There is increasing evidence that stromal myofibroblasts play a key role in the tumour development however, the mechanisms by which they become reprogrammed to assist in cancer progression remain unclear. As cultured cancer-associated myofibroblasts (CAMs) retain an ability to enhance the proliferation and migration of cancer cells in vitro, it is possible that epigenetic reprogramming of CAMs within the tumour microenvironment may confer long-term pro-tumourigenic changes in gene expression. This study reports the first comparative multi-omics analysis of cancer-related changes in gene expression and DNA methylation in primary myofibroblasts derived from gastric and oesophageal tumours. In addition, we identify novel CAM-specific DNA methylation signatures, which are not observed in patient-matched adjacent tissue-derived myofibroblasts, or corresponding normal tissue-derived myofibroblasts. Analysis of correlated changes in DNA methylation and gene expression shows that different patterns of gene-specific DNA methylation have the potential to confer pro-tumourigenic changes in metabolism, cell signalling and differential responses to hypoxia. These molecular signatures provide new insights into potential mechanisms of stromal reprogramming in gastric and oesophageal cancer, while also providing a new resource to facilitate biomarker identification and future hypothesis-driven studies into mechanisms of stromal reprogramming and tumour progression in solid tumours.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research