparing a polynucleotide or oligonucleotide for characterizing tissue obtained from a subject suspected of having cancer, comprising: synthesizing a polynucleotide or oligonucleotide which comprises a sequence which is identical to or substantially complementary to a target sequence on one of the strands of a diagnostic control fragment identified according to the method comprising:
a) digesting genomic DNA obtained from the malignant cells with an infrequently-cutting, methylation-sensitive, restriction enzyme to provide a set of malignant cell restriction fragments;
b) digesting genomic DNA obtained from non-malignant, control cells with an infrequently-cutting, methylation-sensitive, restriction enzyme to provide a set of control cell restriction fragments:
c) attaching a detectable label to the ends of the malignant cell restriction fragments and the control restriction fragments;
d) digesting the labeled malignant cell and control cell restriction fragments with a second restriction enzyme;
e) separating the labeled malignant cell restriction fragments and the labeled control cell restriction fragments, wherein the malignant cell restriction fragments and the control cell restriction fragments are separated by electrophoresis on two different gels;
f) digesting the restriction fragments in each of said gels with a third restriction enzyme;
g) electrophoresing the restriction fragments in each of said gels in a direction perpendicular to the first direction to provide a first pattern of detectable malignant cell restriction fragments and a second pattern of detectable control cell restriction fragments;
h) comparing the first pattern to the second pattern to identify diagnostic control cell restriction fragments in said second pattern which are absent or exhibit a decreased intensity in the first pattern, wherein said diagnostic control cell restriction fragments comprise a CpG island that is unmethylated in the DNA of the control cells and methylated in the DNA of the malignant cells; and
(i) determining the sequence of at least a portion of a diagnostic control cell restriction fragment, wherein said portion is located at or near an end of the fragment,
wherein the tumor or neoplasm is selected from the group: breast, colon, glioma, non-squamous cell head and neck, lung, and non-medulloblastoma primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET) and testicle, and
wherein said target sequence comprises at least two CpG dinucleotides, wherein said oligonucleotide is from 15 to 34 nucleotides in length, and wherein said polynucleotide is from 35 to 2000 nucleotides in length.
5. The method of claim 4 wherein said target sequence is located at or near the control restriction fragment end which was cleaved by the methylation-sensitive, restriction enzyme.
6. The method of claim 4 wherein the target sequence is located from about 100 nucleotides to about 500 nucleotides downstream of the control restriction fragment end that was cleaved by the methylation-sensitive, restriction enzyme.
7. The method of claim 4 wherein the control restriction fragment comprises a sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ. ID. NO.:1, SEQ. ID. NO.:2, SEQ. ID. NO.:3, SEQ. ID. NO.:4, SEQ. ID. NO.:5, SEQ. ID. NO.:6, SEQ. ID. NO.:7, SEQ. ID. NO.:8, SEQ. ID. NO.:9, SEQ. ID. NO.:10, SEQ. ID. NO:11, SEQ. ID. NO.: 12, SEQ. ID. NO.:13, SEQ. ID. NO.: 14, SEQ. ID. NO.: 15, SEQ. ID. NO.: 16, SEQ. ID. NO.:17, SEQ. ID. NO.: 18, SEQ. ID. NO.: 19, SEQ. ID. NO.:20, SEQ. ID. NO.:21, SEQ. ID. NO.:22, SEQ. ID. NO.:23, SEQ. ID. NO.:24, SEQ. ID. NO.:25, SEQ. ID. NO.:26, SEQ. ID. NO.:27, SEQ. ID. NO.:28, SEQ. ID. NO.:29, SEQ. ID. NO.:30, SEQ. ID. NO.:31, SEQ. ID. NO.:32, SEQ. ID. NO.:33, SEQ. ID. NO.:34, SEQ. ID. NO.:35, SEQ. ID. NO.:36, SEQ. ID. NO.:37, SEQ. ID. NO.:38, SEQ. ID. NO.:39, SEQ. ID. NO.:40, SEQ. ID. NO.:41, SEQ. ID. NO.:42, SEQ. ID. NO.:43, SEQ. ID. NO.:44, SEQ. ID. NO.:45, SEQ. ID. NO.:46, SEQ. ID. NO.:47, SEQ. ID. NO.:48, SEQ. ID. NO.:49, SEQ. ID. NO.:50, SEQ. ID. NO.:51, SEQ. ID. NO.:52, SEQ. ID. NO.:53, SEQ. ID. NO.:54, SEQ. ID. NO.:55, SEQ. ID. NO.:56, SEQ. ID. NO.:57, SEQ. ID. NO.:58, SEQ. ID. NO.:59, SEQ. ID. NO.:60, SEQ. ID. NO.:61, SEQ. ID. NO.:62, SEQ. ID. NO.:63, SEQ. ID. NO.:64, SEQ. ID. NO.:65, SEQ. ID. NO.:66, SEQ. ID. NO.:67, SEQ. ID. NO.:68, SEQ. ID. NO.:69, SEQ. ID. NO.:70, SEQ. ID. NO.:71, SEQ. ID. NO.:72, SEQ. ID. NO.:73, SEQ. ID. NO.:74, SEQ. ID. NO.:75, SEQ. ID. NO.:76, SEQ. ID. NO.:77, SEQ. ID. NO.:78, SEQ. ID. NO.:79, SEQ. ID. NO.:80, SEQ. ID. NO.:81, SEQ. ID. NO.:82, SEQ ID NO: 83, SEQ ID NO. 84, SEQ ID. NO. 85, SEQ. ID. NO. 86, SEQ. ID. NO. 87, SEQ. ID. NO. 88, SEQ. ID. NO. 89, SEQ. ID. NO. 90, SEQ. ID. NO. 91, SEQ ID. NO. 92, and SEQ. ID. NO. 93.
8. An isolated polynucleotide or oligonucleotide for characterizing cells that are obtained from a subject suspected of having a cancer which is associated with methylation of one or a plurality of CpG islands in the genomic DNA of malignant cells, wherein said polynucleotide or oligonucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to or complementary to a target sequence on one of the strands of a diagnostic control fragment identified according to the method comprising:
a) digesting genomic DNA obtained from the malignant cells with an infrequently-cutting, methylation-sensitive, restriction enzyme to provide a set of malignant cell restriction fragments:
b) digesting genomic DNA obtained from non-malignant, control cells with an infrequently-cutting, methylation-sensitive, restriction enzyme to provide a set of control cell restriction fragments:
c) attaching a detectable label to the ends of the malignant cell restriction fragments and the control restriction fragments:
d) digesting the labeled malignant cell and control cell restriction fragments with a second restriction enzyme:
e) separating the labeled malignant cell restriction fragments and the labeled control cell restriction fragments, wherein the malignant cell restriction fragments and the control cell restriction fragments are separated by electrophoresis on two different gels:
f) digesting the restriction fragments in each of said gels with a third restriction enzyme:
g) electrophoresing the restriction fragments in each of said gels in a direction perpendicular to the first direction to provide a first pattern of detectable malignant cell restriction fragments and a second pattern of detectable control cell restriction fragments:
h) comparing the first pattern to the second pattern to identify diagnostic control cell restriction fragments in said second pattern which are absent or exhibit a decreased intensity in the first pattern, wherein said diagnostic control cell restriction fragments comprise a CpG island that is unmethylated in the DNA of the control cells and methylated in the DNA of the malignant cells; and
(i) determining the sequence of at least a portion of a diagnostic control cell restriction fragment, wherein said portion is located at or near an end of the fragment,
wherein the tumor or neoplasm is selected from the group: breast, colon, glioma, non-squamous cell head and neck, lung, and non-medulloblastoma primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET) and testicle, and
wherein said target sequence comprises at least two CpG dinucleotides, wherein said oligonucleotide is from 15 to 34 nucleotides in length; and wherein said polynucleotide is from 35 to 3000 nucleotides in length.
9. The isolated polynucleotide or oligonucleotide of claim 8 wherein said target sequence is located at or near the control restriction fragment end which was cleaved by the methylation sensitive restriction enzyme.
10. The isolated polynucleotide or oligonucleotide of claim 8 wherein the target sequence is located from about 100 nucleotides to about 500 nucleotides downstream of the control restriction fragment end that was cleaved by the methylation-sensitive, restriction enzyme.
11. An isolated polynucleotide or oligonucleotide for characterizing cells which are obtained from a subject suspected of having a cancer which is associated with methylation of one or a plurality of CpG islands in the genomic DNA of malignant cells, wherein said polynucleotide or oligonucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to or complementary to a modified target sequence on one of the strands of a diagnostic control fragment identified according to the method comprising:
a) digesting genomic DNA obtained from the malignant cells with an infrequently-cutting, methylation-sensitive, restriction enzyme to provide a set of malignant cell restriction fragments;
b) digesting genomic DNA obtained from non-malignant, control cells with an infrequently-cutting, methylation-sensitive, restriction enzyme to provide a set of control cell restriction fragments;
c) attaching a detectable label to the ends of the malignant cell restriction fragments and the control restriction fragments;
d) digesting the labeled malignant cell and control cell restriction fragments with a second restriction enzyme;
e) separating the labeled malignant cell restriction fragments and the labeled control cell restriction fragments, wherein the malignant cell restriction fragments and the control cell restriction fragments are separated by electrophoresis on two different gels;
f) digesting the restriction fragments in each of said gels with a third restriction enzyme;
g) electrophoresing the restriction fragments in each of said gels in a direction perpendicular to the first direction to provide a first pattern of detectable malignant cell restriction fragments and a second pattern of detectable control cell restriction fragments,
h) comparing the first pattern to the second pattern to identify diagnostic control cell restriction fragments in said second pattern which are absent or exhibit a decreased intensity in the first pattern, wherein said diagnostic control cell restriction fragments comprise a CpG island that is unmethylated in the DNA of the control cells and methylated in the DNA of the malignant cells; and
(i) determining the sequence of at least a portion of a diagnostic control cell restriction fragment, wherein said portion is located at or near an end of the fragment,
wherein the tumor or neoplasm is selected from the group: breast, colon, glioma, non-squamous cell head and neck, lung, and non-medulloblastoma primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET) and testicle, and
wherein said modified target sequence is derived from a target sequence that has been modified by treatment with sodium bisulfite, wherein said modified target sequence lacks cytosines and comprises at least two UpG dinucleotides, wherein said oligonucleotide is from 15 to 34 nucleotides in length; and wherein said polynucleotide is from 35 to 3000 nucleotides in length.
12. The isolated polynucleotide or oligonucleotide of claim 11 wherein the modified target sequence is derived from a target sequence located at or near the control restriction fragment end that was cleaved by the methylation sensitive restriction enzyme.
13. The isolated polynucleotide or oligonucleotide of claim 11 wherein the modifed target sequence is derived from a target sequence that is located from about 100 nucleotides to about 500 nucleotides downstream of the control restriction fragment end that was cleaved by the methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme.
14. An isolated polynucleotide for characterizing cells which are obtained from a subject suspected of having a cancer selected from the group consisting of glioma, acute myeloid leukemia, primitive neuroectodermal tumors of childhood, breast cancer, colon cancer, head and neck cancer, testiclular cancer and lung cancer; wherein said polynucleotide is from 35 to 3000 nucleotides in length and comprises at least two CpG dinucleotides, and wherein said polynucleotide comprise a sequence which is identical to or complementary to a target sequence located within a sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ. ID. NO.:1, SEQ. ID. NO.:2, SEQ. ID. NO.:3, SEQ. ID. NO.:4, SEQ. ID. NO.:5, SEQ. ID. NO.:6, SEQ. ID. NO.:7, SEQ. ID. NO.:8, SEQ. ID. NO.:9, SEQ. ID. NO.:10, SEQ. ID. NO:11, SEQ. ID. NO.: 12, SEQ. ID. NO.: 13, SEQ. ID. NO.: 14, SEQ. ID. NO.: 15, SEQ. ID. NO.: 16, SEQ. ID. NO.: 17, SEQ. ID. NO.:18, SEQ. ID. NO.: 19, SEQ. ID. NO.:20, SEQ. ID. NO.:21, SEQ. ID. NO.:22, SEQ. ID. NO.:23, SEQ. ID. NO.:24, SEQ. ID. NO.:25, SEQ. ID. NO.:26, SEQ. ID. NO.:27, SEQ. ID. NO.:28, SEQ. ID. NO.:29, SEQ. ID. NO.:30, SEQ. ID. NO.:31, SEQ. ID. NO.:32, SEQ. ID. NO.:33, SEQ. ID. NO.:34, SEQ. ID. NO.:35, SEQ. ID. NO.:36, SEQ. ID. NO.:37, SEQ. ID. NO.:38, SEQ. ID. NO.:39, SEQ. ID. NO.:40, SEQ. ID. NO.:41, SEQ. ID. NO.:42, SEQ. ID. NO.:43, SEQ. ID. NO.:44, SEQ. ID. NO.:45, SEQ. ID. NO.:46, SEQ. ID. NO.:47, SEQ. ID. NO.:48, SEQ. ID. NO.:49, SEQ. ID. NO.:50, SEQ. ID. NO.:51, SEQ. ID. NO.:52, SEQ. ID. NO.:53, SEQ. ID. NO.:54, SEQ. ID. NO.:55, SEQ. ID. NO.:56, SEQ. ID. NO.:57, SEQ. ID. NO.:58, SEQ. ID. NO.:59, SEQ. ID. NO.:60, SEQ. ID. NO.:61, SEQ. ID. NO.:62, SEQ. ID. NO.:63, SEQ. ID. NO.:64, SEQ. ID. NO.:65, SEQ. ID. NO.:66, SEQ. ID. NO.:67, SEQ. ID. NO.:68, SEQ. ID. NO.:69, SEQ. ID. NO.:70, SEQ. ID. NO.:71, SEQ. ID. NO.:72, SEQ. ID. NO.:73, SEQ. ID. NO.:74, SEQ. ID. NO.:75, SEQ. ID. NO.:76, SEQ. ID. NO.:77, SEQ. ID. NO.:78, SEQ. ID. NO.:79, SEQ. ID. NO.:80, SEQ. ID. NO.:81, SEQ. ID. NO.:82, SEQ ID NO: 83, SEQ ID NO. 84, SEQ ID. NO. 85, SEQ. ID. NO. 86, SEQ. ID. NO. 87, SEQ. ID. NO. 88, SEQ. ID. NO. 89, SEQ. ID. NO. 90, SEQ. ID. NO. 91, SEQ ID. NO. 92, and SEQ. ID. NO. 93.
15. The isolated polynucleotide of claim 14 wherein said subject is suspected of having glioma and said polynucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to or complementary to a target sequence located within SEQ. ID. NO. 78, SEQ ID NO:71, SEQ ID NO:75, SEQ ID NO:18, SEQ ID NO:4, SEQ ID NO:22, SEQ ID NO:82, SEQ ID NO:27, SEQ ID NO:38, SEQ ID NO:47, SEQ ID NO:49, SEQ ID NO:59, SEQ ID NO:36, SEQ ID NO:46, SEQ ID NO:2, SEQ ID NO:7, SEQ ID NO:20, SEQ ID NO:30, SEQ ID NO:45, SEQ ID NO:72, SEQ ID NO:70, SEQ ID NO:26, SEQ ID NO:54, or SEQ ID NO:69.
16. The isolated polynucleotide of claim 14 wherein said subject is suspected of having acute myeloid leukemia and said polynucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to or complementary to a target sequence located within SEQ ID NO:10, SEQ ID NO:44, SEQ ID NO:48, SEQ ID NO:58, SEQ ID NO:73, SEQ ID NO:3, SEQ ID NO:5, SEQ ID NO:9, SEQ ID NO:14, SEQ ID NO:24, SEQ ID NO:33, SEQ ID NO:56, SEQ ID NO:68, SEQ ID NO:76, SEQ ID NO:17, SEQ ID NO:52, SEQ ID NO:57, SEQ ID NO:26, SEQ ID NO:38, SEQ ID NO:47, SEQ ID NO:49, SEQ ID NO:59, SEQ ID NO:36, SEQ ID NO:46, SEQ ID NO:38, SEQ ID NO:47, SEQ ID NO:49, SEQ ID NO:59, SEQ ID NO:36, SEQ ID NO:46, SEQ ID NO:2, SEQ ID NO:7, SEQ ID NO:20, SEQ ID NO:30, SEQ ID NO:45, SEQ ID NO:72, SEQ ID NO:16, SEQ ID NO:55, SEQ ID NO:61, SEQ ID NO:63, or SEQ ID NO:70.
17. The isolated polynucleotide of claim 14 wherein said subject is suspected of having a primitive neuroectodermal tumor of childhood and said polynucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to or complementary to a target sequence located within SEQ ID NO:39, SEQ ID NO:42, SEQ ID NO:50, SEQ ID NO:9, SEQ ID NO:14, SEQ ID NO:24, SEQ ID NO:37, SEQ ID NO:4, SEQ ID NO:36, SEQ ID NO:46, SEQ ID NO:72, SEQ ID NO:26, SEQ ID NO:15, SEQ ID NO:19, or SEQ ID NO:61.
18. The isolated polynucleotide of claim 14 wherein said subject is suspected of having breast cancer and said polynucleotide comprises a sequence identical or complementary to a target sequence which is located within SEQ ID NO:21, SEQ ID NO:28, SEQ ID NO:41, SEQ ID NO:80, SEQ ID NO:37, SEQ ID NO:63, SEQ ID NO:71, SEQ ID NO:75, SEQ ID NO:18, SEQ ID NO:4, SEQ ID NO:22, SEQ ID NO:82, SEQ ID NO:12, SEQ ID NO:23, SEQ ID NO:31, SEQ ID NO:34, SEQ ID NO:43, SEQ ID NO:60, SEQ ID NO:64, SEQ ID NO:65, SEQ ID NO:67, SEQ ID NO:77.
19. The isolated polynucleotide of claim 14 wherein said subject is suspected of having colon cancer and said polynucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to or complementary to a target sequence located within SEQ ID NO:11, SEQ ID NO:40, SEQ ID NO:74, SEQ ID NO:81, SEQ ID NO:53, SEQ ID NO:62, SEQ ID NO:76, SEQ ID NO:17, SEQ ID NO:52, SEQ ID NO:57, SEQ ID NO:37, SEQ ID NO:75, SEQ ID NO:18, SEQ ID NO:4, SEQ ID NO:27, SEQ ID NO:38, SEQ ID NO:47, SEQ ID NO:49, SEQ ID NO:59, SEQ ID NO:36, or SEQ ID NO:46.
20. The isolated polynucleotide of claim 14 wherein said subject is suspected of head and neck cancer and said polynucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to or complementary to a target sequence located within in SEQ ID NO:1, SEQ ID NO. 79, SEQ ID NO:3, SEQ ID NO:5, SEQ ID NO:50, SEQ ID NO:51, SEQ ID NO:53, SEQ ID NO:62, SEQ ID NO:76, SEQ ID NO:8, or SEQ ID NO:13.
21. The isolated polynucleotide of claim 14 wherein said subject is suspected of testiclular cancer and said polynucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to or complementary to a target sequence located within in SEQ ID NO. 29, SEQ ID NO:33, SEQ ID NO:56, SEQ ID NO:68, SEQ ID NO:51, SEQ ID NO:57, SEQ ID NO:70, SEQ ID NO:54, or SEQ ID NO:69
22. The isolated polynucleotide of claim 14 wherein said subject is suspected of having a lung cancer and said polynucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to or complementary to a target sequence located within SEQ ID NO: 83, SEQ ID NO. 84, SEQ ID. NO. 85, SEQ. ID. NO. 86, SEQ. ID NO. 87, SEQ. ID. NO. 88, SEQ. ID. NO. 89, SEQ. ID. NO. 90, SEQ. ID NO. 91, SEQ ID. NO. 92, and SEQ. ID. NO. 93.
23. An isolated CpG diagnostic oligonucleotide for characterizing cells which are obtained from a subject suspected of having a cancer selected from the group consisting of glioma, acute myeloid leukemia, primitive neuroectodermal tumors of childhood, breast cancer, colon cancer, head and neck cancer, testiclular cancer and lung cancer; wherein said olignoucleotide is from 15 to 34 nucleotides in length and comprises at least two CpG dinucleotides, and wherein said oligonucleotide comprise a sequence which is identical to a target sequence located within a region extending from nucleotide 1 through nucleotide 99 of a sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ. ID. NO.:1, SEQ. ID. NO.:2, SEQ. ID. NO.:3, SEQ. ID. NO.:4, SEQ. ID. NO.:5, SEQ. ID. NO.:6, SEQ. ID. NO.:7, SEQ. ID. NO.:8, SEQ. ID. NO. 9, SEQ. ID. NO.:10, SEQ. ID. NO:11, SEQ. ID. NO.: 12, SEQ. ID. NO.:13, SEQ. ID. NO.: 14, SEQ. ID. NO.: 15, SEQ. ID. NO.: 16, SEQ. ID. NO.:17, SEQ. ID. NO.: 18, SEQ. ID. NO.: 19, SEQ. ID. NO.:20, SEQ. ID. NO.:21, SEQ. ID. NO.:22, SEQ. ID. NO.:23, SEQ. ID. NO.:24, SEQ. ID. NO.:25, SEQ. ID. NO.:26, SEQ. ID. NO.:27, SEQ. ID. NO.:28, SEQ. ID. NO.:29, SEQ. ID. NO.:30, SEQ. ID. NO.:31, SEQ. ID. NO.:32, SEQ. ID. NO.:33, SEQ. ID. NO.:34, SEQ. ID. NO.:35, SEQ. ID. NO.:36, SEQ. ID. NO.:37, SEQ. ID. NO.:38, SEQ. ID. NO.:39, SEQ. ID. NO.:40, SEQ. ID. NO.:41, SEQ. ID. NO.:42, SEQ. ID. NO.:43, SEQ. ID. NO.:44, SEQ. ID. NO.:45, SEQ. ID. NO.:46, SEQ. ID. NO.:47, SEQ. ID. NO.:48, SEQ. ID. NO.:49, SEQ. ID. NO.:50, SEQ. ID. NO.:51, SEQ. ID. NO.:52, SEQ. ID. NO.:53, SEQ. ID. NO.:54, SEQ. ID. NO.:55, SEQ. ID. NO.:56, SEQ. ID. NO.:57, SEQ. ID. NO.:58, SEQ. ID. NO.:59, SEQ. ID. NO.:60, SEQ. ID. NO.:61, SEQ. ID. NO.:62, SEQ. ID. NO.:63, SEQ. ID. NO.:64, SEQ. ID. NO.:65, SEQ. ID. NO.:66, SEQ. ID. NO.:67, SEQ. ID. NO.:68, SEQ. ID. NO.:69, SEQ. ID. NO.:70, SEQ. ID. NO.:71, SEQ. ID. NO.:72, SEQ. ID. NO.:73, SEQ. ID. NO.:74, SEQ. ID. NO.:75, SEQ. ID. NO.:76, SEQ. ID. NO.:77, SEQ. ID. NO.:78, SEQ. ID. NO.:79, SEQ. ID. NO.:80, SEQ. ID. NO.:81, SEQ. ID. NO.:82; SEQ ID NO: 83, SEQ ID NO. 84, SEQ ID. NO. 85, SEQ. ID. NO. 86, SEQ. ID. NO. 87, SEQ. ID. NO. 88, SEQ. ID. NO. 89, SEQ. ID. NO. 90, SEQ. ID. NO. 91, SEQ ID. NO. 92, and SEQ. ID. NO. 93; or a sequence which is the reverse complement of a target sequence located in a region extending from about nucleotide 100 through nucleotide 500 in said SEQ ID NO.
24. The isolated oligonucleotide of claim 23 wherein said subject is suspected of having glioma and said oligonucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to a target sequence located within a region extending from nucleotide 1 through nucleotide 99 in SEQ ID 78, SEQ ID NO:71, SEQ ID NO:75, SEQ ID NO:18, SEQ ID NO:4, SEQ ID NO:22, SEQ ID NO:82, SEQ ID NO:27, SEQ ID NO:38, SEQ ID NO:47, SEQ ID NO:49, SEQ ID NO:59, SEQ ID NO:36, SEQ ID NO:46, SEQ ID NO:2, SEQ ID NO:7, SEQ ID NO:20, SEQ ID NO:30, SEQ ID NO:45, SEQ ID NO:72, SEQ ID NO:70, SEQ ID NO:26, SEQ ID NO:54, or SEQ ID NO:69, or said oligonucleotide comprises a sequence which is the reverse complement of a target sequence located in a region extending from about nucleotide 100 through nucleotide 500 in said SEQ ID NO.
25. The isolated oligonucleotide of claim 23 wherein the subject is suspected of having acute myeloid leukemia; and said oligonucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to a target sequence located within a region extending from nucleotide 1 through nucleotide 99 SEQ ID NO:10, SEQ ID NO:44, SEQ ID NO:48, SEQ ID NO:58, SEQ ID NO:73, SEQ ID NO:3, SEQ ID NO:5, SEQ ID NO:9, SEQ ID NO:14, SEQ ID NO:24, SEQ ID NO:33, SEQ ID NO:56, SEQ ID NO:68, SEQ ID NO:76, SEQ ID NO:17, SEQ ID NO:52, SEQ ID NO:57, SEQ ID NO:26, SEQ ID NO:38, SEQ ID NO:47, SEQ ID NO:49, SEQ ID NO:59, SEQ ID NO:36, SEQ ID NO:46, SEQ ID NO:38, SEQ ID NO:47, SEQ ID NO:49, SEQ ID NO:59, SEQ ID NO:36, SEQ ID NO:46, SEQ ID NO:2, SEQ ID NO:7, SEQ ID NO:20, SEQ ID NO:30, SEQ ID NO:45, SEQ ID NO:72, SEQ ID NO:16, SEQ ID NO:55, SEQ ID NO:61, SEQ ID NO:63, or SEQ ID NO:70, or said oligonucleotide comprises a sequence which is the reverse complement of a target sequence located in a region extending from about nucleotide 100 through nucleotide 500 in said SEQ ID NO.
26. The isolated oligonucleotide of claim 23 wherein said subject is suspected of having primitive neuroectodermal tumors of childhood; and said oligonucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to a target sequence located within a region extending from nucleotide 1 through nucleotide 99 of SEQ ID NO:39, SEQ ID NO:42, SEQ ID NO:50, SEQ ID NO:9, SEQ ID NO:14, SEQ ID NO:24, SEQ ID NO:37, SEQ ID NO:4, SEQ ID NO:36, SEQ ID NO:46, SEQ ID NO:72, SEQ ID NO:26, SEQ ID NO:15, SEQ ID NO:19, or SEQ ID NO:61, or said nucleotide comprises a sequence which is the reverse complement of a target sequence located in a region extending from about nucleotide 100 through nucleotide 500 in said SEQ ID NO.
27. The isolated oligonucleotide of claim 23 wherein said subject is suspected of having breast cancer; and said oligonucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to a target sequence located within a region extending from nucleotide 1 through nucleotide 99 of SEQ ID NO:21, SEQ ID NO:28, SEQ ID NO:41, SEQ ID NO:80, SEQ ID NO:37, SEQ ID NO:63, SEQ ID NO:71, SEQ ID NO:75, SEQ ID NO:18, SEQ ID NO:4, SEQ ID NO:22, SEQ ID NO:82, SEQ ID NO:12, SEQ ID NO:23, SEQ ID NO:31, SEQ ID NO:34, SEQ ID NO:43, SEQ ID NO:60, SEQ ID NO:64, SEQ ID NO:65, SEQ ID NO:67, SEQ ID NO:77, or said oligonucleotide comprises a sequence which is the reverse complement of a target sequence located in a region extending from about nucleotide 100 through nucleotide 500 in said SEQ ID NO.
28. The isolated oligonucleotide of claim 23 wherein said subject is suspected of having colon cancer; and said oligonucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to a target sequence located within a region extending from nucleotide 1 through nucleotide 99 of SEQ ID NO:11, SEQ ID NO:40, SEQ ID NO:74, SEQ ID NO:81, SEQ ID NO:53, SEQ ID NO:62, SEQ ID NO:76, SEQ ID NO:17, SEQ ID NO:52, SEQ ID NO:57, SEQ ID NO:37, SEQ ID NO:75, SEQ ID NO:18, SEQ ID NO:4, SEQ ID NO:27, SEQ ID NO:38, SEQ ID NO:47, SEQ ID NO:49, SEQ ID NO:59, SEQ ID NO:36, SEQ ID NO:46 or said oligonucleotide comprises a sequence which is the reverse complement of a target sequence located in a region extending from about nucleotide 100 through nucleotide 500 in said SEQ ID NO.
29. The isolated oligonucleotide of claim 23 wherein said subject is suspected of having head and neck cancer; and said oligonucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to a target sequence located within a region extending from nucleotide 1 through nucleotide 99 in SEQ ID NO:1, SEQ ID NO. 79, SEQ ID NO:3, SEQ ID NO:5, SEQ ID NO:50, SEQ ID NO:51, SEQ ID NO:53, SEQ ID NO:62, SEQ ID NO:76, SEQ ID NO:8, or SEQ ID NO:13., or said nucleotide a sequence which is the reverse complement of a target sequence located in a region extending from about nucleotide 100 through nucleotide 500 in said SEQ ID NO.
30. The isolated oligonucleotide of claim 23 wherein said subject is suspected of having testiclular cancer; and said oligonucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to a target sequence located within a region extending from nucleotide 1 through nucleotide 99 in SEQ ID NO. 29, SEQ ID NO:33, SEQ ID NO:56, SEQ ID NO:68, SEQ ID NO:51, SEQ ID NO:57, SEQ ID NO:70, SEQ ID NO:54, or SEQ ID NO:69, or said oligonucleotide comprises a sequence which is the reverse complement of a target sequence located in a region extending from about nucleotide 100 through nucleotide 500 in said SEQ ID NO.
31. The isolated oligonucleotide of claim 23 wherein said subject is suspected of having lung cancer; and said oligonucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to a target sequence located within a region extending from nucleotide 1 through nucleotide 99 of SEQ ID NO SEQ ID NO: 83, SEQ ID NO. 84, SEQ ID. NO. 85, SEQ. ID. NO. 86, SEQ. ID. NO. 87, SEQ. ID. NO. 88, SEQ. ID. NO. 89, SEQ. ID. NO. 90, SEQ. ID. NO. 91, SEQ ID. NO. 92, and SEQ. ID. NO. 93, or said oligonucleotide comprises a sequence which is the reverse complement of a target sequence located in a region extending from about nucleotide 100 through nucleotide 500 in said SEQ ID NO.
32. A method for determining whether cells obtained from a subject suspected of having a cancer are malignant or non-malignant, comprising:
a) digesting DNA which has been isolated from the cells with a methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme to provide a set of restriction fragments;
b) hybridizing said restriction fragments with a CpG diagnostic polynucleotide comprising a sequence which is identical to or complementary to a target sequence on one of the strands of a diagnostic control fragment identified according to the method comprising:
a) digesting genomic DNA obtained from the malignant cells with an infrequently-cutting, methylation-sensitive, restriction enzyme to provide a set of malignant cell restriction fragments;
b) digesting genomic DNA obtained from non-malignant, control cells with an infrequently-cutting, methylation-sensitive, restriction enzyme to provide a set of control cell restriction fragments;
c) attaching a detectable label to the ends of the malignant cell restriction fragments and the control restriction fragments;
d) digesting the labeled malignant cell and control cell restriction fragments with a second restriction enzyme;
e) separating the labeled malignant cell restriction fragments and the labeled control cell restriction fragments, wherein the malignant cell restriction fragments and the control cell restriction fragments are separated by electrophoresis on two different gels;
f) digesting the restriction fragments in each of said gels with a third restriction enzyme;
g) electrophoresing the restriction fragments in each of said gels in a direction perpendicular to the first direction to provide a first pattern of detectable malignant cell restriction fragments and a second pattern of detectable control cell restriction fragments;
h) comparing the first pattern to the second pattern to identify diagnostic control cell restriction fragments in said second pattern which are absent or exhibit a decreased intensity in the first pattern, wherein said diagnostic control cell restriction fragments comprise a CpG island that is unmethylated in the DNA of the control cells and methylated in the DNA of the malignant cells; and
(i) determining the sequence of at least a portion of a diagnostic control cell restriction fragment, wherein said portion is located at or near an end of the fragment,
wherein the tumor or neoplasm is selected from the group: breast, colon, glioma, non-squamous cell head and neck, lung, and non-medulloblastoma primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET) and testicle, and
wherein said method employed said methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme, wherein said target sequence comprises at least two CpG dinucleotides, wherein said polynucleotide is from 35 to 3000 nucleotides in length, and wherein said reaction is conducted under stringent hybridization conditions; and
c) assaying the reaction products of step b to determine the size or the sequence of the restriction fragment to which the CpG diagnostic polynucleotide has hybridized.
33. The method of claim 32 wherein said subject is suspected of having a cancer selected from the group consisting of glioma, acute myeloid leukemia, primitive neuroectodermal tumors of childhood, breast cancer, colon cancer, head and neck cancer, and testiclular cancer;
wherein said DNA sample is digested with NotI; and
wherein said polynucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to or complementary to a target sequence located in SEQ. ID. NO.: 1, SEQ. ID. NO.:2, SEQ. ID. NO.:3, SEQ. ID. NO.:4, SEQ. ID. NO.:5, SEQ. ID. NO.:6, SEQ. ID. NO.:7, SEQ. ID. NO.:8, SEQ. ID. NO.:9, SEQ. ID. NO.:10, SEQ. ID. NO:11, SEQ. ID. NO.: 12, SEQ. ID. NO.:13, SEQ. ID. NO.:14, SEQ. ID. NO.:15, SEQ. ID. NO.: 16, SEQ. ID. NO.: 17, SEQ. ID. NO.:18, SEQ. ID. NO.: 19, SEQ. ID. NO.:20, SEQ. ID. NO.:21, SEQ. ID. NO.:22, SEQ. ID. NO.:23, SEQ. ID. NO.:24, SEQ. ID. NO.:25, SEQ. ID. NO.:26, SEQ. ID. NO.:27, SEQ. ID. NO.:28, SEQ. ID. NO.:29, SEQ. ID. NO.:30, SEQ. ID. NO.:31, SEQ. ID. NO.:32, SEQ. ID. NO.:33, SEQ. ID. NO.:34, SEQ. ID. NO.:35, SEQ. ID. NO.:36, SEQ. ID. NO.:37, SEQ. ID. NO.:38, SEQ. ID. NO.:39, SEQ. ID. NO.:40, SEQ. ID. NO.:41, SEQ. ID. NO.:42, SEQ. ID. NO.:43, SEQ. ID. NO.:44, SEQ. ID. NO.:45, SEQ. ID. NO.:46, SEQ. ID. NO.:47, SEQ. ID. NO.:48, SEQ. ID. NO.:49, SEQ. ID. NO.:50, SEQ. ID. NO.:51, SEQ. ID. NO.:52, SEQ. ID. NO.:53, SEQ. ID. NO.:54, SEQ. ID. NO.:55, SEQ. ID. NO.:56, SEQ. ID. NO.:57, SEQ. ID. NO.:58, SEQ. ID. NO.:59, SEQ. ID. NO.:60, SEQ. ID. NO.:61, SEQ. ID. NO.:62, SEQ. ID. NO.:63, SEQ. ID. NO.:64, SEQ. ID. NO.:65, SEQ. ID. NO.:66, SEQ. ID. NO.:67, SEQ. ID. NO.:68, SEQ. ID. NO.:69, SEQ. ID. NO.:70, SEQ. ID. NO.:71, SEQ. ID. NO.:72, SEQ. ID. NO.:73, SEQ. ID. NO.:74, SEQ. ID. NO.:75, SEQ. ID. NO.:76, SEQ. ID. NO.:77, SEQ. ID. NO.:78, SEQ. ID. NO.:79, SEQ. ID. NO.:80, SEQ. ID. NO.:81, and SEQ. ID. NO.:82.
34. The method of claim 32 wherein the subject is suspected of having lung cancer;
wherein the DNA is digested with AscI;
and wherein said polynucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to or complementary to a target sequence located in, SEQ ID NO: 83, SEQ ID NO. 84, SEQ ID. NO. 85, SEQ. ID. NO. 86, SEQ. ID. NO. 87, SEQ. ID. NO. 88, SEQ. ID. NO. 89, SEQ. ID. NO. 90, SEQ. ID. NO. 91, SEQ ID. NO. 92, and SEQ. ID. NO. 93.
35. A method of determining whether cells contained within a tissue sample obtained from a subject suspected of having cancer are malignant, comprising:
a) treating DNA isolated from the tissue sample with a compound which converts non-methylated cytosines to a different nucleotide base;
b) reacting a portion of the treated DNA with a CpG diagnostic oligonucleotide which is complementary to a target sequence which comprises CpG islands that are preferentially methylated in malignant cells of subjects known to have said cancer;
c) reacting a portion of the treated DNA with a modified CpG diagnostic oligonucleotide which is complementary to a modified target sequence in which the cytosines in said target sequence are replaced with the different nucleotide base; and
d) assaying the reaction products of step b and step c to determine whether the treated DNA has hybridized with the CpG diagnostic oligonucleotide or the modified CpG diagnostic oligonucleotide; wherein hybridization of the treated DNA with the CpG diagnostic oligonucleotide as opposed to the modified CpG diagnostic oligonucleotide indicates that the DNA has been obtained from malignant cells.
36. The method of claim 35 wherein the chemical compound is sodium bisulfite and the non-methylated cytosines are converted to uracil.
37. The method of claim 35 wherein the assay is a polymerase chain reaction,
wherein a portion of the treated DNA is reacted with a first primer set which comprises two diagnostic CpG olignonucleotides; and
wherein a portion of the treated DNA is reacted with a second primer set which comprises two modified diagnostic CpG oligonucleotides.
38. The method of claim 35 wherein the subject is suspected of having a cancer selected from the group consisting of glioma, acute myeloid leukemia, primitive neuroectodermal tumors of childhood, breast cancer, colon cancer, head and neck cancer, testiclular cancer and lung cancer; and
wherein the CpG diagnostic oligonucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to a target sequence located between nucleotide 1 and 100 in a sequece selected from the group consisting said polynucleotide comprises a sequence which is identical to or complementary to a target sequence located in SEQ. ID. NO.: 1, SEQ. ID. NO.:2, SEQ. ID. NO.:3, SEQ. ID. NO.:4, SEQ. ID. NO.:5, SEQ. ID. NO.:6, SEQ. ID. NO.:7, SEQ. ID. NO.:8, SEQ. ID. NO.:9, SEQ. ID. NO.:10, SEQ. ID. NO:11, SEQ. ID. NO.: 12, SEQ. ID. NO.:13, SEQ. ID. NO.:14, SEQ. ID. NO.:15, SEQ. ID. NO.: 16, SEQ. ID. NO.:17, SEQ. ID. NO.:18, SEQ. ID. NO.: 19, SEQ. ID. NO.:20, SEQ. ID. NO.:21, SEQ. ID. NO.:22, SEQ. ID. NO.:23, SEQ. ID. NO.:24, SEQ. ID. NO.:25, SEQ. ID. NO.:26, SEQ. ID. NO.:27, SEQ. ID. NO.:28, SEQ. ID. NO.:29, SEQ. ID. NO.:30, SEQ. ID. NO.:31, SEQ. ID. NO.:32, SEQ. ID. NO.:33, SEQ. ID. NO.:34, SEQ. ID. NO.:35, SEQ. ID. NO.:36, SEQ. ID. NO.:37, SEQ. ID. NO.:38, SEQ. ID. NO.:39, SEQ. ID. NO.:40, SEQ. ID. NO.:41, SEQ. ID. NO.:42, SEQ. ID. NO.:43, SEQ. ID. NO.:44, SEQ. ID. NO.:45, SEQ. ID. NO.:46, SEQ. ID. NO.:47, SEQ. ID. NO.:48, SEQ. ID. NO.:49, SEQ. ID. NO.:50, SEQ. ID. NO.:51, SEQ. ID. NO.:52, SEQ. ID. NO.:53, SEQ. ID. NO.:54, SEQ. ID. NO.:55, SEQ. ID. NO.:56, SEQ. ID. NO.:57, SEQ. ID. NO.:58, SEQ. ID. NO.:59, SEQ. ID. NO.:60, SEQ. ID. NO.:61, SEQ. ID. NO.:62, SEQ. ID. NO.:63, SEQ. ID. NO.:64, SEQ. ID. NO.:65, SEQ. ID. NO.:66, SEQ. ID. NO.:67, SEQ. ID. NO.:68, SEQ. ID. NO.:69, SEQ. ID. NO.:70, SEQ. ID. NO.:71, SEQ. ID. NO.:72, SEQ. ID. NO.:73, SEQ. ID. NO.:74, SEQ. ID. NO.:75, SEQ. ID. NO.:76, SEQ. ID. NO.:77, SEQ. ID. NO.:78, SEQ. ID. NO.:79, SEQ. ID. NO.:80, SEQ. ID. NO.:81, SEQ. ID. NO.:82, SEQ ID NO: 83, SEQ ID NO. 84, SEQ ID. NO. 85, SEQ. ID. NO. 86, SEQ. ID. NO. 87, SEQ. ID. NO. 88, SEQ. ID. NO. 89, SEQ. ID. NO. 90, SEQ. ID. NO. 91, SEQ ID. NO. 92, and SEQ. ID. NO. 93; or a sequence which is the reverse complement of a target sequence located in a region extending from about nucleotide 100 through nucleotide 500 in said SEQ ID NO.
39. An isolated polynucleotide for characterizing cells which are obtained from a subject suspected of having a cancer selected from the group consisting of glioma, acute myeloid leukemia, primitive neuroectodermal tumors of childhood, breast cancer, colon cancer, head and neck cancer, testiclular cancer and lung cancer; wherein said polynucleotide is from 35 to 1000 nucleotides in length and comprises at least two CpG dinucleotides, and wherein said polynucleotide comprise a sequence which is identical to or complementary to a target sequence which originates between nucleotide 1 and nucleotide 15 of SEQ. ID. NO.:1, SEQ. ID. NO.:2, SEQ. ID. NO.:3, SEQ. ID. NO.:5, SEQ. ID. NO.:6, SEQ. ID. NO.:7, SEQ. ID. NO.:8, SEQ. ID. NO.:9, SEQ. ID. NO.:10, SEQ. ID. NO:11, SEQ. ID. NO.: 12, SEQ. ID. NO.:13, SEQ. ID. NO.:14, SEQ. ID. NO.:17, SEQ. ID. NO.:18, SEQ. ID. NO.: 19, SEQ. ID. NO.:20, SEQ. ID. NO.:21, SEQ. ID. NO.:22, SEQ. ID. NO.:23, SEQ. ID. NO.:24, SEQ. ID. NO.:25, SEQ. ID. NO.:27, SEQ. ID. NO.:28, SEQ. ID. NO.:29, SEQ. ID. NO.:30, SEQ. ID. NO.:31, SEQ. ID. NO.:32, SEQ. ID. NO.:33, SEQ. ID. NO.:34, SEQ. ID. NO.:35, SEQ. ID. NO.:36, SEQ. ID. NO.:37, SEQ. ID. NO.:38, SEQ. ID. NO.:40, SEQ. ID. NO.:41, SEQ. ID. NO.:42, SEQ. ID. NO.:43, SEQ. ID. NO.:44, SEQ. ID. NO.:45, SEQ. ID. NO.:47, SEQ. ID. NO.:48, SEQ. ID. NO.:49, SEQ. ID. NO.:50, SEQ. ID. NO.:51, SEQ. ID. NO.:52, SEQ. ID. NO.:53, SEQ. ID. NO.:54, SEQ. ID. NO.:55, SEQ. ID. NO.:56, SEQ. ID. NO.:58, SEQ. ID. NO.:60, SEQ. ID. NO.:62, SEQ. ID. NO.:63, SEQ. ID. NO.:64, SEQ. ID. NO.:65, SEQ. ID. NO.:66, SEQ. ID. NO.:67, SEQ. ID. NO.:69, SEQ. ID. NO.:70, SEQ. ID. NO.:72, SEQ. ID. NO.:73, SEQ. ID. NO.:75, SEQ. ID. NO.:76, SEQ. ID. NO.:77, SEQ. ID. NO.:78, SEQ. ID. NO.:79, SEQ. ID. NO.:80, SEQ. ID. NO.:81, SEQ. ID. NO.:82, SEQ ID NO: 83, SEQ. ID. NO. 86, SEQ. ID. NO. 87, SEQ. ID. NO. 88, SEQ. ID. NO. 89, SEQ. ID. NO. 90, SEQ. ID. NO. 91, SEQ ID. NO. 92, and SEQ. ID. NO. 93.
Description

This invention was conducted, at least in part, with government support under National Institutes of Health Grants No: P30 CA16058 and CA80912 awarded by the National Cancer Institute. The U.S. government has certain rights in the invention.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Diagnosis of cancer, classification of tumors, and cancer-patient prognosis all depend on detection of properties inherent to cancer, or malignant cells, that are absent in normal, nonmalignant cells. Since cancer is largely a genetic disease, resulting from and associated with changes in the DNA of cells, one important method of diagnosis is through detection of related changes within the DNA of cancer cells. Such changes can be of two types. The first type of change is a genetic change that occurs when the sequence of nucleotide bases within the DNA is changed. Base changes, deletions and insertions in the DNA are examples of such genetic changes. The second type of change in the DNA is an epigenetic change. Epigenetic changes do not result in nucleotide sequence changes, but rather, result in modification of nucleotide bases. The most common type of epigenetic change is DNA methylation.

In mammalian cells, DNA methylation consists exclusively of addition of a methyl group to the 5-carbon position of cytosine nucleotide bases. In the process, cytosine is changed to 5-methylcytosine. Cellular enzymes carry out the methylation events. Only cytosines located 5′ to guanosines in CpG dinucleotides are methylated by the enzymes in mammalian cells. Such CpG dinucleotides are not distributed randomly throughout the genome. Instead, there are regions of mammalian genomes which contain many CpG dinucleotides, while other areas of the genome contain few CpG dinucleotides. Such CpG-rich areas of the genome are called “CpG islands.” Most often, CpG islands are located in the transcriptional promoter regions of genes.

Not all CpG islands are methylated. However, the methylation status of CpG islands (i.e., whether the CpG dinucleotides within a particular CpG island are methylated or not) is relatively constant in cells. Nevertheless, the pattern of CpG island methylation can change and, when it does, often a new, relatively stable methylation pattern is established. Such changes in methylation of CpG islands can be either increases or decreases in methylation.

Methylation of CpG islands in the promoter region of a few specific genes has been observed in some types of human cancer. However, at present it is still uncertain whether the methylation status of multiple CpG islands in the genomic DNA of subjects suspected of having cancer can be used as a diagnostic tool for determining whether or not tissue obtained from such subjects contain malignant cells.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to methods for identifying CpG islands which are diagnostic of one or more cancers in a subject. The method employs restriction landmark genomic scanning (RLGS) techniques and comprises separately digesting genomic DNA which has been obtained from malignant cells derived from a particular tumor tissue and genomic DNA which has been obtained from control cells derived from healthy tissue with an infrequently cutting restriction enzyme that is not capable of cleaving methylated recognition sites to provide a first set of DNA restriction fragments from the tumor tissue, referred to hereinafter as “malignant cell restriction fragments”, and a first set of DNA restriction fragments from the healthy tissue, referred to hereinafter as “control cell restriction fragments”; attaching a detectable label to the ends of the malignant and control cell restriction fragments; digesting the labeled malignant and control cell restriction fragments with a second restriction enzyme; separating each set of restriction fragments on a gel; digesting the restriction fragments in each of the gels with a third more frequently cutting restriction enzyme; electrophoresing each set of restriction fragments in a direction perpendicular to the first direction to provide a first pattern of detectable malignant cell restriction fragments and a second pattern of detectable control cell restriction fragments; and comparing the second pattern to the first pattern to identify control cell restriction fragments, hereinafter referred to as “diagnostic fragments”, which are absent, or exhibit an decreased intensity of label in the first pattern. Such fragments comprise CpG islands that are methylated in the malignant cells. Such patterns are useful for characterizing tissue which is suspected of containing malignant cells. Preferably, each of the diagnostic fragments is then isolated and sequenced, at least in part. In one preferred embodiment, the first restriction enzyme is NotI. In another preferred embodiment, the first restriction enzyme is AscI. Advantageously, the present method permits the detection of numerous methylation sites within the entire genome. In accordance with the present method, applicants have determined that particular CpG islands are preferentially methylated in DNA obtained from tumor tissues of subjects diagnosed as having breast cancer, glioma, acute myeloid leukemia, primitive neuroectodermal tumors of childhood, colon cancer, head and neck cancer, testicular cancer, and lung cancer.

The present invention also provides isolated polynucleotides, referred to hereinafter as “CpG diagnostic polynucleotides”, and isolated oligonucleotides referred to hereinafter as “CpG diagnostic oligonucleotides”, which are useful for characterizing tissue samples obtained from a subject suspected of having gliomas, acute myeloid leukemia, primitive neuroectodermal tumors of childhood, or cancer of the breast, colon, head and neck, testicle or lung. The CpG diagnostic polynucleotides and oligonucleotidess both comprise a sequence which contains CpG islands that have been shown to be preferentially methylated in DNA that has been obtained from malignant cells of subjects diagnosed as having breast cancer, glioma, acute myeloid leukemia, primitive neuroectodermal tumor of childhood, colon cancer, head and neck cancer, testicular cancer or lung cancer. The CpG diagnostic polynucleotides are from 35 to 3000, preferably, 35 to 100 nucleotides in length, and comprise from 15 to 34, preferably 18 to 25 of the consecutive nucleotides contained with the sequences depicted in the accompanying DNA sequence listing, or sequences which are complementary thereto. The CpG diagnostic polynucleotides comprise two or, preferably, more CpG dinucleotides or dinucleotides which are complementary thereto. The CpG diagnostic oligonucleotides are from 15 to 34 nucleotides in length and comprise from 15 to 34 consecutive nucleotides contained within the sequences depicted in the sequence listing, or sequences which are complementary thereto. The CpG oligonucleotides comprises two or more CpG dinucleotides, or dinucleotides which are complementary thereto.

The present invention also relates to methods which employ the CpG diagnostic polynucleotides and oligonucleotides of the present invention to characterize tissue from patients suspected of having cancer. Such methods are based on the methylation status of CpG islands that have been shown to be preferentially methylated in DNA that has been obtained from tumor tissues of subjects diagnosed as having breast cancer, glioma, acute myeloid leukemia, primitive neuroectodermal tumor of childhood, colon cancer, head and neck cancer, testicular cancer and lung cancer. In one method, DNA which is isolated from suspected tumor tissue from a subject is digested into smaller fragments and reacted with a CpG diagnostic polynucleotide under stringent hybridization conditions. The reaction products are then assayed to determine the size or the sequence of the DNA fragment with which the CpG diagnostic polynucleotide has hybridized. The size or the sequence of the DNA fragment to which the CpG diagnostic polynucleotide has hybridized, hereinafter referred to as the “target DNA fragment”, indicates whether the target DNA fragment comprises methylated or non-methylated CpG islands. The presence of methylated CpG islands in the target DNA fragment indicates that the DNA has been obtained from a tumor or neoplasm for which the diagnostic CpG polynucleotide serves as a diagnostic marker.

In another method the DNA from the suspected tumor tissue is treated with a chemical compound which converts non-methylated cytosines to a different nucleotide base. An example of such a compound is sodium bisulfite which converts non-methylated cytosines to uracil. The DNA is then reacted with at CpG diagnostic oligonucleotides under conditions which permit the CpG diagnostic oligonucleotide to hybridize with a complementary sequence in the DNA, referred to hereinafter as the “target sequence”. The DNA is also reacted with a modified CpG diagnostic oligonucleotide. The modified CpG diagnostic oligonucleotide comprises a sequence that is complementary to a modified target sequence, i.e., a sequence in which the non-methylated cytosines in the target sequence are converted to a different nucleotide base, e.g. uracil, when treated with a chemical compound. The reaction products are then assayed to determine whether the DNA contains sequences which have hybridized with the CpG diagnostic oligonucleotide or with the modified CpG diagnostic oligonucleotide. Hybridization of the sample DNA with the CpG diagnostic oligonucleotide, as opposed to the modified CpG diagnostic oligonucleotide, indicates that the cytosines in the target sequence are methylated and that the DNA sample has been obtained from a tumor or neoplasm for which the CpG oligonucleotide has been shown to serve as a diagnostic marker.

The present invention also relates to a method of identifying genes whose expression is increased or decreased in cancer cells.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1. Methylation detection in restriction landmark genomic scanning (RLGS) profiles. A, Diagram of the RLGS procedure showing the quantitative nature of methylation detection on NotI fragments displayed on RLGS profiles. Methylation detection in RLGS profiles depends on the methylation sensitivity of the endonuclease activity of NotI. Differences in digestion are assessed by radiolabelling the DNA at cleaved NotI sites. Following further endonuclease digestion, two-dimensional electrophoretic separation and autoradiography, the intensity of a DNA fragment on the resultant RLGS profile quantitatively reflects the copy number and methylation status of the NotI fragment. A priori, this allows NotI fragments containing single-copy CpG islands to be distinguished from the abundant NotI fragments present in repeat elements and rDNA sequences. B, A portion of an RLGS profile from normal peripheral blood lymphocyte DNA displaying nearly 2,000 single-copy NotI fragments and 15-20 high copy-number fragments. First-dimension separation of labeled NotI/EcoRV fragments extends from right to left horizontally. Following in-gel digestion with HinfI, the fragments are separated vertically downward into a polyacrylamide gel and autoradiographed. To allow uniform comparisons of RLGS profiles from different samples and different laboratories, each fragment is given a three-variable designation (Y coordinate, X coordinate, fragment number). The central region of the RLGS profile used for all comparisons described in this invention has 28 sections (1-5 vertically and B-G horizontally; the 4G and 5G sections were excluded due to high density and lower resolution of fragments). C, Enlarged view of profile section 2D, showing the numbers assigned to each NotI fragment. D, Analysis of the GC content and CpG ratio {(number of CpGs)/(number of guanines)(number of cytosines)}(number of nucleotides analyzed) of 210 non-redundant NotI/EcoRV clones containing the NotI/HinfI fragments seen in B and in other portions of the RLGS profile. Of 210 clones, 184 clones were randomly chosen and 26 corresponded to fragments which were frequently lost from tumor profiles. CpG islands have a GC content of greater than 50% and a CpG value of 0.6 or greater, relative to bulk DNA (average CG content of 40% and CpG ratio of 0.2). Nucleotide sequences were determined with greater than 99% accuracy overall. An average of 377 nt/clone were analyzed (not indicative of actual CpG island size). The average NotI/EcoRV clone size was approximately 2 kb.

FIG. 2. Fragment loss from RLGS profiles is due to methylation. Top, portions of the RLGS profiles obtained from normal tissue and from two tumors having NotI fragments with either decreased intensity or no change in intensity. Bottom, Southern-blot analysis of EcoRV (NotI: −) and EvoRV/NotI (NotI: +) restriction digested DNAs from a larger number of samples, including the samples at top. In samples without methylation in the NotI site, the probe detects a smaller fragment on double digestion with NotI and EcoRV. The quantitation from multiple Southern blots using a phosphorimager allowed the determination of a lower limit of reliable detection in RLGS profiles of 30% decreased intensity of the diploid NotI/EcoRV fragments. Presence (+) or absence (−) of the corresponding NotI fragment is indicated. N, normal tissue DNA; T, tumor tissue DNA. A, CpG-island locus 3C1 methylation in low-grade gliomas. B, CpG island locus 2C40 methylation in leukemias. C, CpG-island locus 3E24 methylation in PNETs of childhood. *, EcoRV fragment of approximately 13 kb with homology to the probe. BLAST searches using the NotI-EcoRV clone sequence identified a homologous BAC clone sequence lacking an internal NotI site, which accounts for the 13-kb fragment on the Southern blot.

FIG. 3. Heterogeneity in CpG-island methylation across tumors. RLGS profiles were generated from 98 primary human tumors and compared with profiles of either matched normal DNA (58 of 98 cases) or to multiple profiles of tissue type-matched normal DNA from unrelated individuals. Loss or decreased intensity of single-copy fragments in the tumors, relative to several neighboring unaltered NotI fragments, were detected by visual inspection of overlaid autoradiographs and confirmed in many cases by independent profiles of the same DNA samples. For each tumor type, the dot plots display the total number of methylated CpG islands (of 1,184 CpG islands analyzed) observed in each tumor. Under the assumption that the tumors are drawn from a homogeneous distribution, with all tumors having the same frequency of methylation, the loss distributions should be approximately Poisson. The colored curve represents the expected distribution. BRE, breast tumors; CLN, colon tumors; GLI, gliomas; HN, head and neck tumors; LEU, acute myeloid leukemias; PNET, primitive neuroectodermal tumors of childhood; TST, testicular tumors.

FIG. 4. Subsets of CpG islands are preferentially methylated. For each tumor type, the histograms display the number of tumors in which the particular CpG islands were methylated. Most of the 1,184 CpG islands were not methylated in any of the tumors (histogram bar at 0 is not shown), but several CpG islands were methylated in multiple tumors. The black line shows the expected distribution under the null hypothesis that the CpG islands have equal frequencies of methylation. Most of the tumor types show significant preferential methylation.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect, the present invention relates to methods for identifying clones within a DNA library that can be used for cancer diagnosis and tumor classification, based on the methylation status of CpG dinucleotides contained within or closely adjacent to the specific clones. Such method employs methylation-sensitive restriction endonucleases (MSREs) and restriction landmark genomic scanning (RLGS) gels to identify new, differentially-methylated CpG islands within malignant cells obtained from patients diagnosed as having cancer. In accordance with the present invention, Applicants have identified 93 clones which can be used to determine whether a tumor biopsy from a patient contains benign or malignant cells.

To carry out such method, tissue (referred to hereinafter as “tumor tissue”) which contains a tumor or neoplasm is obtained from a patient known to have a cancer. In some cases, the tumor tissue is obtained from a particular type of solid tumor which has bee surgically removed from the patient. In some cases, the tumor tissue is obtained from the hematopoietic system, such as for example, bone marrow or blood, of the patient. The tumor tissue will have been determined to be from either a benign or malignant tumor or neoplasm.

Separately, tissue (referred to hereinafter as “healthy tissue”) which does not contain a tumor or neoplasm is obtained from a subject. The healthy tissue, may be obtained by surgically removing normal tissue from the patient or by surgically removing normal tissue from a healthy control subject who does not have cancer. The healthy tissue may also come from the hematopoietic system, such as for example, bone marrow or blood, of a healthy control subject. The healthy tissue will have been determined to be non-tumorigenic or non-neoplastic.

DNA is then isolated from both the tumor tissue and healthy tissue. If the tumor tissue is a solid tissue sample, such procedure may first comprise separating the individual cells contained within the tissue from each other. For example, if the tissue samples were frozen after surgical removal from a patient, cells may be separated from one another by grinding the frozen tissue with a mortar and pestle. DNA is then isolated from the individual cells using procedures well known to those skilled in the art. Commonly, such DNA isolation procedures comprise lysis of the individual cells using detergents, for example. After cell lysis, proteins are commonly removed from the DNA using various proteases. The DNA is then commonly extracted with phenol, precipitated in alcohol and dissolved in an aqueous solution.

In the procedures which follow, the DNA obtained from the tumor tissue is treated separately from the DNA obtained from healthy tissue (i.e., the two DNAs are not mixed). The DNAs are separately analyzed using a method called restriction landmark genomic scanning (RLGS). The purpose is to analyze both DNAs separately. The two analyses are then compared in order to identify CpG islands that distinguish cancer cells from normal cells.

Both DNA samples are treated with restriction enzymes and the free ends that result from the restriction enzyme cleavage are labeled. However, since the isolated DNA is in linear pieces, there are free ends that exist before the DNA is cleaved with the restriction enzymes. To prevent these ends from being labeled, the ends, preferably, are blocked before restriction enzyme treatment. Such blocking can be done by addition of dideoxynucleotides and sulfur-substituted nucleotides to the free ends before treatment with restriction enzymes. Subsequently, when the DNA is cleaved by restriction enzymes and labeled, only the ends resulting from the restriction enzyme cleavage will be labeled.

After the reaction to block free ends, the DNA samples are cleaved with a first restriction enzyme that can be characterized as an infrequently cleaving, methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme. Examples of suitable first restriction enzymes are NotI, AscI, BssHII and EagI. As used herein the term “infrequently cleaving” refers to a restriction enzyme that is expected to cleave genomic DNA at intervals greater than 10 kilobases. For example, NotI is an infrequently cleaving restriction enzyme. NotI recognizes a nucleotide sequence of 8 base pairs (bp) in the genome (i.e., 5′GCGGCCGC3′) and cleaves the DNA at this site. There are an estimated 4000-5000 of such NotI recognition sequences within the human genome. It is estimated that such recognition sequences are spaced at approximately 1 megabase (Mb) intervals within the genome. In contrast, a frequently cleaving restriction enzyme is expected to cleave the human genome at from 5-10 kb intervals. Such an enzyme will have approximately 100-times more cleavage sites within the human genome than infrequently-cleaving enzymes. Such frequently cleaving enzymes usually recognize a nucleotide sequence of less than 8 bp in the genome and cleave the DNA at that site. However, not all restriction enzymes that have nucleotide recognition sequences of less than 8 bp are frequently cleaving enzymes. BssHII and EagI both have 6 bp recognition sequences but the recognition sequences for these two enzymes are spaced at intervals within the genome that are greater than 10 kb. “Methylation sensitive” as used herein refers to any enzyme that is unable to cleave DNA at its normal restriction site if one or more nucleotides within the recognition sequence is methylated. For example, the restriction enzyme NotI will cleave the 5′GCGGCCGC3′ recognition sequence if the sequence does not contain a 5-methylcytosine. However, the NotI enzyme will not cleave this sequence if any of the cytosines have been methylated to become 5-methylcytosine.

Following digestion of the DNA with the first restriction enzyme, the ends of the DNA fragments are labeled. This can be done, for example, by attachment of nucleotides carrying a detectable label, such as a radiolabel, to the ends of the DNA sample. Typically, attachment is accomplished by filling in the recessed DNA ends left by cleavage with the first restriction enzyme such that the ends become blunt (i.e., non-recessed). Such end-filling reaction may employ deoxynucleoside triphosphates having a radiolabeled phosphate at the α phosphate position. Such labeled phosphate is preferably 32P.

The labeled fragments from each sample are then cleaved with a second restriction enzyme. Such second restriction enzyme preferably cleaves human DNA at average intervals of between 5-10 kb. Such enzymes normally have a 6 bp recognition sequence. Preferably, the second restriction enzyme is not methylation sensitive. Examples of suitable second restriction enzymes are PstI, PvuI, EcoRV or BamHI. Cleavage of the DNA fragments with the second, restriction enzyme provides a second set of fragments, labeled at the ends left by cleavage with the first enzyme. Many of such second fragments are smaller than the fragments resulting from cleavage with the first restriction enzyme.

The DNA fragments are then separated from one another. Preferably this separation is based on size. Preferably this separation is performed by first-dimension electrophoresis through an agarose tube-shaped gel of approximately 60 cm in length.

After electrophoresis through the tube-shaped gel, the DNA is digested within the gel with a third restriction enzyme. Such third restriction enzymes preferably have recognition sequences of 4 or 6 bp. Such third restriction enzymes also have the property of being able to cleave DNA which is embedded within agarose. One such enzyme is HinfI.

After cleavage by the third restriction enzyme, the DNA is again separated based on size, preferably by electrophoresis through a polyacrylamide gel. Subsequently, the separated DNA fragments are detected based on the labeled ends of the DNA fragments. In those cases where the fragments are radiolabeld, detection is by autoradiography of the two-dimensional gel. Such autoradiography provides a pattern of DNA fragments or “spots.” Such pattern is called an RLGS profile.

Each fragment on the RLGS profile obtained from using the DNA from healthy tissues is uniquely identified by its location on the autoradiograph (Y coordinate, X coordinate, fragment number). For each fragment location on the RLGS profile obtained from healthy tissue DNA, the identical location is observed on the RLGS profile obtained from tumor tissue DNA.

In a fragment by fragment comparison of RLGS profiles obtained from tumor tissue DNA with healthy tissue DNA, three different patterns are possible. First, for a given fragment on the healthy tissue RLGS profile, there may be a corresponding fragment at the same location, and of the same intensity, on the tumor tissue RLGS profile. This indicates that the first restriction enzyme cleaved both DNAs at the same sequences (FIG. 1A). This indicates that there were no differences in methylation of the NotI nucleotide recognition sequence of that fragment between the tumor tissue DNA and the healthy tissue DNA.

Second, for a given fragment on the healthy tissue RLGS profile, there may be no fragment at the same location on the tumor tissue RLGS profile. Such a pattern indicates that the first restriction enzyme did not cleave the tumor tissue DNA at the recognition sequence required to produce that specific fragment, but did cleave at such sequence within the healthy tissue DNA (FIG. 1A). This indicates that there was methylation within the NotI recognition sequence in the tumor tissue DNA but not in the healthy tissue DNA.

Third, for a given fragment on the healthy tissue RLGS profile, there may be a corresponding fragment at the same location on the tumor tissue RLGS profile, but the intensity of the fragment may be of decreased intensity. Such a pattern indicates that the first restriction enzyme cleaved one of two copies (i.e., the genome is diploid) of the tumor tissue DNA at the recognition sequence required to produce that specific fragment (FIG. 1A). In healthy tissue DNA, the first restriction enzyme cleaved both copies of the recognition sequence. This indicates that there was methylation within one of two NotI recogniton sequences in the tumor tissue DNA.

Through comparisons of RLGS profiles obtained from healthy tissue DNA with profiles obtained from a large number of different tumor tissue DNAs, loss of specific fragments in multiple tumors can be associated with a specific type of cancer. Loss of such fragments from RLGS profiles, therefore, can be diagnostic for cancer in a subject. For example, loss of a specific fragment (i.e., methylation of the first restriction enzyme site at the end of said fragment) in a high percentage of tumor tissue DNAs from women known to have breast cancer can be diagnostic for breast cancer in subjects suspected of having the disease. To perform such a diagnostic analysis, DNA isolated from a patient suspected of having breast cancer would be analyzed by RLGS, as described above, to determine whether there was loss of one or more fragments in RLGS profiles that are known to be lost at high frequency in women known to have breast cancer. Similarly, loss of other specific fragments can be diagnostic for other cancers, such as for example, colon cancer, head and neck cancer, lung cancer, testicular cancer, neuroectodermal cancer, gliomas, acute myeloid leukemias, and others.

Loss of a specific fragment in RLGS profiles from multiple tumors can also be diagnostic of several types of cancer, rather than a single type of cancer. For example, loss of a specific fragment can occur in a high percentage of tumor tissue DNAs obtained from individuals with either breast, colon or lung cancer. Loss of such a spot from RLGS profiles using DNA obtained from a patient suspected of having cancer would be diagnostic for either breast, colon or lung cancer in that patient.

Isolated Polynucleotides and Oligonucleotides Diagnostic for Cancer

Individual DNA clones that contain the DNA present in each spot or fragment that makes up an RLGS profile can be obtained. This is done by constructing a DNA library of healthy tissue DNA that has been cleaved with the same first and second enzymes used to perform the RLGS gel analysis. Such DNA library will contain individual clones, each clone comprising DNA that is present in a single spot of the RLGS profile. The totality of clones within the library is representative of the combined DNA spots in the RLGS profile.

Individual clones within the library can be identified that contain the DNA of each spot on the RLGS profile. This can be done by taking DNA from one or a few individual clones of the DNA library and mixing it with healthy tissue DNA, before RLGS analysis is begun. When this mixture of DNAs is used to produce an RLGS profile, the intensity of the spots that contain the same DNA as the individual clones added to the mixture will be increased. By performing multiple analyses of this type, each spot on an RLGS profile can be matched up with a DNA clone within the library. The result of such an analysis is an ordered human genomic library of restriction fragments containing the same subset of genomic fragments as those displayed on RLGS profiles. In such ordered genomic libraries, an individual library clone corresponding to any spot or fragment in an RLGS profile can be rapidly located.

To design diagnostic CpG polynucleotides and oligonucleotides, the sequence of the DNA within each clone (referred to hereinafter as a “diagnostic clone”) that corresponds to a spot that is absent or exhibits decreased intensity on the RLGS profile of the DNA from malignant tumor tissue is sequenced using standard techniques. Once sequence information is obtained, regions comprising multiple CpG dinucleotides are located. Such regions serve as the target sequence for the CpG polynucleotides and oligonucleotides.

The CpG polynucleotides are from 35 to 3000, preferably from 35 to 1500 nucleotides in length and comprise two or, preferably, more CpG dinucleotides or dinucleotides which are complementary thereto. The CpG diagnostic oligonucleotides are from 15 to 34 nucleotides, preferably from 18 to 25 nucleotides, in length and comprise at least two CpG dinucleotides or dinucleotides which are complementary thereto. The CpG diagnostic polynucleotides and oligonucleotides each comprise a sequence which is substantially complementary to target sequences containing CpG islands that are known to be preferentially methylated in the DNA from one or more types of cancer cells. “Substantially complementary” means that there is enough complementarity between the CpG diagnostic polynucleotides or oligonucleotides and the target sequence so that hybridization occurs between the CpG diagnostic polynucleotides and oligonucleotides under stringent conditions, preferably under highly stringent conditions. Such assays include hybridization assays, such as for example Southern analysis, where the sample DNA is reacted with the CpG diagnostic polynucleotide under stringent hybridization conditions.

The term “stringent conditions, as used herein, is the “stringency” which occurs within a range from about Tm-5 (5 below the melting temperature of the probe) to about 20 C below Tm. “Highly Stringent hybridization conditions” refers to an overnight incubation at 42 degree C. in a solution comprising 50% formamide, 5×SSC (750 mM NaCl, 75 mM sodium citrate), 50 mM sodium phosphate (pH 7.6), 5× Denhardt's solution, 10% dextran sulfate, and 20 g/ml denatured, sheared salmon sperm DNA, followed by washing the filters in 0.2×SSC at about 65 degree C. As recognized in the art, stringency conditions can be attained by varying a number of factors such as the length and nature, i.e., DNA or RNA, of the probe; the length and nature of the target sequence, the concentration of the salts and other components, such as formamide, dextran sulfate, and polyethylene glycol, of the hybridization solution. All of these factors may be varied to generate conditions of stringency which are equivalent to the conditions listed above.

Changes in the stringency of hybridization and signal detection are primarily accomplished through the manipulation of formamide concentration (lower percentages of formamide result in lower stringency); salt conditions, or temperature. For example, moderately high stringency conditions include an overnight incubation at 37 degree C. in a solution comprising 6× SSPE (20× SSPE=3M NaCl; 0.2 M NaH2PO4; 0.02M EDTA, pH 7.4), 0.5% SDS, 30% formamide, 100 ug/ml salmon sperm blocking DNA; followed by washes at 50 degree C. with 1×SSPE, 0.1% SDS. In addition, to achieve even lower stringency, washes performed following stringent hybridization can be done at higher salt concentrations (e.g. 5× SSC).

Note that variations in the above conditions may be accomplished through the inclusion and/or substitution of alternate blocking reagents used to suppress background in hybridization experiments. Typical blocking reagents include Denhardt's reagent, BLOTTO, heparin, denatured salmon sperm DNA, and commercially available proprietary formulations. The inclusion of specific blocking reagents may require modification of the hybridization conditions described above, due to problems with compatibility.

Such assays also include polymerase chain reactions (PCR) where the sample DNA and the diagnostic CpG oligonucleotides are reacted, preferably under conditions which result in the synthesis of a single PCR product. Computer programs, such as for example, the “Primer3” program that can be accessed at “http://genome.wi.mit.edu/cgi-bin/primer/primer3www.cgi” can be used to determine the size and sequence of the CpG diagnostic oligonucleotides. Optimum conditions are determined empirically.

The CpG diagnostic polynucleotides and oligonucleotides are made using standard techniques. For example, these polynucleotides and oligonucleotides may be made using commercially available synthesizers.

Diagnostic Methods

In another aspect, the present invention relates to methods which use the CpG diagnostic polynucleotides and oligonucleotides to characterize tissue samples from a subject suspected of having cancer, referred to hereinafter as test sample DNA. To do this, DNA is isolated from the cells of the tissue sample of the patient. Preferably, DNA that serves as a control is also obtained from healthy tissue of the test subject or a control subject as described previously. The diagnostic methods comprise reacting the test sample DNA with the diagnostic CpG polynucleotide or oligonucleotide and assaying the products that are formed as the result of the reaction. In some cases, the sample DNA is digested into smaller fragments prior to reaction with the CpG diagnostic polynucleotides or oligonucleotides. In some cases, a portion of the test sample DNA is first reacted with a chemical compound, such as for example sodium bisulfite, which converts methylated cytosines to a different nucleotide base.

Southern Blot Analysis

One such method for diagnosing cancer in a patient involves cleavage of the test sample DNA with a methylation sensitive enzyme, then Southern blot analysis of said cleaved DNA using a CpG diagnostic polyncleotide or oligonucleotide as a probe. For example, the DNA from the patient and the control, healthy tissue DNA are separately cleaved with a methylation-sensitive restriction endonuclease, such nuclease being the same first restriction enzyme used to identify the diagnostic spot in the RLGS profile that corresponds to the CpG diagnostic polynucleotide or oligonucleotide. After cleavage, the test sample and control DNAs are electrophoretically separated by size in different lanes of the same agarose gel and blotted to a membrane that can be used in hybridization, such as for example, nitrocellulose or nylon. The membrane is then used in a hybridization reaction with a labeled CpG diagnostic polynucleotide or oligonucleotide. The labeled CpG diagnostic polynucleotide or oligoneucleotide will hybridize to complementary DNA sequences on the membrane. After hybridization, the location on the membrane where the probe hybridized to the control and patient DNAs is visualized. Such locations will identify DNA fragments or bands within the control and patient DNAs containing the same sequence as the CpG diagnostic polynucleotide or oligonucleotide. Hybridization of the probe to a fragment within the patient DNA that is of higher molecular weight than that of the fragment within the control DNA to which the probe hybridized, indicates that a restriction endonuclease cleavage site flanking the target sequence of the CpG diagnostic polynucleotide or oligonucleotide was not cleaved due to methylation. Such result indicates that the tissue is from a cancer for which the CpG diagnostic polynucleotide or oligonucleotide serves as a diagnostic tool.

A second method for diagnosing cancer in a patient involves cleavage of patient DNA with a methylation-sensitive restriction endonuclease, such nuclease being the same first restriction enzyme used to identify the diagnostic spot in the RLGS profile that corresponds to the fragment. Such nuclease will cleave the patient DNA at the diagnostic recognition sequence only if the DNA is unmethylated. Using nucleotide information derived from sequencing of the library clone corresponding to the diagnostic spot on the RLGS gel, primers for PCR are selected that span the diagnostic recognition sequence. Using the primers, PCR is performed on the DNA. PCR amplification of the sequences will be successful only if the diagnostic nucleotide sequence in the patient DNA had been methylated and was not cleaved by the enzyme. Successful PCR amplification, therefore, is indicative of cancer in the patient.

Methods Employing a Chemically-Modified DNA Test Sample

Another group of methods for diagnosing cancer in a patient using CpG diagnostic polynucleotides and oligonucleotides are based on treatment of patient DNA with sodium bisulfite which converts all cytosines, but not methylated cytosines, to uracil. The bisulfite converted patient DNA can then be analyzed in a number of different ways. One method of analysis is direct sequencing of the DNA to determine whether the sequence contains cytosine or uracil. Such DNA sequencing requires primers adjacent to the sequenced region to be made. Such primers would be based on DNA sequence information obtained from the diagnostic RLGS spots.

Another method of analyzing bisulfite converted patient DNA is a method called “methylation sensitive PCR” (MSR). In MSR, primers are designed to comprise a sequence which is substantially complementary to the the CpG islands which are known to be preferentially methylated in DNA of cells found in one or more type of tumor tissues. Two sets of PCR primers are made to emcompass this region. One set of primers is designed to be complementary to the sequence that was changed by bisulfite (i.e., cytosines that were originally unmethylated and changed to uracil). As discussed above, these are the modified CpG diagnostic oligonucleotides. A second set of primers is designed to be complementary to the same sequence that was not changed by bisulfite (i.e., cytosines that were methylated and not changed to uracil). As discussed above these are the unmodified CpG diagnostic oligonucleotides, i.e the oligonucleotides which containe at least two CpG dinucleotides or dinucleotides which are complementary thereto. Two sets of PCR reactions are then run, one reaction with each set of primers, using DNA from the subject as the template. In the case where cytosines within the target sequence of the subject DNA are not methylated, the target sequence will be modified by the chemical reaction and the primers complementary to the modified sequence, i.e., the modified CpG diagnostic oligonucleotides, will produce a PCR reaction product while the primers complementary to the methylated sequence, i.e., the unmodified CpG diagnostic oligonucleotides, will not produce a PCR product. In the case where cytosines within the target sequence of the subject DNA are methylated, the target sequence will not be altered by the reaction with the sodium bisulfite, and the primers complementary to the unaltered sequence, i.e., the unmodified CpG diagnostic oligonucleotides, will produce a PCR reaction product while the modified CpG diagnostic oligonucleotides, which are complementary to the modified target sequence (i.e., unmethylated sequence) will not produce a PCR product.

A modification of MSR is bisulfite treatment of patient DNA and PCR amplification of said DNA using primers designed to amplify either methylated or unmethylated sequences. The PCR product is then digested with a restriction enzyme that will cleave or not depending on whether said product contains uracil (rather, thymidine, the complement of uracil; found in PCR product if original patient DNA contained unmethylated cytosine) or cytosine (found in PCR product if original patient DNA contained methylated cytosine).

Another technique referred to as MS-SnuPE, uses bisulfite/PCR followed by primer extension, where incorporation of C (vs. T) denotes methylation.

Methods of Identifying Genes

In another aspect of the invention, the CpG diagnostic polynucleotides and oligonucleotides can be used as probes to to identify genes whose expression is increased or decreased in cancerous tissues. To do this, CpG diagnostic polynuceotides are reacted with individual clones of the DNA library. The clones which hybridize with the CpG diagnostic polynucleotide can then be analyzed to determine if they contain an open reading frames that could encode proteins. To determine if the CpG diagnostic polynucleotide hybridizes with the promoter region of a known gene, the open reading frame sequence is analyzed by searching existing DNA databases. For example, GenBank databases can be searched using the BLAST algorithm. If no known genes that correspond to a library clone is found, the sequence can be searched for open reading frames that could encode a protein. Such searching can be performed using commercially available sequence analysis programs commonly known to those skilled in the art. GCG is an example of one such program.

Sequences from clones of the DNA library that contain either known genes or open reading frames can be used as probes to determine whether genes encoded by the sequences are expressed in tumor tissues as compared to control, healthy tissues. To do this, RNA, preferably messenger RNA (mRNA) is isolated from healthy tissue and from tumor tissue from which it is desired to test expression. Such RNA is examined for the presence of expressed transcripts encoded by the sequences obtained from the library. Examination for the presence of expressed transcripts can be performed using a number of methods. One method is Northern blotting where the isolated RNA is separated by size using gel electrophoresis and then blotted to a hybridization membrane. A fragment, polynucleotide or oligonucleotide from the sequence obtained from a library clone is labeled and then used to probe the hybridization membrane containing the size-separated RNA. Detection of hybridization of the probe to the membrane indicates presence of a transcript encoded by the sequence and indicates expression of the gene encoded by that sequence.

Another method to examine isolated RNA for the presence of expressed transcripts is to use RT-PCR analysis. In such analysis, primers are designed and made that span a region of the gene whose expression is to be tested. The isolated RNA is reverse transcribed into DNA using reverse transcriptase. Such DNA is then amplified with the designed primers using PCR. PCR products are visualized after electrophoresis. The presence of PCR products on the gel indicates that the gene encompassed by the designed primers was expressing RNA transcripts. Such analysis can identify and determine genes whose expression is changed in cancer cells as compared to normal, non-cancerous cells.

The following examples are for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention as defined in the claims which are appended hereto.

EXAMPLES Example 1 Identification of Diagnostic Markers Using NotI and RLGS

A. Isolation and Enzymatic Processing of Genomic DNA

Tissue from solid tumors was obtained as surgical tissue samples. Where possible, surrounding non-tumor tissue was taken and used as a control. Where it was not possible to obtain patient-matched normal tissue, normal tissue from multiple patients was used. Tissue samples from patients with acute myelogenous leukemis (AML) consisted of either bone marrow aspirates or peripheral blood. Normal samples were obtained from the same patients who were in remission after chemotherapy.

The surgically removed tissues were quickly frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored at −80° C. prior to isolation of DNA. When DNA was ready to be isolated, 2 ml of lysis buffer (10 mM Tris, pH 8.0; 150 mM EDTA, 1% sarkosyl) was added to 100-300 mg of tissue in a 50 ml Falcon tube and frozen in liquid nitrogen. The frozen mixture was then removed from the tube, wrapped in aluminum foil, and quickly broken into pieces with a hammer. The broken pieces of cells were transferred to a chilled mortar and ground to a powder with a chilled pestle. For peripheral blood samples, cells were separated on a sterile Histopaque-1077 (SIGMA) gradient and stored at −80° C. before DNA isolation.

Cells were transferred to a 50 ml tube and 15-25 ml of lysis buffer containing 0.1 mg proteinase K per ml of lysis buffer was added and mixed using a glass rod. The mixture was incubated at 55° C. for 20 min with gentle mixing every 5 min. The mixture was then placed on ice for 10 min. Subsequently, an equal volume of PCI (phenol:chloroform:isoamylalcohol in a ratio of 50:49:1) was added and the tubes containing the mixture were gently rotated for 30-60 min. The tubes were then centrifuged for 30 min at 2500 rpm and the separated, aqueous phase was transferred to a new 50 ml tube using a wide-bore pipette. The PCI extraction was repeated one time. The collected aqueous phase containing the DNA was transferred to dialysis tubing and dialyzed against 4 L of 10 mM Tris, pH 8 for 2 hr. The dialysis tubing was then transferred into fresh 10 mM Tris and dialyzed overnight at room temperature. One additional dialysis was performed in fresh 10 mM Tris for an additional 2 hr. The DNA was then transferred from the dialysis tubing to 50 ml tubes and RNase A was added to a final concentration of 1 μg/ml. The mixture was incubated at 37° C. for 2 hr. Subsequently, 2.5 volumes of 100% ethanol were added to the DNA and the mixture was gently rotated. The insoluble DNA was transferred to a microfuge tube, centrifuged briefly, and the remaining alcohol removed. The pellet was briefly dried in air. The DNA in the pellet was resuspended to a final concentration of 1 μg/μl. Such isolated DNA had an average size of 200-300 kb.

The isolated genomic DNA was blocked at ends where the DNA had been sheared. Blocking was done by addition of dideoxynucleotides and sulfur-substituted nucleotides. In a 1.5 ml tube, 7 μl of genomic DNA solution was added along with 2.5 μl of blocking buffer (1 μl 10× buffer, 1, 0.1 μl 1 M DTT, 0.4 μl each of 10 μM dGTPαS, 10 μM ddATP, 10 μddTTP, and 0.2 μl 10 μM dCTPαS; buffer 1 consists of 500 mM Tris, pH 7.4, 100 mM MgCl2, 1 M NaCl, 10 mM DTT) and 0.5 μl DNA polymerase I. The mixture was mixed thoroughly and incubated at 37° C. for 20 min. The mixture was then incubated at 65° C. for 30 min to inactivate the polymerase. The reaction was then cooled on ice for 2 min. The DNA was digested with NotI by adding to the sample, 8 μl of 2.5× buffer 2 (20× buffer 2 is 3 M NaCl, 0.2% Triton X-100, 0.2% BSA) and 2 μl (10 U/l) of NotI. The sample was incubated at 37° C. for 2 hr. The DNA was then radioactively labeled. This was done by adding to the sample 0.3 μl 1 M DTT, 1 μl [α-32P]-GTP, 1 μl [α-32P]-dCTP and 0.11 μl[α-32P]-GTP Sequenase ver 2.0 (13 U/μl). The mixture was incubated at 37° C. for 30 min. The DNA was then digested with EcoRV by adding to the sample 7.6 μl second enzyme digestion buffer (1 μl 1 mM ddGTP, 1 ul 1 mM ddCTP, 4.4 μl ddH2O, 1.2 μl 100 mM MgCl2) and 2 μl EcoRV (10 U/μl). The mixture was incubated at 37° C. for 1 hr. Then, 7 μl of 6× first-dimension loading dye (0.25% Bromophenol Blue, 0.25% Xylene Cyanol, 15% Ficoll type 400) was added.

B. First Dimension Gel Set-Up and Electrophoresis

To make the 60 cm long agarose tube-shaped gel, a gel holder was made. To do this, a sharp razor was used to cut one end of PFA-grade teflon tubing (PFA 11 thin wall, natural; American Plastic, Columbus, Ohio) at an angle to make a bevel. The beveled end of the tubing was fed into glass tubes (4 mm inner diameter, 5 mm outer diameter, 60 cm long). Using a hemostat, the beveled end was pulled up through the tapered end of the glass rod until it protruded 2 to 4 cm. The tubing was cut horizontally at the same end, leaving a 2 mm protrusion (this is the top of the gel holder). The opposite end was cut horizontally, leaving a 5 to 6 cm protrusion from the glass tube. The gel holder was inverted and the top protruding end was pressed firmly against a hot metal surface (metal spatula heated by a Bunsen burner) to fold the edges of the teflon outward onto the rim of the glass support. A rubber stopper with cored center was pulled over the top end of the gel holder until it was just past the taper of the glass rod. A two-way stopcock was attached to a 10 ml syringe and then to the gel holder via 2 to 3 cm of flexible tubing. The stopcock valve was adjusted to the open position.

Then, to a clean 200 ml glass bottle was added, 60 ml 2× Boyer's buffer (20× is 1 M Tris, 360 mM NaCl, 400 mM sodium acetate, 40 mM EDTA) and 0.48 g Seakem GTG agarose (0.8%). The mixture was heated in a microwave oven until the agarose was dissolved. The mixture was then equilibrated to 55° C. in a water bath. With the stopcock valve in the open position, the protruding teflon tube was lowered into the molten agarose solution. The gel solution was suctioned into the gel holder until the gel solution reached 1-2 cm from the top of the gel holder. The stopcock valve was then closed. Keeping the gel upright, the gel was suspended from a ring stand. The gel was allowed to solidify for 20 min.

The stopcock valve was then opened and the syringe and connecting tubes were removed from each gel. After adding 2× Boyer's buffer to the bottom of the first dimension gel apparatus (C.B.S. Scientific), the gels were lowered into the first dimension gel apparatus, seating the rubber stopper firmly into the appropriate holes in the top portion of the apparatus. The top chamber was filled with 2× Boyer's buffer.

Between 1.0-1.5 μg of DNA was loaded onto each gel. The sample was electrophoresed at 110 V for 2 hr, and then 230 V for 24 hr.

C. In-Gel digest

After the DNA was electrophoresed in the first dimension in the agarose tube gel, the DNA was further digested with an additional restriction endonuclease so it could be electrophoresed in the second dimension. In order to perform this additional endonuclease digestion, the buffer and gel holders were removed from the first dimension apparatus. The gel was extruded into a pan containing 1× buffer K (10× buffer K is 200 mM Tris, pH 7.4, 100 mM MgCl2, 1 M NaCl) by forcing the gel out through the bottom of the gel holder. This was accomplished using a 1 ml syringe fitted with a pipet tip and filled with buffer K. The tip was firmly inserted into the top of the gel holder and the plunger depressed until the gel began to come out through the bottom of the gel holder. The 1 ml syringe was replaced with a 5 ml syringe, and the plunger was depressed until the entire gel was expelled. With a razor, a bevel was cut in the low molecular weight end of the gel and a horizontal cut was made at the high molecular weight end so that the gel was approximately 43 cm in length. The gel length was now the same as the width of the second dimension gel.

The gel was placed into a separate 50 ml tube containing 40 ml of 1× buffer K. The tube was incubated for 10 min at room temperature. The buffer was poured off and the gel incubated in 1× buffer K for an additional 10 min. The buffer K and gel was poured into a pan containing fresh buffer K. Using a 10 ml syringe attached to restriction digest tubing (PFA grade teflon, 9, thin wall, natural; 2.7 mm inner diameter and approximately 3.3 mm outer diameter; American Plastic, Columbus, Ohio), via a 1 to 2 cm segment of flexible tubing, the gel was suctioned into the digest tubing, low molecular weight (beveled) end first. The gel was suctioned into the digest tubing by placing the end of the tubing in line with the beveled end of the gel and pulling the syringe plunger. The tubing was positioned vertically, with the syringe at the bottom and remaining buffer from the tubing was suctioned into the syringe.

In a clean tube, a 1.6 ml mix of 1× HinfI restriction enzyme buffer (50 mM NaCl, 10 mM Tris pH 7.9, 1 mM DTT), 0.1% BSA, and 750 U of HinfI restriction enzyme was made. The open end of the digest tubing was placed into the tube containing restriction digestion solution. Holding the syringe end up, suction was applied until a small amount of digestion solution appeared in the syringe. The digest tubing was removed and both ends were oriented upward in a U-shape. The syringe was removed and the two ends of the tubing were attached to form a closed circle. This was placed in a moist chamber and incubated at 37° C. for 2 hr.

D. Second Dimension Electrophoresis

The digested DNA was now run in the second dimension using a 5% non-denaturing acrylamide gel with a 0.8% agarose spacer. To do this, the second dimension gel apparatus (C.B.S. Scientific) was first assembled. All glass plates were cleaned thoroughly and the non-beveled face of each plate was coated with Gelslick or Sigmacote (only once every 10 uses). The back half of the apparatus was laid horizontally on a table top with the upper buffer chamber hanging over the table edge. The two small clear plastic blocks were inserted at the bottom corners of each apparatus. A glass plate was placed in the apparatus, beveled edge facing upward and near the upper buffer chamber, followed by two spacers, one along each side. Glass plates and spacers were added in this manner until the fifth plate had been added. After the third plate, flexible Tygon tubing was slid down the side channel of the apparatus, with a bevel cut in the leading end of the tubing. The other end was cut, leaving approximately 10 cm protruding from the apparatus. The Plexiglas “filler” sheet was placed over the fifth glass plate. The front half of the apparatus was positioned by aligning the screw holes of the front and back half. These were secured with the teflon screws. The oblong oval “windows” at the lower, front face were sealed with Plastic tape (Scotch brand). The apparatus was stood upright in the lower buffer chamber.

Using a three-way stopcock, the gel apparatus tubing was attached in series with a 2 L reservoir and a 60 ml syringe was attached to the remaining stopcock outlet. The tubing was attached to the 2 L reservoir through a bottom drain (a 2 L graduated cylinder was used). The reservoir was secured above the gel apparatus to allow for gravity flow. The stopcock valve was adjusted to allow liquid to flow between the 2 L reservoir and the 60 ml syringe. Once the TEMED was added, the acrylamide solution (1× TBE, pH 8.3, 96.9 g acrylamide, 3.3 g bis-acrylamide, 1.3 g ammonium persulfate and 700 μl TEMED in a total volume of 2 L) was poured into the 2 L reservoir. The syringe plunger was pulled down to the 50 ml mark. The plunger was depressed to push the air out of the upper tubing. Once all air was removed, the valve was adjusted so that all three ports were open. Acrylamide flowed into the apparatus, filling all four gels simultaneously from the bottom upward. The flow was stopped when the level reached 3 mm from the top edge of the glass plates. The solution was allowed to settle for 2 to 3 minutes. After the valve leading to the gel apparatus had been closed, the syringe and reservoir were detached.

The ends of the in-gel digest digest tubing were separated and the first dimension gel was extruded into a pan containing 1× TBE, pH 8.3. The gel was transferred to a 50 ml tube containing 40 ml 1× TBE, pH 8.3. This was incubated for 10 min at room temperature, replaced with fresh TBE, and incubated for an additional 10 min. The first dimension gel was placed in a horizontal position across the beveled edge of each glass plate. Once all gels were in place, the space between the agarose gel and the top of each polyacrylamide gel was filled with molten 0.8% agarose (equilibrated to 55° C.). This connecting agarose was allowed to solidify for 10 to 15 min and then 250 μl second dimension loading dye (1× TE, pH 8.3, 0.25% Bromophenol Blue, 0.25% Xylene Cyanol) was added along the length of each gel. Then 1× TBE, pH 8.3 was added to the upper and lower buffer chambers and electrophoresis was carried out at 100 V for 2 hr and then at 150 V for approximately 24 hr.

Buffers were then removed and the apparatus was disassembled. Each gel was lifted from the plates by overlaying with Whatmann paper cut to size for autoradiographic or phosphorimager cassettes. The perimeter of the paper was traced with the edge of a plastic ruler, removing any excess gel. The Whatmann paper and gel were lifted and placed, gel side up, on a second piece of Whatmann paper. This was overlaid with saran wrap and a third piece of Whatmann paper was added to the top and saran wrap was folded over the top of the Whatmann paper. This was placed in a gel drier, in the same orientation, for 1 hr at 80° C. while applying a vacuum. The lower and upper Whatman paper was then removed, saran wrap folded under the remaining paper and exposed to X-ray film (BioMax MS).

E. RLGS Spots Resulting from Methylation-Sensitive Restriction Enzymes Identify CpG Islands

Using this methodology, an RLGS profile of DNA from human cells produces a pattern displaying approximately 2,000 spots. FIG. 1B, for example, shows such an RLGS profile from normal peripheral blood lymphocyte DNA. First-dimension separation of labeled NotI/EcoRV fragments extends from right to left horizontally. Following in-gel digestion with HinfI, the fragments were separated vertically downward into a polyacrylamide gel and autoradiographed. To allow uniform comparisons of RLGS profiles, spots were defined based on their location in the gel by assigning each spot a three-variable designation (Y coordinate, X coordinate, fragment number). This can be more easily seen in the enlarged portion of section 2D of the RLGS profile (FIG. 1C) showing the numbers assigned to each spot.

From a set of 1,567 NotI spots comprising the central portion of the RLGS profile of normal DNA, 392 spots were eliminated from all analyses on the basis of having more than diploid intensity, less than diploid intensity, or a degree of positional overlap with neighboring fragments. In addition, a small fraction of loci in individual tumor profiles was not able to be analyzed due to poor local gel quality. In normal DNA profiles, the less-than-diploid copy-number intensities can result from polymorphism, partial methylation or spots derived from sex chromosomes. Thus, the analyzed spots were of diploid copy number in most samples. Tumor tissue and healthy tissue DNA profiles were compared by visual inspection of overlaid autoradiographs. In those cases in which matched normal tissue was not available, tumor profiles were compared with profiles matched for tissue type of four to five unrelated individuals. Each CpG island was defined as unmethylated or methylated (a visually apparent decrease in intensity on the RLGS profile, which, through corroboration with Southern-blot data for 26 CpG island loci and more that 100 loss events, corresponded to a 30% or greater level of methylation).

To determine if the NotI restriction sites which produced the RLGS spots, had characteristics of authentic CpG islands, DNA from 210 of the NotI/EcoRV RLGS spots was partially sequenced. This was possible because each spot on the human NotI/EcoRV RLGS profile had previously been assigned to a clone from a NotI/EcoRV genomic plasmid library (see description earlier in the specification). Of the 210 spots, 184 were randomly chosen. Another 26 spots were chosen because they were frequently lost from RLGS profiles from human tumors, suggesting that cytosine nucleotides within the NotI sequence of that spot were methylated in the tumor. From the sequences derived from these clones, the GC content (% GC) was plotted against the CpG ratio for each clone (FIG. 1D; CpG ratio=[(number of CpGs)/(number of guanines)(number of cytosines)(number of nucleotides analyzed)]). CpG islands have a GC content of greater than 50% and a CpG value of at least 0.6. FIG. 1D shows that, of 210 clones sequenced, 197 (94%) had sequence characteristics consistent with CpG-island DNA.

F. Tumor Tissue Samples Analyzed

DNA used to perform the RLGS analyses was obtained from 98 primary human tumors and, where possible, matched normal samples. These samples were from 8 broad tumor types; breast, colon, gliomas, head and neck, acute myeloid leukemias, primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs) and testicular.

Fourteen breast cancers included 2 adenocarcinomas, 2 lobular carcinomas and 10 ductal carcinomas. The samples were from obtained the Cooperative Human Tissue Network (CHTN). All tumors were from females, 38-89 years of age (average of 54 years). Breast tissue adjacent to the tumor was available for 6 of 14 cases, and 8 tumor profiles were compared with 4 breast samples from the matched sets.

Colon tumors were obtained from Roswell Park Cancer Institute and classified according the American Joint Committee on Cancer staging manual. The 8 primary tumors included 1 stage I tumor, 2 stage II tumors, 2 stage III tumors and 3 stage IV tumors. Patient ages ranged from 49 to 77 years (average of 63 years). Normal adjacent colon mucosa samples were obtained for all tumors.

Fourteen gliomas, including 12 World Health Organization (WHO) grade II astrocytomas and 2 WHO grade III anaplastic astrocytomas, from Saitama Medical School, the University of Tokyo, Teikyo University School of Medicine, Komagome Metropolitan Hospital and the University of Washington, Seattle. Patients included 10 females and 4 males with an age range of 7-57 years (average of 34 years). Brain tissue adjacent to the tumor was also obtained for 1 WHO grade II and 1 WHO grade III tumor. Twelve cases were compared with 3 unmatched normal brain samples and with the 2 brain samples from the matched sets.

Fourteen head and neck squamous cell carcinomas were obtained through the CHTN. Tumors were from 11 males and 3 females. Patients were 42-77 years of age (average of 57 years). Tissue adjacent to the tumor was available for 12 of 14 cases, and 2 tumors were compared with 4 samples from the matched sets.

Nineteen acute myelogenous leukemia samples (3 bone marrow aspirates and 14 peripheral blood) from the Cancer and Leukemia Group B Tissue Bank. Samples were classified according to the French-American-British system. Samples were obtained from patients at the time of initial diagnosis with AML and again at complete remission (24-154 days, average 45 days) after induction chemotherapy. Samples were from 14 males and 3 females. Patients were 22-61 years of age (average 40 years). All cases were compared with matched samples (either peripheral blood lymphocytes or bone marrow, but always matched with the origin of the cancer sample) obtained at remission.

Twenty-two PNETs, including 17 medulloblastomas and 5 supratentorial PNETs, through the CHTN, Pediatric Division. Tumors were from 15 males and 7 females. Patients were 2-26 years of age, with peak ages between 3 and 6 years. All tumors were WHO grade IV. Matched peripheral blood lymphocytes were available for 6 of 22 cases, and 18 samples were compared with unmatched normal cerebellum DNA.

Nine testicular tumors included 6 seminomas and three nonseminomas. Samples were obtained from the Norwegian Radium Hospital and from the Helsinki University Central Hospital. Patients were 21-77 years (average of 41 years). Adjacent testicular tissue was available for 7 of 9 cases, and 2 samples were compared with 4 samples of testicular DNA used in the matched sets.

G. Loss of Spots from RLGS Profiles is Due to Methylation

In comparing RLGS profiles of DNAs from different tumors with control, healthy tissue DNAs, loss of a fragment or spot from an RLGS profile (FIG. 1A) was frequently detected. Loss of such a spot could be due to either methylation of DNA sequences at the NotI site giving rise to that spot, or to deletion of DNA surrounding that NotI site from the genome of the tumor. The relative contribution of each mechanism was assessed by using clones from the NotI/EcoRV genomic library, specific for lost spots, as probes in Southern blotting studies. In FIG. 2A, a section of an RLGS profile, from normal, healthy tissue was compared with tumor tissue from two gliomas, J7 and J16. This RLGS section contains spot 3C1. In tumor J16, spot 3C1 is absent from the RLGS profile. If there was a deletion of DNA surrounding the NotI site, however, the expected result in the Southern blot would be either no hybridization of the probe to the J16 genomic DNA or hybridization to a band of a size different from those detected in the lane containing normal, healthy tissue DNA digested with NotI plus EcoRV, and tumor tissue DNA digested with EcoRV alone. This result is not seen. These results show, therefore, that DNA corresponding to a missing 3C1 spot in J16 glioma DNA is present in the genome, as shown by the Southern hybridization result.

Likewise, DNA corresponding to specific RLGS spots missing in certain leukemias (FIG. 2B) and neuroectodermal tumors of childhood (FIG. 2C) are found to be present when these DNA are analyzed by Southern blotting. Overall, in 26 tumors where specific spots in RLGS profiles were missing DNA corresponding to the spot, was found to be present in the genome by Southern blotting. These results show that loss of spots on RLGS profiles is due to methylation of the corresponding NotI site and not deletion from the genome of DNA representing that spot. Therefore, methylation is the predominant mechanism underlying loss of spots from RLGS profiles.

H. Heterogeneity in CpG-Island Methylation Across Tumors.

To compare the overall pattern of methylated CpG islands among different tumors of the same tumor type, 1,184 spots in each of 98 tumors (and their non-tumorigenic controls) were analyzed by RLGS. The analysis was performed by determining the number of RLGS spots lost, or of decreased intensity, as compared to the controls. Each lost spot or spot of decreased intensity is equivalent to one methylated CpG island. For each tumor type, the number of methylated CpG islands in each individual tumor, as compared to controls, was plotted (FIG. 3). These data showed that breast, head and neck, and testicular tumors had relatively low levels of methylation, with many such tumors showing no methylation. Colon tumors, gliomas, acute myeloid leukemias and primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs) had a much higher frequency of methylation. Nonparametric comparison (Kruskal-Wallis procedure) of the methylation frequencies of the various tumor types showed significant differences between them (χ6 2=56.9, P<0.0001).

Within a tumor type, the range of methylated CpG islands in individual tumors was variable. The data (FIG. 3) are not consistent with chance variation between tumors because, in the absence of heterogeneity, the variance of the methylation frequency would not be expected to be greater than the mean1. A formal test of this overdispersion was performed for each tumor type and the results are shown in FIG. 3 as a superimposition of the expected Poisson distribution on the dot plots. These data showed that aberrant methylation of CpG islands can be quantitatively different in individual tumors within a tumor type and more pronounced overall in particular tumor types.
1Heterogeneity of methylation frequencies across samples was assessed within each tumor type by a standard test for evidence that the variance in methylation frequency exceeds the mean. This test is motivated by the Poisson approximation, which applies even if the frequencies of methylation vary across CpG islands. Moreover, a simple result from the binomial distribution shows that the test is conservative, because under homogeneity the population variance cannot exceed the mean.

I. Subsets of CpG Islands were Preferentially Methylated in Tumors

Through analysis of the RLGS spots lost in different tumors, it was determined that certain spots on the RLGS gels were lost in multiple tumors. This means that specific CpG dinucleotides were methylated in more than one tumor. This is shown in FIG. 4 where the number of tumors within a specific tumor type that had a particular CpG island methylated are shown.

To test the hypothesis that methylation of these common CpG islands was not random, a standard goodness-of-fit test was used.2 This can be seen in the plots of FIG. 4 where the black line of each plot shows the expected distributions if methylation of specific CpG islands in multiple tumors was random. It can be seen from FIG. 4 that for breast tumors, colon tumors, gliomas, acute myeloid leukemias and childhood PNETs, the actual distributions were significantly different (P<0.0001) from the theoretical distributions indicative of randomness. Similarly, the results for head and neck tumors were significant (P<0.025). The results for testicular tumors (P=0.365) were not significant. However, tumors of this type have a low overall methylation frequency and larger sample sizes are needed. Overall, the data indicate that the patterns of CpG island methylation in tumors is not random.
2Under the null hypothesis of equal methylation frequencies for each CpG island, a goodness-of-fit test (χ2) was applied to the observed versus expected frequencies of islands exhibiting methylation in multiple tumors within each tumor type.

J. Frequencies of Aberrant CpG-Island Methylation of Shared and Tumor-Type-Specific Targets

Because the data have shown that they are methylated in a nonrandom fashion, CpG islands that are methylated at a high frequency in one or more tumor types can be used for diagnosis of tumors. From analysis of 98 tumors using NotI/EcoRV RLGS analysis, a number of spots that are absent or of decreased intensity, as compared to control healthy tissue DNA, have been found. Table I lists these spots. Each fragment (CpG island) is identified in three ways in the table. First, the location of each CpG island is designated as the distance (in cm) migrated during electrophoresis, from the gel origin, in both the first dimension and the second dimension. Second, each CpG island is given a three-variable designation (Y coordinate, X coordinate, fragment number). The X coordinate indicates horizontal direction on the two-dimensional RLGS profile and is a letter from B-G. The Y coordinate indicates vertical direction and is a number from 1-5. Together, an X and Y designation divide the RLGS profile into 28 sections. Within each section, the spots/fragments are given a number. Such a profile is available at: http://pandora.med.ohio-state.edu/masterRLGS/. Third, the partial DNA sequence of individual spots has been determined by sequencing of library clones corresponding to each spot. These sequences are shown in the attached Sequence Listing and have been assigned SEQ ID NOS. from 1 to 82.

The diagnostic NotI/EcoRV spots are of two types (FIG. 1). The first type of spot is absent or of decreased intensity in a single tumor type. For example, the NotI site that is part of the CpG island designated 2.B.53, is methylated only in head and neck tumors. Similarly, the NotI site of CpG island 2.F.2 is methylated only in breast tumors.

The second type of spot is absent or of decreased intensity in more than one type of tumor. For example, the NotI/EcoRV spot designated 2.C.24 is missing in gliomas and AMLs. Similarly, the NotI/EcoRV spot designated 3.B.55 is methylated in breast, colon and PNETs.

TABLE I
Diagnostic CpG islands in tumors.
CpG 1st-D 2nd-D Methylated
Island1 (cm)2 (cm)2 Type3 In4:
2.B.53 36.85 9.25 t HN
2.C.24 30.3 5.32 s Abt/Leu
2.C.29 27.8 5.45 s Leu/Hn
2.C.35 29.45 6.9 s Abt/Bre/Cln/Leu/Pbt
2.C.54 32.38 9.42 s Leu/Hn
2.C.57 30.9 8.5 ND Tst
2.C.58 31.2 9.2 s Abt/Leu
2.C.59 30.4 9.35 ND Hn
2.D.10 27.55 5.3 s Leu/Pbt
2.D.14 24.25 4.47 t Leu
2.D.20 26.3 5.3 t Cln
2.D.25 27.15 6.4 ND Bre
2.D.27 25.65 5.82 ND Hn
2.D.34 23.62 6.6 s Leu/Pbt
2.D.40 23.95 7.25 ND Pbt
2.D.48 26.1 8.1 ND Leu
2.D.55 24.2 8.3 s Cln/Leu
2.D.74 23.95 9.35 s Abt/Bre/Cln/Leu
2.E.20 20.6 5.95 ND Pbt
2.E.24 19.35 5.7 s Abt/Leu
2.E.25 18.27 5.65 t Bre
2.E.30 20.35 6.4 s Abt/Bre/Leu
2.E.37 21.42 7.1 ND Bre
2.E.4 21.1 4.48 s Leu/Pbt
2.E.40 NA NA ND Tst
2.E.61 19.4 8.08 s Abt/Pbt
2.E.64 20.5 8.35 s Abt/Cln
2.F.2 17.27 4.72 t Bre
2.F.41 NA NA t Tst
2.F.50 15.23 7 s Abt/Leu
2.F.59 17.49 8 ND Bre
2.F.70 15.88 13.3 s Pbt/Tst
2.G.10 10.29 4.49 s Leu/Tst
2.G.108 7.68 7.44 ND Bre
3.B.30 35.4 12.55 ND Tst
3.B.36 34.2 11.8 s Abt/Cln/Leu/Pbt
3.B.55 NA NA s Bre/Cln/Pbt
3.C.01 31.6 9.7 s Abt/Cln/Leu
3.C.16 27.9 11.8 t Pbt
3.C.17 29.2 10.57 t Cln
3.C.30 31.61 10.37 t Bre
3.C.35 31.6 11.5 t Pbt
3.C.64 29.1 14.05 ND Bre
3.D.21 24.2 10.75 t Leu
3.D.24 23.2 11.03 s Abt/Leu
3.D.35 26.1 11.65 s Abt/Cln/Leu/Pbt
3.D.40 23.4 12.26 s Abt/Cln/Leu
3.D.44 24.45 12.82 t Leu
3.D.60 27.2 12.4 s Abt/Cln/Leu
3.E.04 20.4 14.2 s Hn/Pbt
3.E.50 20.55 10.7 s Hn/Tst
3.E.55 18.78 10.55 s Cln/Leu
3.E.57 18.09 10.9 s Cln/Hn
3.E.59 18.4 9.72 s Abt/Tst
3.F.16 16.6 9.75 ND Leu
3.F.2 16.73 9.35 s Leu/Tst
3.F.50 16.25 11.6 s Cln/Leu/Tst
3.F.72 16.9 13.7 t Leu
3.F.82 13.8 13.12 s Abt/Cln/Leu
3.G.46 9.88 11.5 ND Bre
3.G.78 10 12.93 ND Leu/Pbt
4.B.44 33.7 18.53 s Cln/Hn
4.B.56 33.2 19.45 s Bre/Leu
4.C.05 30 14.9 ND Bre
4.C.25 28.62 17 ND Bre
4.C.42 NA NA ND Tst
4.C.9 30.3 15.3 ND Bre
4.D.07 22.9 14.5 s Leu/Tst
4.D.08 23.5 15 s Abt/Tst
4.D.12 25 14.85 s Abt/Leu/Tst
4.D.13 24.95 15.3 s Abt/Bre
4.D.47 27.6 18.25 s Abt/Leu/Pbt
4.E.53 19.39 18.43 t Leu
4.F.15 13.25 15.45 t Cln
4.F.17 14.1 15.6 s Abt/Bre/Cln
4.F.22 17.56 16.2 s Cln/Hn/Leu
4.F.6 14.85 14.59 ND Bre
4.F.69 12.58 18.86 t Abt
5.D.9 25.17 23.4 t Hn
5.E.2 20.58 19.5 t Bre
5.E.25 18.7 21.3 t Cln
5.E.4 18.45 19.75 s Abt/Bre/Leu

1Y coordinate, X coordinate, fragment number

2NA, spots too close to analyze.

3T, tumor-type specific target of methyaltion; s, shared target of methylation; ND, not determined.

4Types of tumor in which CpG island is methylated: Abt, gliomas; Bre, breast; Cln, colon; Hn, head and neck; Leu, acute myeloid leukemia; Pbt, pediatric brain tumors; Tst, testicular germ cell tumors.

Example 2 Identification of Diagnostic Markers for Lung Cancer Using AscI and RLGS

Tissue from lung tumors was obtained as surgical tissue samples. Where possible, surrounding non-tumor tissue from the same patient was obtained and used as a control. DNA was isolated from the tissue as described in Example 1. In preparation for RLGS analysis, the ends of the DNA were blocked as described in Example 1. The DNA was then digested with AscI followed by digestion with EcoRV. The AscI restriction enzyme recognizes the sequence 5′GGCGCGCC3′ and does not cleave said sequence if cytosines within the sequence are methylated. First dimension gel electrophoresis, in-gel digestion with HinfI, second dimension gel electrophoresis and autoradiography were performed as described in Example 1.

RLGS profiles from lung tumor DNA were compared with RLGS profiles obtained from healthy, non-tumor tissue DNA. Spots which were lost or present at reduced intensity in tumor tissue RLGS profiles as compared to profiles obtained from healthy tissue were noted. Eight spots were lost or altered in the RLGS profiles from multiple lung tumor samples. A compilation of such spots is shown in Table II (lung tumors).

DNA sequence information was obtained from the lung cancer-specific spots. This was done by sequencing individual clones of an AscI/EcoRV library that was made from DNA from healthy tissue. Individual clones of this library that corresponded to spots on the AscI/EcoRV RLGS profile were identified by overloading an RLGS gel with DNA from various groups of library clones, as was described earlier in the specification of this application for the NotI/EcoRV library. After individual clones were matched with spots in the AscI/EcoRV profile, the DNA from the spots that were missing in profiles from the lung tumor DNAs were sequenced. Such sequence information is shown in the attached DNA Sequence Listing.

TABLE II
Diagnostic CpG islands grouped by tumor type.
Tumor type
specific
(+),
shared (−),
or not
Tumor determined CpG island
Library type (ND)1 designation
NotI/EcoRV Breast + 2.E.25, 2.F.2, 3.C.30,
5.E.2
3.B.55, 4.B.56, 4.D.13,
4.F.17, 2.D.74, 2.C.35,
2.E.30, 5.E.4
ND 2.D.25, 2.E.37, 2.F.59,
2.G.108, 3.C.64, 3.G.46,
4.C.05, 4.C.25, 4.C.9,
4.F.6
NotI/EcoRV Colon + 2.D.20, 3.C.17, 4.F.15,
5.E.25
3.E.57, 4.B.44, 4.F.22,
2.D.55, 3.E.55, 3.F.50,
3.B.55, 4.F.17, 2.D.74,
2.C.35, 2.E.64, 3.C.01,
3.D.40, 3.D.60, 3.F.82,
3.B.36, 3.D.35
ND
NotI/EcoRV Glioma + 4.F.69
4.D.13, 4.F.17, 2.D.74,
2.C.35, 2.E.30, 5.E.4,
2.E.64, 3.C.01, 3.D.40,
3.D.60, 3.F.82, 3.B.36,
3.D.35, 2.C.24, 2.C.58,
2.E.24, 2.F.50, 3.D.24,
4.D.47, 4.D.12, 2.E.61,
3.E.59, 4.D.08
ND
NotI/EcoRV Head & neck + 2.B.53, 5.D.9
2.C.29, 2.C.54, 3.E.04,
3.E.50, 3.E.57, 4.B.44,
4.F.22
ND 2.C.59, 2.D.27
NotI/EcoRV Acute + 2.D.14, 3.D.21, 3.D.44,
myelogenous 3.F.72, 4.E.53, 2.C.29,
Leukemia 2.C.54
2.D.10, 2.D.34, 2.E.4,
2.G.10, 3.F.2, 4.D.07,
4.F.22, 2.D.55, 3.E.55,
3.F.50, 2.E.64, 3.C.01,
3.D.40, 3.D.60, 3.F.82,
3.B.36, 3.D.35, 3.C.01,
3.D.40, 3.D.60, 3.F.82,
3.B.36, 3.D.35, 2.C.24,
2.C.58, 2.E.24, 2.F.50,
3.D.24, 4.D.47, 4.D.12
ND 2.D.48, 3.F.16, 3.G.78,
4.B.56
NotI/EcoRV Pediatric + 3.C.16, 3.C.35, 3.E.04
neuroectodermal
tumor of
childhood
2.D.10, 2.D.34, 2.E.4,
3.B.55, 2.C.35, 3.B.36,
3.D.35, 4.D.47, 2.E.61
ND 2.D.40, 2.E.20, 3.G.78
NotI/EcoRV Testicular + 2.F.41
2.G.10, 3.F.2, 4.D.07,
3.E.50, 3.F.50, 4.D.12,
3.E.59, 4.D.08
ND 2.C.57, 2.E.40, 3.B.30,
4.C.42
AscI/EcoRV Lung +
ND A.2.F.45, A.2.F.50,
A.2.F.67, A.3.F.38,
A.4.D.30, A.4.D.36,
A.4.E.32, A.5.E.282

1ND, not determined. Indicates that the designated CpG island was methylated in the indicated tumor type but its methylation in other tumor types was not determined.

2The “A” preceding the X, Y, number designation for the CpG islands indicates that these islands are from the AscI/EcoRV RLGS profile.

Example 3 Design of Primers for Cancer Diagnosis

Primers are designed for diagnosis of cancer using methylation-specific PCR (MSR). The primers are designed to amplify regions of the human genome whose sequences are contained within the library clones disclosed in this application. Two sets of primers are needed for each library clone whose DNA sequence is to be used for diagnosis of cancer. Each primer set is designed to amplify the same region of the genome, said region beginning at the end of a library clone containing the methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme recognition site (i.e., the NotI site for the library described in Example 1; the AscI site for the library described in Example 2) and ending at a region contained within the clone up to 200 nucleotides from the methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme recognition site.

The first set of primers is designed to amplify template genome DNA whose cytosine residues are not methylated and, after bisulfite treatment, the cytosines of said genome DNA are converted to uracil. The second set of primers is designed to amplify template genome DNA which is methylated on cytosines that comprise CpG dinucleotides. Such methylated cytosines are unaffected by bisulfite treatment. Therefore, by using two sets of primers, one set that will amplify only unmethylated DNA and another set that will amplify only methylated DNA, methylation state of the template DNA can be determined. Such methylation state can be diagnostic for cancer.

The primers used for MSR are designed to be from 15 to 34 nucleotides in length and contain within their sequence either CpG dinucleotides or dinucleotides complementary to CpG dinucleotides that have been treated with bisulfite. It is preferred that the 3′ ends of primers used to amplify unmethylated DNA are CpA dinucleotides. It is preferred that the 3′ ends of primers used to amplify methylated DNA are CpG dinucleotides.

For each library clone to be used diagnostically, the first set of primers are designed to amplify genome DNA that is not methylated. After treatment of such genome DNA with bisulfite, all such unmethylated cytosines are converted to uracil. PCR primers that will use such DNA as a template and amplify it, will have adenine residues which are complimentary to these uracils.

For the first set of primers, the 5′ end of one of the primers begins at the end of the library clone containing the methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme recognition site. The sequence of this primer is identical in sequence to the strand of the template which has its 5′ end as part of the methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme site, except that guanine residues are replaced with adenine residues. The adenines allow the primer to hybridize with the template strand in which cytosines have been converted to uracils by bisulfite. This primer extends to a length of between 15 and 32 total nucleotides. Preferably, the 3′ end of said primer ends with a CpA dinucleotide, the adenine of said dinucleotide hybridizing to a uracil which, before bisulfite treatment, had been a cytosine that comprised a CpG dinucleotide.

The diagram below shows implementation of these rules to select a primer that can be used to amplify clone 2.B.53 of the NotI/EcoRV library (Table I and attached sequence listing). In the diagram, I shows the end of the 2.B.53 clone containing the methylation-sensitive NotI site (NotI recognition sequence is shown in bold letters). CpG dinucleotides are shaded. To amplify a region of this clone rightward of the NotI site, the first primer is identical to the top strand of the duplex shown in I. However, since bisulfite treatment of the DNA in I converts cytosines to uracils, guanines within the PCR primer must be replaced with adenines. II shows the sequence of the bottom strand of I after bisulfite treatment converts cytosines to uracils. A primer complementary to the bisulfite-treated bottom strand has the sequence shown in III.

III shows the entire sequence of one of the two primers used to amplify unmethylated genome DNA corresponding to library clone 2.B.53. This primer encompasses 5 CpG dinuceotides, as shown by the shading in I above. Encompassment of 2 or more such CpG dinucleotides is preferred so that this primer will not hybridize to a bisulfite-treated template which contains methylated cytosines. The 3′end of the primer shown in III ends in a CpA dinucleotide. This is also preferred in order to provide maximal discrimination of the primer between methylated and unmethylated template DNA in MSR. The primer shown in III has a length of 31 nucleotides.

The second primer is designed to work with the first primer in PCR amplification such that a fragment of less than about 200 base pairs is amplified. Therefore, this primer is made to a sequence rightward of the sequence shown in I. The sequence of this primer is complementary in sequence to the strand of the template which has its 5′ end as part of the methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme site, except that guanine residues are replaced with adenine residues. This primer is preferably between 15 and 32 nucleotides in length. This primer is also designed to preferably encompass 2 or more CpG dinucleotides. Preferably, the 3′ end of said primer ends with a CpA dinucleotide.

The diagram below shows implementation of these rules to select a primer that can be used to amplify unmethylated genome DNA corresponding to clone 2.B.53 of the NotI/EcoRV library. IV shows a region of the 2.B.53 clone about 70 nucleotides rightward of the sequence in I of the earlier diagram. The CpG dinucleotides within the sequence are shaded. To amplify a region leftward of this region, this second primer must be complementary to the top strand of the duplex shown in IV. However, bisulfite treatment of the DNA in IV converts cytosines to uracils. A primer complementary to this bisulfite-treated top strand has the sequence shown in

VI shows the entire sequence of the second primer used to amplify unmethylated genome DNA corresponding to library clone 2.B.53. This primer encompasses 8 CpG dinucleotides, as shown by the shading in IV. Encompassment of 2 or more such CpG dinucleotides is preferred. The 3′end of the primer shown in VI ends in a CpA dinucleotide. This is also preferred. The primer shown in VI has a length of 31 nucleotides. Together, the first and second primers amplify a PCR fragment of 128 base pairs in length.

The above primers amplify genome DNA that does not contain 5-methylcytosine. The above primers will not amplify genome DNA containing 5-methylcytosines because 5-methylcytosines are not converted to uracils by bisulfite treatement. The two primers already described (III and VI), therefore, will not be complementary to bisulfite-treated genome DNA which is methylated.

Therefore, a second set of primers is designed to amplify genome DNA that is methylated. Methylation in human cells occurs at cytosines that are part of CpG residues. Such methylated cytosines are not converted to uracil by bisulfite treatment. Cytosines that are not part of CpG residues are not methylated and, therefore, are converted to uracil by bisulfite. The primers of the second set are designed to amplify the same region of a library clone as did the first set of primers. But, because the genome DNA contains both cytosines that are methylated and cytosines that are not methylated, the sequences of primers used to amplify such DNA are different than the sequences of the first primer set. Like the first set of primers, however, the primers of the second set are preferably between 15 and 32 nucleotides in length. Preferably the 3′ ends of such primers contain CpG dinucleotides.

The diagram below shows implementation of these rules to select the first of two primers that can be used to amplify methylated genomic DNA corresponding to clone 2.B.53 of the NotI/EcoRV library. In the diagram below, VII shows the end of the 2.B.53 clone containing the NotI site (NotI recognition sequence is bolded). CpG dinucleotides are shaded. Cytosines within said CpG dinucleotides are methylated and are underlined in VII to indicate methylation to 5-methylcytosine. Treatment of the DNA in VII with bisulfite produces a bottom strand with the sequence shown in VIII. In VIII, only unmethylated cytosines are converted to uracil by bisulfite.

A primer complementary to the bisulfite-treated bottom strand shown in VIII is shown in IX. Said primer will prime PCR amplification of sequences rightward of those shown in VII. The primer shown in IX encompasses 5 CpG dinucleotides. Encompassment of 2 or more such CpG dinucleotides is preferred. The 3′ end of the primer shown in IX ends in CpG. This is also preferred. The primer shown in IX has a length of 31 nucleotides.

A second primer is designed to work with the primer shown in 1× to amplify methylated genome template DNA. Design of such a primer is shown below. In the diagram, X shows the same region of clone 2.B.53 (approximately 70 nucleotides rightward of the sequences shown in VII) that is shown in IV. Treatment of the DNA in X with bisulfite produces a top strand with the sequence shown in XI. In XI, only unmethylated cytosines are converted to uracil by bisulfite.

A primer complementary to the bisulfite-treated top strand (XI) has the sequence shown in XII. Said primer will prime PCR amplification of sequences leftward of those shown in X. The primer shown in XII encompasses 8 CpG dinucleotides. Encompassment of 2 or more such CpG dinucleotides is preferred. The 3′ end of the primer shown in XII ends in a CpG dinucleotide. This is also preferred. The primer shown in XII has a length of 31 nucleotides. Together, the first (IX) and second primers (XII) of the second set amplify a PCR fragment of 128 base pairs in length.

Example 4 Use of Oligonucleotides to Diagnose Cancer

The library clones, and DNA sequences within, can be used to detect DNA methylation in a genome at the specific sequences identified by the sequences within the clone. Such detection can be diagnostic for cancer. Various methods can be used for such diagnosis.

  • A. Diagnosis of Cancer Using Methylation-Sensitive Restriction Enzymes Followed by Southern blot

Cleavage or lack of cleavage by a methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme at a specific restriction enzyme recognition site can be detected by a probe for the specific recognition site, using Southern blotting. Genomic DNAs were isolated (as described in Example 1) from tumor tissue from a patient with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Cells from the same patient after chemotherapy and remission of the disease served as a source of control, healthy tissue DNA. The AML and control DNAs were designated as 26T and 26N, respectively. The DNAs were digested with NotI and EcoRV for 4 hours and then electrophoresed through a 0.8% agarose gel. DNA within the gel was depurinated by soaking the gel in 0.2 N HCl for 10 min. The gel was equlibrated in transfer solution (0.5 N NaOH, 1 M NaCl) for 10 min. and then blotted to Zeta Bind-GT nylon membranes (Bio-Rad). Blots were crosslinked with UV light, baked in a vacuum oven and then prehybridized for 1 hour at 65° C. in a solution of 7% SDS, 500 mM sodium phosphate buffer (pH 7.2) and 1 mM EDTA. The blot was hybridized overnight at 65° C. in prehybridization solution with 10 ng of α-32P-labeled probe at a specific activity of 108-109 dpm/μg. The DNA probe used was the 2.C.40 clone from the NotI/EcoRV 2.C.40 library. The purified NotI/EcoRV fragment (50 ng) was labeled with [α-32P]dCTP by random priming using the Prime-It II random-prime labeling kit (Stratagene). The blot was washed with two quick rinses at 65° C. in wash solution 1 (100 mM sodium phosphate buffer, pH 7.2, 0.1% SDS), followed by one 30 min. wash at 65° C. in wash solution 1. The blot was next washed for 30 min. at 65° C. in wash solution 2 (40 mM sodium phosphate buffer, pH 7.2, 0.1% SDS). Bands were visualized by autoradiography using Kodak X-OMAT AR film.

FIG. 2B shows the data. The first 2 lanes of the autoradiograph are relevant. The first lane, labeled 26N is the normal, healthy tissue DNA cleaved with both NotI and EcoRV. The 26N lane shows a band near the bottom of the autoradiograph labeled “NotI/EcoRV.” This is fragment resulting when the NotI site present in the 2.C.40 clone is unmethylated. The adjacent lane, labeled “26T,” is the tumor tissue DNA cleaved with both NotI and EcoRV. It is seen that this band, labeled “EcoRV,” does not migrate as fast as did the 26N band. The reason is that the NotI site present in the 2.C.40 clone is methylated and the NotI enzyme was unable to cleave at this site.

B. Diagnosis of Cancer Using Methylation-Specific PCR (MSR)

MSR is a technique whereby DNA is amplified by PCR dependent upon the methylation state of the DNA. In this example, the specific areas of the genome whose methylation status is to be determined are the regions at the ends of the CpG islands that are demarcated by the methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme recognition sequence. In the case of the NotI/EcoRV RLGS profiles, this is the NotI site. In the case of the AscI/EcoRV RLGS profiles, this is the AscI site, at the end of each clone.

For the purposes of this example, the methylation status of genomic sequences corresponding to the NotI site of clone 2.B.53 of the NotI/EcoRV library is examined. Genomic DNA is first isolated from normal tissue and from tumor tissue, as described in Example 1. This DNA is then treated with bisulfite. This is done by taking 1 μg of genomic DNA in a volume of 50 μl and denaturing said DNA in a final concentration of 0.2 M NaOH. Thirty microliters of 10 mM hydroquinone and 520 μl of 3 M sodium bisulfite, at pH 5.0, are added, mixed and incubated under mineral oil at 50° C. for 16 hours. The modified DNA is then purified using the Wizard DNA purification resin (Promega) and eluted into 50 μl of water. Modification is completed by NaOH (final concentration, 0.3 M) treatment for 5 min. at room temperature, followed by ethanol precipitation. DNA is resuspended in water.

Each genomic DNA is then used in two PCR reactions. One PCR reaction will amplify DNA that is not methylated and has, therefore, been modified by bisulfite. The second PCR reaction will amplify DNA that is methylated. Separate primers are used for each reaction. To determine the methylation status of the NotI site in the genomic DNA which corresponds to the 2.B.53 clone, the two sets of primers described in Example 3 are used. Each PCR reaction contains 1×PCR buffer (16.6 mM ammonium sulfate, 67 mM Tris, pH 8.8, 6.7 mM MgCl2, 10 mM 2-mercaptoethanol), dNTPs (each at 1.25 mM), primers (300 ng each per reaction), and 50 ng bisulfite-modified DNA in a final volume of 50 μl. Separate control reactions are run which contain DNA that has not been modified by bisulfite. Reactions are hot-started at 95° C. for 5 min. before the addition of 1.25 units of Taq polymerase. Amplification is carried out for 35 cycles (30 sec at 95° C., 30 sec at the annealing temperature, and 30 sec at 72° C.), followed by a final 4 min. extension at 72° C. Each PCR reaction is directly loaded onto nondenaturing 6-8% polyacrylamide gels and electrophoresed. Gels are stained with ethidium bromide and visualized under UV illumination.

If input genomic DNA is not methylated at cytosines within CpG dinuceotides at the NotI site corresponding to the end of the 2.B.53 CpG island clone, the PCR reaction using the primers specific for nonmethylated DNA (primers III and VI in Example 3) will produce an amplification product of 128 base pairs in length. Using the same input genomic DNA, the PCR reaction using the primers specific for methylated DNA (primers IX and XII in Example 3) will not produce an amplification product.

If input genomic DNA is methylated at cytosines within CpG dinucleotides at the NotI site corresponding to the end of the 2.B.53 CpG island clone, the PCR reaction using the nonmethylation-specific primers will not produce an amplification product. Using the same input genomic DNA, the PCR reaction using the methylation-specific primers will produce an amplification product of 128 base pairs in length.

Example 5 Detection of Gene Expression

The library clones (Tables I and II) and DNA sequences (attached sequence listing) are useful for determining whether genes encoded within said clones are being transcribed in tumor tissue or cultured cells. To determine transcription, RNA was isolated from five different human glioma cell lines (U87MG, U178, T98G, U251 and LN235) using Trizol (Gibco BRL). Such RNA isolation reagent is known to those skilled in the art. RNAs were quantified using a spectrophotometer and then treated with amplification grade Dnase I (Gibco). The RNA (2 μg) was reverse transcribed by incubation with oligo-dT and random primers in a 20 μl reaction, heated to 70° C. for 10 min. and placed on ice. A mix containing 1× reaction buffer (Gibco), DTT (10 mM), dNTPs (0.5 mM each), and RNAsin (80 U, Promega) was added to each sample. The samples were divided into two tubes, each containing 19 μl, and incubated at 37° C. for 2 min. M-MLV reverse transcriptase (RT, 200 U) was added to one of the two tubes and each was incubated at 37° C. for 1 h. DEPC-treated water (30 μl) was added to each sample and heated in boiling water for 5 min.

PCR amplification of the reverse transcribed RNA was then performed. In this study, transcripts encoded by sequences within the 2.C.24 library clone (Table I) were looked for. A computer search using the BLAST program had identified an open reading frame within the sequence of this library clone. PCR primers were made to this region. Primer 1 was 5′ TGGTGCTGAAGTCGGTGAA 3′. Primer 2 was 5′ GGGCCATCTTCACCATCTG 3′.

These primers (10 pmol of each) were used in 10 μl PCR reactions which contained 1.5 μl of the reverse transcription reaction, 1× reaction buffer, Taq polymerase (0.5 U, Boehringer), and dNTPs (250 μM each). For each gene, separate amplification reactions were carried out using RT-positive and RT-negative reactions as template. Amplification was not detected from the RT-negative reactions. The PCR reactions were carried out by heating the samples to 94° C. for 5 min and then amplifying for 35 cycles, each cycle consisting of 94° C. for 30 sec., a 30 sec. annealing step at 56° C., and 72° C. for 45 sec. The reactions were then incubated at 72° C. for 7 min and cooled to 4. The sample was then electrophoresed through an agarose gel containing ethidium bromide and PCR products were visualized using an Eagle Eye gel documentation system (Stratagene). The correct identity of the PCR products was confirmed by nucleotide sequencing of both strands.

The data showed that no transcripts encoded by this region of the 2.C.24 clone were found in any of the 5 glioma cell lines. Such expressed transcripts are present in RNA obtained from human fetal brain and adult brain.

In addition to examination of cell lines, tumor tissue obtained from patient samples can be similarly tested for the presence of transcripts by one skilled in the art. Other techniques to detect transcripts can also be used. Such techniques include, for example, Northern blot hybridization, RNase protection and primer extension assays.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7465544Jan 11, 2006Dec 16, 2008Wisconsin Alumni Research FoundationSynthetic cofactor analogs of S-adenosylmethionine as ligatable probes of biological methylation and methods for their use
Classifications
U.S. Classification435/6.12, 435/91.2, 702/20, 204/450
International ClassificationG01N33/53, C12Q1/68, G01N27/447, C12N15/09, G01N33/574
Cooperative ClassificationC12Q2600/158, C12Q2600/154, C12Q1/6827, C12Q1/6886
European ClassificationC12Q1/68B6, C12Q1/68M6B