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

This technology represents 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.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • 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.
  • Malignant adrenocortical tumors can be differentiated from benign tumors, preventing unnecessary invasive or harsh treatment of individuals with benign tumors.
  • 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.

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

Intellectual Property:
US Application No. 61/615,869
PCT Application No. PCT/US13/30347

Collaboration Opportunity:

The National Cancer Institute Endocrine Oncology Branch is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate or commercialize a diagnostic method for adrenocortical cancer through analysis of methylation patterns in tissue. For collaboration opportunities, please contact John Hewes, Ph.D. at Click here to view the NCI collaborative opportunity announcement.

Licensing Contact:
Yolanda Hawkins , Ph.D.
NIH Office of Technology Transfer
Phone: 301-435-5170

OTT Reference No: E-135-2012/0

Updated: Feb-19-2013