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Efficacy and Feasibility of the Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule (EpCAM) Immunomagnetic Cell Sorter for Studies of DNA Methylation in Colorectal Cancer

Lookup NU author(s): Francesca Migheli, Professor John Mathers



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The aim of this work was to assess the impact on measurements of methylation of a panel of four cancer gene promoters of purifying tumor cells from colorectal tissue samples using the epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM)-immunomagnetic cell enrichment approach. We observed that, on average, methylation levels were higher in enriched cell fractions than in the whole tissue, but the difference was significant only for one out of four studied genes. In addition, there were strong correlations between methylation values for individual samples of whole tissue and the corresponding enriched cell fractions. Therefore, assays on whole tissue are likely to provide reliable estimates of tumor-specific methylation of cancer genes. However, tumor cell tissue separation using immunomagnetic beads could, in some cases, give a more accurate value of gene promoter methylation than the analysis of the whole cancer tissue, although relatively expensive and time-consuming. The efficacy and feasibility of the immunomagnetic cell sorting for methylation studies are discussed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Failli A, Legitimo A, Migheli F, Coppede F, Mathers JC, Spisni R, Miccoli P, Migliore L, Consolini R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Molecular Sciences

Year: 2014

Volume: 15

Issue: 1

Pages: 44-57

Print publication date: 01/01/2014

Online publication date: 20/12/2013

Acceptance date: 13/12/2013

Date deposited: 08/08/2014

ISSN (print): 1661-6596

ISSN (electronic): 1422-0067

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/ijms15010044


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Funder referenceFunder name
Prot.AOOGRT/325424/Q.80.1106/12/2009Pisa University Hospital (AOUP)
Prot.AOOGRT/325424/Q.80.1106/12/2009Istituto Toscano Tumori (ITT)