Defining genome-wide DNA methylation patterns in patients with dysplastic colorectal lesions
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States each year. It is well known, in colorectal cancer, that genetic mutation and epigenetic alteration of key genes in the cell cycle, apoptosis, and DNA repair pathways are important in initiation, maintenance, and progression of malignancy. Recent studies have implicated DNA methylation changes precede genetic mutation and lead to an increase in progenitor cells, thus increasing the risk of cancer by expanding the population of cells targeted by genetic alterations. Currently, I am defining DNA methylation changes at promoters across the entire genome in dysplastic colorectal biopsies. By understanding early epigenetic changes we will be better able to screen, diagnose and treat patients with colorectal cancer.