Clinically relevant aberrant Filip1l DNA methylation detected in a murine model of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma

Kevin Roth, Louis Coussement, Elena Knatko, Maureen Higgins, Sandra Steyaert, Charlotte Proby, Tim de Meyer, Albena Dinkova-Kostova (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (cSCC) are among the most common and highly mutated human malignancies. Understanding the impact of DNA methylation in cSCC may provide avenues for new therapeutic strategies.

Methods: We used reduced-representation bisulfite sequencing for DNA methylation analysis of murine cSCC. Differential methylation was assessed at the CpG level using limma. Next, we compared with human cSCC Infinium HumanMethylation BeadArray data. Genes were considered to be of major relevance when they featured at least one significantly differentially methylated CpGs (RRBS) / probes (Infinium) with at least a 30% difference between tumour vs. control in both a murine gene and its human orthologue. The human EPIC Infinium data were used to distinguish two cSCC subtypes, stem-cell-like and keratinocyte-like tumours.

Findings: We found increased average methylation in mouse cSCC (by 12.8%, p = 0.0011) as well as in stem-cell like (by 3.1%, p=0.002), but not keratinocyte-like (0.2%, p = 0.98), human cSCC. Comparison of differentially methylated genes revealed striking similarities between human and mouse cSCC. Locus specific methylation changes in mouse cSCC often occurred in regions of potential regulatory function, including enhancers and promoters. A key differentially methylated region was located in a potential enhancer of the tumour suppressor gene Filip1l and its expression was reduced in mouse tumours. Moreover, the FILIP1L locus showed hypermethylation in human cSCC and lower expression in human cSCC cell lines.

Interpretation: Deregulation of DNA methylation is an important feature of murine and human cSCC that likely contributes to silencing of tumour suppressor genes, as shown for Filip1l.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103383
Number of pages12
Early online date13 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • DNA methylation
  • RRBS
  • cSCC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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