DNA methylation is a key regulator of gene expression and a clinical therapeutic predictor. We examined global DNA methylation beyond the generally used promoter areas in human small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and find that gene body methylation is a robust positive predictor of gene expression. Combining promoter and gene body methylation better predicts gene expression than promoter methylation alone including genes involved in the neuroendocrine classification of SCLC and the expression of therapeutically relevant genes including MGMT, SLFN11, and DLL3. Importantly, for super-enhancer (SE) covered genes such as NEUROD1 or MYC, using H3K27ac and NEUROD1, ASCL1, and POU2F3 ChIP-seq data, we show that genic methylation is inversely proportional to expression, thus providing a new approach to identify potential SE regulated genes involved in SCLC pathogenesis. To advance SCLC transitional research, these data are integrated into our web portal (https://discover.nci.nih.gov/SclcCellMinerCDB/) for open and easy access to basic and clinical investigators.
- Cancer systems biology
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