Loss of IGF2 Imprinting: A Potential Marker of Colorectal Cancer Risk

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Science  14 Mar 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5613, pp. 1753-1755
DOI: 10.1126/science.1080902

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Loss of imprinting (LOI), an epigenetic alteration affecting the insulin-like growth factor II gene (IGF2), is found in normal colonic mucosa of about 30% of colorectal cancer (CRC) patients, but it is found in only 10% of healthy individuals. In a pilot study to investigate the utility of LOI as a marker of CRC risk, we evaluated 172 patients at a colonoscopy clinic. The adjusted odds ratio for LOI in lymphocytes was 5.15 for patients with a positive family history [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 1.70 to 16.96; probability P = 0.002], 3.46 for patients with adenomas (95% CI, 1.14 to 11.37; P = 0.026), and 21.7 for patients with CRC (95% CI, 3.48 to 153.6; P = 0.0005). LOI can be assayed with a DNA-based blood test, and it may be a valuable predictive marker of an individual's risk for CRC.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: afeinberg{at}

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