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Benign Tissue or Malignant Tumors? Using CpG Dinucleotide Methylation Patterns to Diagnose Cancer in the Adrenal Glands and Adre

Posted Jul 02 2012 8:00pm

Description of Invention:
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have developed new methods to distinguish malignant adrenocortical tumors from benign tumors and normal tissue in the adrenal glands/cortex using the methylation patterns of cytosine-phosphate-guanine dinucleotide (CpG) sequences. A biopsy or other noninvasive means of tissue or fluid collection to obtain patient nucleic acid can allow clinicians to test an individual's CpG methylation patterns to diagnose if the individual's sample is malignant and if a malignancy is a primary or metastatic adrenocortical tumor. Different CpG methylation patterns comparing normal/benign and malignant tissues may also serve as target sites for developing adrenocortical cancer therapies. Genes where increased CpG methylation is predictive of malignancy include KCTD12, KIRREL, SYNGR1, and NTGN2, as well as other secondary sequences.

Adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys and release stress response hormones. The CpG methylation patterns of 5-methylcytosines at CpG sites can alter gene expression, which can impact if a tumor will develop benign or malignant properties and influence its metastatic potential. Effective diagnosis of these tumors will improve adrenal cancer therapy and help avoid unnecessary surgery or chemotherapy for patients with benign tumors.

  • Nucleic acid-based diagnostic tests or kits to identify malignant adrenocortical tumors and distinguish them from common benign tumors or normal adrenocortical tissue
  • Identify CpG methylation sequences and patterns that could serve as targets for nonsurgical therapeutic interventions against adrenocortical tumors
  • Companion diagnostic test for candidate demethylation agent therapies for treating adrenocortical malignancies

  • Removal of adrenal malignancies is currently the only cure, but most patients are not candidates for surgery. Benign adrenal tumors are common, but treated by clinicians as a precaution, mainly with harsh chemotherapy. Now, malignant adrenocortical tumors can be differentiated from benign tumors, so that individuals with benign tumors are not treated unnecessarily.
  • A minimally invasive biopsy or tissue collection to measure DNA methylation could avoid unnecessary invasive surgery/harsh chemotherapy and lead to more assured treatment of malignant tumors.

Development Status:
  • Pre-clinical
  • In vitro data available

Electron Kebebew (NCI)
Nesrin S Rechache (NCI)
Paul S Meltzer (NCI)
Yonghong Wang (NCI)

Patent Status:
HHS, Reference No. E-135-2012/0
US, Application No. 61/615,869 filed 26 Mar 2012

Related Technologies:
US, Application No. 12/961,298 filed 06 Dec 2010, Reference No. E-026-2011/0
PCT, Application No. PCT/US2011/040648 filed 16 Jun 2011, Reference No. E-026-2011/0

Relevant Publication:
  1. Rechache N, et al. [ PMID 22472567 ]

For Licensing Information Please Contact:
Samuel Bish Ph.D.
NIH Office of Technology Transfer
6011 Executive Blvd. Suite 325,
Rockville, MD 20852
United States
Phone: 301-435-5282
Fax: 301-402-0220

Ref No: 2457

Updated: 07/2012

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