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Cancer Research

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Cancer Research

Low income, poor diet, obesity, and a lack of exercise are interrelated lifestyle factors that can profoundly alter our biologic make up to increase cancer risk, growth, and development. We recently reported a potential mechanistic link between carbohydrate-derived metabolites and cancer, which may provide a biologic consequence of lifestyle that can directly affect tumor biology. Advanced glycation end-products (AGE) are reactive metabolites produced as a by-product of sugar metabolism. Failure to remove these highly reactive metabolites can lead to protein damage, aberrant cell signaling, increased stress responses, and decreased genetic fidelity. Critically, AGE accumulation is also directly affected by our lifestyle choices and shows a race-specific, tumor-dependent pattern of accumulation in cancer patients. This review will discuss the contribution of AGEs to the cancer phenotype, with a particular emphasis on their biologic links with the socioeconomic and environmental risk factors that drive cancer disparity. Given the potential benefits of lifestyle changes and the potential biologic role of AGEs in promoting cancer, opportunities exist for collaborations affecting basic, translational, epidemiologic, and cancer prevention initiatives. Cancer Res; 75(10); 1925–9. ©2015 AACR.

This is an exciting time to be in cancer medicine. New technologies, such as next-generation sequencing (NGS), have increased our understanding of the molecular aberrations that define cancer. This, in turn, has led to the identification of cancer-specific molecular targets and potential drugs to confront these targets. As these new technologies move toward clinical application, a new vocabulary of “genome medicine” has been introduced to the field of oncology. Unfortunately, unclear or incorrect use of the new terminology has led to semantic misunderstandings that impair communication between the basic research and clinical practice arenas. These misunderstandings have led to assumptions regarding the clinical application of NGS and other technologies that may or may not be true. For example, some organizations that perform NGS testing on clinical samples have endorsed use of the results of such tests to direct specific therapies based on laboratory hypotheses, but without clinical testing of the hypotheses to show utility for these potential predictive claims. Here, we review some simple, and hopefully universally acceptable, definitions, concepts, and trial designs so that laboratory researchers and clinicians can move closer toward speaking the same language. Cancer Res; 75(10); 1930–5. ©2015 AACR.

Claudin-low breast cancer (CLBC) is a poor prognosis disease biologically characterized by stemness and mesenchymal features. These tumors disproportionately affect younger patients and women with African ancestry, causing significant morbidity and mortality, and no effective targeted therapy exists at present. CLBC is thought to originate from mammary stem cells, but little is known on how or why these tumors express a stable epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition phenotype, or what are the driving forces of this disease. Here, we report that Manic Fringe (Mfng), which encodes an O-fucosylpeptide 3-β-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase known to modify EGF repeats in the Notch extracellular domain, is highly expressed in CLBC and functions as an oncogene in this context. We show that Mfng modulates Notch activation in human and mouse CLBC cell lines, as well as in mouse mammary gland. Mfng silencing in CLBC cell lines reduced cell migration, tumorsphere formation, and in vivo tumorigenicity associated with a decrease in the stem-like cell population. Mfng deletion in the Lfngflox/flox;MMTV-Cre mouse model, in which one-third of mammary tumors resemble human CLBC, caused a tumor subtype shift away from CLBC. We identified the phosphoinositide kinase Pik3cg as a direct transcriptional target of Mfng-facilitated RBPJκ-dependent Notch signaling. Indeed, pharmacologic inhibition of PI3Kγ in CLBC cell lines blocked migration and tumorsphere formation. Taken together, our results define Mfng as an oncogene acting through Notch-mediated induction of Pik3cg. Furthermore, they suggest that targeting PI3Kγ may prove beneficial for the treatment of CLBC subtype. Cancer Res; 75(10); 1936–43. ©2015 AACR.

Whole-exome sequencing of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) reveals that 5% to 7% of tumors harbor promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger (PLZF) protein homozygous deletions. PLZF is a canonical androgen-regulated putative tumor suppressor gene whose expression is inhibited by androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Here, we demonstrate that knockdown of PLZF expression promotes a CRPC and enzalutamide-resistant phenotype in prostate cancer cells. Reintroduction of PLZF expression is sufficient to reverse androgen-independent growth mediated by PLZF depletion. PLZF loss enhances CRPC tumor growth in a xenograft model. Bioinformatic analysis of the PLZF cistrome shows that PLZF negatively regulates multiple pathways, including the MAPK pathway. Accordingly, our data support an oncogenic program activated by ADT. This acquired mechanism together with the finding of genetic loss in CRPC implicates PLZF inactivation as a mechanism promoting ADT resistance and the CRPC phenotype. Cancer Res; 75(10); 1944–8. ©2015 AACR.

Assessing the functional significance of novel putative oncogenes remains a significant challenge given the limitations of current loss-of-function tools. Here, we describe a method that employs TALEN or CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knock-in of inducible degron tags (Degron-KI) that provides a versatile approach for the functional characterization of novel cancer genes and addresses many of the shortcomings of current tools. The Degron-KI system allows for highly specific, inducible, and allele-targeted inhibition of endogenous protein function, and the ability to titrate protein depletion with this system is able to better mimic pharmacologic inhibition compared with RNAi or genetic knockout approaches. The Degron-KI system was able to faithfully recapitulate the effects of pharmacologic EZH2 and PI3Kα inhibitors in cancer cell lines. The application of this system to the study of a poorly understood putative oncogene, SF3B1, provided the first causal link between SF3B1 hotspot mutations and splicing alterations. Surprisingly, we found that SF3B1-mutant cells are not dependent upon the mutated allele for in vitro growth, but instead depend upon the function of the remaining wild-type alleles. Collectively, these results demonstrate the broad utility of the Degron-KI system for the functional characterization of cancer genes. Cancer Res; 75(10); 1949–58. ©2015 AACR.

The tumor microenvironment counters antitumor T-cell responses, in part, by blunting their activation and infiltration. Ligands that engage Toll-like receptors (TLR) on T cells and antigen-presenting cells can act as potent immune adjuvants. In this study, we show how tumor-reactive T cells engineered to secrete bacterial flagellin, a TLR5 ligand (TLR5L), can engender a costimulatory signal that augments antitumor activity. Human T cells engineered to express TLR5L along with DMF5, a T-cell receptor that recognizes the melanoma antigen MART-127–35 (DMF5TLR5L T cells), displayed increased proliferation, cytokine production, and cytolytic activity against melanoma cells. In a xenogenetic model, adoptive transfer of DMF5TLR5L T cells reduced tumor growth kinetics and prolonged mouse survival. In a syngeneic model, similarly engineered melanoma-reactive T cells (pmelTLR5L) displayed a relative increase in antitumor activity against established tumors, compared with unmodified T cells. In this model, we documented increased T-cell infiltration associated with increased levels of CCR1 and CXCR3 levels on T cells, a reduction in PD-1+Lag3+ T cells and CD11+Gr1+ myeloid-derived suppressor cells, and changes in the chemokine/cytokine profile of tumors. Our findings show how T cell–mediated delivery of a TLR agonist to the tumor site can contribute to antitumor efficacy, in the context of adoptive T-cell immunotherapy. Cancer Res; 75(10); 1959–71. ©2015 AACR.

It is not well understood how paracrine communication between basal and luminal cell populations in the mammary gland affects tumorigenesis. During ErbB2-induced mammary tumorigenesis, enriched mammary stem cells that represent a subpopulation of basal cells exhibit enhanced tumorigenic capacity compared with the corresponding luminal progenitors. Transcript profiling of tumors derived from basal and luminal tumor-initiating cells (TIC) revealed preferential loss of the noncanonical Wnt ligand WNT5A in basal TIC-derived tumors. Heterozygous loss of WNT5A was correlated with shorter survival of breast cancer patients. In a mouse model of ErbB2-induced breast cancer, Wnt5a heterozygosity promoted tumor multiplicity and pulmonary metastasis. As a TGFβ substrate, luminal cell-produced WNT5A induced a feed-forward loop to activate SMAD2 in a RYK and TGFβR1-dependent manner to limit the expansion of basal TIC in a paracrine fashion, a potential explanation for the suppressive effect of WNT5A in mammary tumorigenesis. Our results identify the WNT5A/RYK module as a spatial regulator of the TGFβ–SMAD signaling pathway in the context of mammary gland development and carcinogenesis, offering a new perspective on tumor suppression provided by basal–luminal cross-talk in normal mammary tissue. Cancer Res; 75(10); 1972–82. ©2015 AACR.

The avidity of the T-cell receptor (TCR) for antigenic peptides presented by the peptide–MHC (pMHC) on cells is a key parameter for cell-mediated immunity. Yet a fundamental feature of most tumor antigen-specific CD8+ T cells is that this avidity is low. In this study, we addressed the need to identify and select tumor-specific CD8+ T cells of highest avidity, which are of the greatest interest for adoptive cell therapy in patients with cancer. To identify these rare cells, we developed a peptide–MHC multimer technology, which uses reversible Ni2+-nitrilotriacetic acid histidine tags (NTAmers). NTAmers are highly stable but upon imidazole addition, they decay rapidly to pMHC monomers, allowing flow-cytometric–based measurements of monomeric TCR–pMHC dissociation rates of living CD8+ T cells on a wide avidity spectrum. We documented strong correlations between NTAmer kinetic results and those obtained by surface plasmon resonance. Using NTAmers that were deficient for CD8 binding to pMHC, we found that CD8 itself stabilized the TCR–pMHC complex, prolonging the dissociation half-life several fold. Notably, our NTAmer technology accurately predicted the function of large panels of tumor-specific T cells that were isolated prospectively from patients with cancer. Overall, our results demonstrated that NTAmers are effective tools to isolate rare high-avidity cytotoxic T cells from patients for use in adoptive therapies for cancer treatment. Cancer Res; 75(10); 1983–91. ©2015 AACR.

Prostate cancer is the second leading form of cancer-related death in men. In a subset of prostate cancer patients, increased chemokine signaling IL8 and IL6 correlates with castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). IL8 and IL6 are produced by prostate epithelial cells and promote prostate cancer cell invasion; however, the mechanisms restraining prostate epithelial cell cytokine secretion are poorly understood. Herein, the cell-fate determinant factor DACH1 inhibited CRPC tumor growth in mice. Using Dach1fl/fl/Probasin-Cre bitransgenic mice, we show IL8 and IL6 secretion was altered by approximately 1,000-fold by endogenous Dach1. Endogenous Dach1 is shown to serve as a key endogenous restraint to prostate epithelial cell growth and restrains migration via CXCL signaling. DACH1 inhibited expression, transcription, and secretion of the CXCL genes (IL8 and IL6) by binding to their promoter regulatory regions in chromatin. DACH1 is thus a newly defined determinant of benign and malignant prostate epithelium cellular growth, migration, and cytokine abundance in vivo. Cancer Res; 75(10); 1992–2004. ©2015 AACR.

IDH1 and IDH2 mutations occur frequently in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and other cancers. The mutant isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) enzymes convert α-ketoglutarate (α-KG) to the oncometabolite 2-hydroxyglutarate (2-HG), which dysregulates a set of α-KG–dependent dioxygenases. To determine whether mutant IDH enzymes are valid targets for cancer therapy, we created a mouse model of AML in which mice were transplanted with nucleophosmin1 (NPM)+/− hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells cotransduced with four mutant genes (NPMc, IDH2/R140Q, DNMT3A/R882H, and FLT3/ITD), which often occur simultaneously in human AML patients. Conditional deletion of IDH2/R140Q blocked 2-HG production and maintenance of leukemia stem cells, resulting in survival of the AML mice. IDH2/R140Q was necessary for the engraftment or survival of NPMc+ cells in vivo. Gene expression analysis indicated that NPMc increased expression of Hoxa9. IDH2/R140Q also increased the level of Meis1 and activated the hypoxia pathway in AML cells. IDH2/R140Q decreased the 5hmC modification and expression of some differentiation-inducing genes (Ebf1 and Spib). Taken together, our results indicated that IDH2 mutation is critical for the development and maintenance of AML stem-like cells, and they provided a preclinical justification for targeting mutant IDH enzymes as a strategy for anticancer therapy. Cancer Res; 75(10); 2005–16. ©2015 AACR.

Muscle-invasive urothelial carcinomas of the bladder (MIUCB) exhibit frequent receptor tyrosine kinase alterations, but the precise nature of their contributions to tumor pathophysiology is unclear. Using mutant HRAS (HRAS*) as an oncogenic prototype, we obtained evidence in transgenic mice that RTK/RAS pathway activation in urothelial cells causes hyperplasia that neither progresses to frank carcinoma nor regresses to normal urothelium through a period of one year. This persistent hyperplastic state appeared to result from an equilibrium between promitogenic factors and compensatory tumor barriers in the p19–MDM2–p53–p21 axis and a prolonged G2 arrest. Conditional inactivation of p53 in urothelial cells of transgenic mice expressing HRAS* resulted in carcinoma in situ and basal-subtype MIUCB with focal squamous differentiation resembling the human counterpart. The transcriptome of microdissected MIUCB was enriched in genes that drive epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, the upregulation of which is associated with urothelial cells expressing multiple progenitor/stem cell markers. Taken together, our results provide evidence for RTK/RAS pathway activation and p53 deficiency as a combinatorial theranostic biomarker that may inform the progression and treatment of urothelial carcinoma. Cancer Res; 75(10); 2017–28. ©2015 AACR.

Aneuploidy is frequently detected in human cancers and is implicated in carcinogenesis. Pharmacologic targeting of aneuploidy is an attractive therapeutic strategy, as this would preferentially eliminate malignant over normal cells. We previously discovered that CDK2 inhibition causes lung cancer cells with more than two centrosomes to undergo multipolar cell division leading to apoptosis, defined as anaphase catastrophe. Cells with activating KRAS mutations were especially sensitive to CDK2 inhibition. Mechanisms of CDK2-mediated anaphase catastrophe and how activated KRAS enhances this effect were investigated. Live-cell imaging provided direct evidence that following CDK2 inhibition, lung cancer cells develop multipolar anaphase and undergo multipolar cell division with the resulting progeny apoptotic. The siRNA-mediated repression of the CDK2 target and centrosome protein CP110 induced anaphase catastrophe of lung cancer cells. In contrast, CP110 overexpression antagonized CDK2 inhibitor–mediated anaphase catastrophe. Furthermore, activated KRAS mutations sensitized lung cancer cells to CDK2 inhibition by deregulating CP110 expression. Thus, CP110 is a critical mediator of CDK2 inhibition–driven anaphase catastrophe. Independent examination of murine and human paired normal–malignant lung tissues revealed marked upregulation of CP110 in malignant versus normal lung. Human lung cancers with KRAS mutations had significantly lower CP110 expression as compared with KRAS wild-type cancers. Thus, a direct link was found between CP110 and CDK2 inhibitor antineoplastic response. CP110 plays a mechanistic role in response of lung cancer cells to CDK2 inhibition, especially in the presence of activated KRAS mutations. Cancer Res; 75(10); 2029–38. ©2015 AACR.

Temozolomide is used widely to treat malignant glioma, but the overall response to this agent is generally poor. Resistance to DNA-damaging drugs such as temozolomide has been related to the induction of antiapoptotic proteins. Specifically, the transcription factor NF-κB has been suggested to participate in promoting the survival of cells exposed to chemotherapy. To identify factors that modulate cytotoxicity in the setting of DNA damage, we used an unbiased strategy to examine the NF-κB–dependent expression profile induced by temozolomide. By this route, we defined the decoy receptor DcR1 as a temozolomide response gene induced by a mechanism relying upon p50/NF-κB1. A conserved NF-κB–binding sequence (κB-site) was identified in the proximal promoter and was demonstrated to be required for DcR1 induction by temozolomide. Loss-of-function and gain-of-function studies reveal that the atypical IκB protein, Bcl3, is also required for induction of DcR1 by temozolomide. Mechanistically, DcR1 attenuates temozolomide efficacy by blunting activation of the Fas receptor pathway in p53+/+ glioma cells. Intracranial xenograft studies show that DcR1 depletion in glioma cells enhances the efficacy of temozolomide. Taken together, our results show how DcR1 upregulation mediates temozolomide resistance and provide a rationale for DcR1 targeting as a strategy to sensitize gliomas to this widely used chemotherapy. Cancer Res; 75(10); 2039–48. ©2015 AACR.

Retinoid X receptor alpha (RXRα) and its N-terminally truncated version, tRXRα, are widely implicated in cancer development and represent intriguing targets for cancer prevention and treatment. Successful manipulation of RXRα and tRXRα requires the identification of their modulators that could produce therapeutic effects. Here, we report that a class of nitrostyrene derivatives bind to RXRα by a unique mechanism, of which the nitro group of nitrostyrene derivatives and Cys432 of RXRα are required for binding. The binding results in the potent activation of Gal4-DBD-RXRα-LBD transactivation. However, the binding inhibits the transactivation of RXRα homodimer, which might be due to the distinct conformation of RXRα homodimer induced by these nitrostyrene derivatives. Two RXRα point mutants with Cys432 substituted with Tyr and Trp, respectively, could mimic the bindings of two nitrostyrene derivatives and have the ability of autotransactivation. In studying the functional consequences of the binding, we show that these nitrostyrene derivatives could potently inhibit the TNFα/NFκB signaling pathway in a tRXRα-dependent manner. tRXRα promotes TNFα-induced NF-κB activation through its interaction with TRAF2 and enhances TNFα-induced ubiquitination of RIP1, which is strongly inhibited by nitrostyrene derivatives. The inhibition of TNFα-induced NF-κB activation results in the synergistic effect of the combination of nitrostyrene derivatives and TNFα on the induction of cancer cell apoptosis. Together, our results show a new class of RXRα modulators that induce apoptosis of cancer cells through their unique binding mode and new mechanism of action. Cancer Res; 75(10); 2049–60. ©2015 AACR.

Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) are the most common adult sarcomas and the oncogenic driver is usually a KIT or PDGFRA mutation. Although GISTs are often initially sensitive to imatinib or other tyrosine kinase inhibitors, resistance generally develops, necessitating backup strategies for therapy. In this study, we determined that a subset of human GIST specimens that acquired imatinib resistance acquired expression of activated forms of the MET oncogene. MET activation also developed after imatinib therapy in a mouse model of GIST (KitV558del/+ mice), where it was associated with increased tumor hypoxia. MET activation also occurred in imatinib-sensitive human GIST cell lines after imatinib treatment in vitro. MET inhibition by crizotinib or RNA interference was cytotoxic to an imatinib-resistant human GIST cell population. Moreover, combining crizotinib and imatinib was more effective than imatinib alone in imatinib-sensitive GIST models. Finally, cabozantinib, a dual MET and KIT small-molecule inhibitor, was markedly more effective than imatinib in multiple preclinical models of imatinib-sensitive and imatinib-resistant GIST. Collectively, our findings showed that activation of compensatory MET signaling by KIT inhibition may contribute to tumor resistance. Furthermore, our work offered a preclinical proof of concept for MET inhibition by cabozantinib as an effective strategy for GIST treatment. Cancer Res; 75(10); 2061–70. ©2015 AACR.

Drug resistance remains a major clinical challenge for cancer treatment. Multiple myeloma is an incurable plasma cell cancer selectively localized in the bone marrow. The main cause of resistance in myeloma is the minimal residual disease cells that are resistant to the original therapy, including bortezomib treatment and high-dose melphalan in stem cell transplant. In this study, we demonstrate that altered tumor cell metabolism is essential for the regulation of drug resistance in multiple myeloma cells. We show the unprecedented role of the metabolic phenotype in inducing drug resistance through LDHA and HIF1A in multiple myeloma, and that specific inhibition of LDHA and HIF1A can restore sensitivity to therapeutic agents such as bortezomib and can also inhibit tumor growth induced by altered metabolism. Knockdown of LDHA can restore sensitivity of bortezomib resistance cell lines while gain-of-function studies using LDHA or HIF1A induced resistance in bortezomib-sensitive cell lines. Taken together, these data suggest that HIF1A and LDHA are important targets for hypoxia-driven drug resistance. Novel drugs that regulate metabolic pathways in multiple myeloma, specifically targeting LDHA, can be beneficial to inhibit tumor growth and overcome drug resistance. Cancer Res; 75(10); 2071–82. ©2015 AACR.

Lymphatic invasion and accumulation of continuous collagen bundles around tumor cells are associated with poor melanoma prognosis, but the underlying mechanisms and molecular determinants have remained unclear. We show here that a copy-number gain or overexpression of the membrane-type matrix metalloproteinase MMP16 (MT3-MMP) is associated with poor clinical outcome, collagen bundle assembly around tumor cell nests, and lymphatic invasion. In cultured WM852 melanoma cells derived from human melanoma metastasis, silencing of MMP16 resulted in cell-surface accumulation of the MMP16 substrate MMP14 (MT1-MMP) as well as L1CAM cell adhesion molecule, identified here as a novel MMP16 substrate. When limiting the activities of these trans-membrane protein substrates toward pericellular collagen degradation, cell junction disassembly, and blood endothelial transmigration, MMP16 supported nodular-type growth of adhesive collagen-surrounded melanoma cell nests, coincidentally steering cell collectives into lymphatic vessels. These results uncover a novel mechanism in melanoma pathogenesis, whereby restricted collagen infiltration and limited mesenchymal invasion are unexpectedly associated with the properties of the most aggressive tumors, revealing MMP16 as a putative indicator of adverse melanoma prognosis. Cancer Res; 75(10); 2083–94. ©2015 AACR.

Precociously disseminated cancer cells may seed quiescent sites of future metastasis if they can protect themselves from immune surveillance. However, there is little knowledge about how such sites might be achieved. Here, we present evidence that prostate cancer stem–like cells (CSC) can be found in histopathologically negative prostate draining lymph nodes (PDLN) in mice harboring oncogene-driven prostate intraepithelial neoplasia (mPIN). PDLN-derived CSCs were phenotypically and functionally identical to CSC obtained from mPIN lesions, but distinct from CSCs obtained from frank prostate tumors. CSC derived from either PDLN or mPIN used the extracellular matrix protein Tenascin-C (TNC) to inhibit T-cell receptor–dependent T-cell activation, proliferation, and cytokine production. Mechanistically, TNC interacted with α5β1 integrin on the cell surface of T cells, inhibiting reorganization of the actin-based cytoskeleton therein required for proper T-cell activation. CSC from both PDLN and mPIN lesions also expressed CXCR4 and migrated in response to its ligand CXCL12, which was overexpressed in PDLN upon mPIN development. CXCR4 was critical for the development of PDLN-derived CSC, as in vivo administration of CXCR4 inhibitors prevented establishment in PDLN of an immunosuppressive microenvironment. Taken together, our work establishes a pivotal role for TNC in tuning the local immune response to establish equilibrium between disseminated nodal CSC and the immune system. Cancer Res; 75(10); 2095–108. ©2015 AACR.

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is highly amplified, mutated, and overexpressed in human malignant gliomas. Despite its prevalence and growth-promoting functions, therapeutic strategies to inhibit EGFR kinase activity have not been translated into profound beneficial effects in glioma clinical trials. To determine the roles of oncogenic EGFR signaling in gliomagenesis and tumor maintenance, we generated a novel glioma mouse model driven by inducible expression of a mutant EGFR (EGFR*). Using combined genetic and pharmacologic interventions, we revealed that EGFR*-driven gliomas were insensitive to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors, although they could efficiently inhibit EGFR* autophosphorylation in vitro and in vivo. This is in contrast with the genetic suppression of EGFR* induction that led to significant tumor regression and prolonged animal survival. However, despite their initial response to genetic EGFR* extinction, all tumors would relapse and propagate independent of EGFR*. We further showed that EGFR*-independent tumor cells existed prior to treatment and were responsible for relapse following genetic EGFR* suppression. And, the addition of a PI3K/mTOR inhibitor could significantly delay relapse and prolong animal survival. Our findings shed mechanistic insight into EGFR drug resistance in glioma and provide a platform to test therapies targeting aberrant EGFR signaling in this setting. Cancer Res; 75(10); 2109–19. ©2015 AACR.

Chronic inflammation represents a major risk factor for tumor formation, but the underlying mechanisms have remained largely unknown. Epigenetic mechanisms can record the effects of environmental challenges on the genome level and could therefore play an important role in the pathogenesis of inflammation-associated tumors. Using single-base methylation maps and transcriptome analyses of a colitis-induced mouse colon cancer model, we identified a novel epigenetic program that is characterized by hypermethylation of DNA methylation valleys that are characterized by low CpG density and active chromatin marks. This program is conserved and functional in mouse intestinal adenomas and results in silencing of active intestinal genes that are involved in gastrointestinal homeostasis and injury response. Further analyses reveal that the program represents a prominent feature of human colorectal cancer and can be used to correctly classify colorectal cancer samples with high accuracy. Together, our results show that inflammatory signals establish a novel epigenetic program that silences a specific set of genes that contribute to inflammation-induced cellular transformation. Cancer Res; 75(10); 2120–30. ©2015 AACR.