van der Vos KE, et al. Sci Rep 2020.
Muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) is a heterogeneous disease that often recurs despite aggressive treatment with neoadjuvant chemotherapy and (radical) cystectomy. Basal and luminal molecular subtypes have been identified that are linked to clinical characteristics and have differential sensitivities to chemotherapy. While it has been suggested that epigenetic mechanisms play a role in defining these subtypes, a thorough understanding of the biological mechanisms is lacking. This report
details the first genome-wide analysis of histone methylation patterns of human primary bladder tumours by chromatin immunoprecipitations and next-generation sequencing (ChIP-seq). We profiled multiple histone marks: H3K27me3, a marker for repressed genes, and H3K4me1 and H3K4me3, which are indicators of active enhancers and active promoters. Integrated analysis of ChIP-seq data and RNA sequencing revealed that H3K4 mono-methylation demarcates MIBC subtypes, while no association was found for the other two histone modifications in relation to basal and luminal subtypes. Additionally, we identified differentially methylated H3K4me1 peaks in basal and luminal tumour samples, suggesting that active enhancers play a role in defining subtypes. Our study is the first analysis of histone modifications in primary bladder cancer tissue and provides an important resource for the bladder cancer community.