Division of Epigenomics and Cancer Risk Factors

Major Research Topics

  • Epigenetic characterization of major malignancies, including leukemia, lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, head and neck cancer, and pancreatic cancer
  • Genome-wide screens for the identification of aberrant DNA methylation
  • Characterization of genes identified as epigenetic targets
  • Mechanisms of epigenetic gene regulation
  • Development of mouse models relevant for epigenetic studies
  • Development of novel biomarkers relevant for chemoprevention, early diagnosis and treatment response

Selected references

  • Costello JF, Frühwald MC, Smiraglia DJ, Rush L, Robertson GP, Gao X, Wright F, Feramisco JD, Peltomäki P, Lang JC, Schuller DE, Yu L, Bloomfield C, Caligiuri M, Yates A, Nishikawa R, Su Huang H-J, Petrelli NJ, Zhang X, O’Dorisio MS, Held WA, Cavenee WK, Plass C. Aberrant CpG island methylation has non-random and tumor type specific patterns. Nat Genet 25:132-138, 2000. Abstract
  • Yu L, Liu C, Vandeusen J, Becknell B, Dai Z, Wu Y, Raval A, Liu T, Ding W, Mao C, Liu S, Smith LT, Lee S, Rassenti L, Marcucci G, Byrd J, Caligiuri MA and Plass C. Global assessment of promoter methylation in a murine model of cancer identifies ID4 as a putative novel tumor suppressor gene in human leukemia. Nat Genet 37:265-274, 2005. Abstract
  • Raval A, Tanner S, Byrd J, Angerman E, Perko J, Chen S-S, Grever M, Lucas D, Matkovic J, Lin T, Kipps T, Murry F, Weisenburger D, Sanger W, Lynch J, Watson P, Jansen M, Yoshinaga Y, Rosenquist R, de Jong P, Coggill P, Beck S, Lynch H, de la Chapelle A, Plass C. Down-regulation of death associated protein kinase 1 (DAPK1) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Cell 129: 879-890, 2007. Abstract
  • Chaisaingmongkol J, Popanda O, Warta R, Dyckhoff G, Herpel E, Geiselhart L, Claus R, Lasitschka F, Campos B, Oakes CC, Bermejo JL, Herold-Mende C, Plass C, Schmezer P. Epigenetic screen of human DNA repair genes identifies aberrant promoter methylation of NEIL1 in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Oncogene. 2012, 31: 5108-16. Abstract
  • Claus R, Lucas DM, Stilgenbauer S, Ruppert AS, Yu L, Zucknick M, Mertens D,  Bühler A, Oakes CC, Larson RA, Kay NE, Jelinek DF, Kipps TJ, Rassenti LZ, Gribben JG, Döhner H, Heerema NA, Marcucci G, Plass C, Byrd JC. Quantitative DNA Methylation Analysis Identifies a Single CpG Dinucleotide Important for ZAP-70 Expression and Predictive of Prognosis in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. J Clin Oncol. 2012, 30: 2483-91. Abstract
  • Baer C, Claus R, Frenzel LP, Zucknick M, Park YJ, Gu L, Weichenhan D, Fischer M, Pallasch CP, Herpel E, Rehli M, Byrd JC, Wendtner CM, Plass C. Extensive promoter hypermethylation and hypomethylation is associated with aberrant microRNA expression in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Cancer Res. 2012, 72: 3775-85. Abstract
  • Weischenfeldt J, Simon R, Feuerbach L, Schlangen K, Weichenhan D, Minner S, ... Sauter G, Plass C, Brors B, Yaspo ML, Korbel JO, Schlomm T. Integrative genomic analyses reveal an androgen-driven somatic alteration landscape in early-onset prostate cancer. Cancer Cell 2013, 23: 159-70. Abstract
  • Brocks D, Assenov Y, Minner S, Bogatyrova O, Simon R, Koop C, Oakes C, Zucknick M, Lipka DB, Weischenfeldt J, Feuerbach L, Cowper-Sal Lari R, Lupien M, Brors B, Korbel J, Schlomm T, Tanay A, Sauter G, Gerhäuser C, Plass C; ICGC Early Onset Prostate Cancer Project. Intratumor DNA methylation heterogeneity reflects clonal evolution in aggressive prostate cancer. Cell Rep 2014, 8: 798-806. Abstract
  • Arab K, Park YJ, Lindroth AM, Schäfer A, Oakes C, Weichenhan D, Lukanova A, Lundin E, Risch A, Meister M, Dienemann H, Dyckhoff G, Herold-Mende C, Grummt I, Niehrs C, Plass C.Long Noncoding RNA TARID Directs Demethylation and Activation of the Tumor Suppressor TCF21 via GADD45A. Mol Cell 2014, 55: 604-14. Abstract
  • Gu L, Frommel SC, Oakes CC, Simon R, Grupp K, Gerig CY, Bär D, Robinson MD, Baer C, Weiss M, Gu Z, Schapira M, Kuner R, Sültmann H, Provenzano M; ICGC Project on Early Onset Prostate Cancer, Yaspo ML, Brors B, Korbel J, Schlomm T, Sauter G, Eils R, Plass C, Santoro R. BAZ2A (TIP5) is involved in epigenetic alterations in prostate cancer and its overexpression predicts disease recurrence. Nat Genet 2015; 47(1): 22-30. Abstract
  • Cabezas-Wallscheid N, Klimmeck D, Hansson J, Lipka DB, Reyes A, Wang Q, Weichenhan D, Lier A, von Paleske L, Renders S, Wünsche P, Zeisberger P, Brocks D, Gu L, Herrmann C, Haas S, Essers MA, Brors B, Eils R, Huber W, Milsom MD, Plass C, Krijgsveld J, Trumpp A. Identification of regulatory networks in HSCs and their immediate progeny via integrated proteome, transcriptome, and DNA Methylome analysis. Cell Stem Cell. 2014; 15: 507-22. Abstract
  • Oakes CC, Seifert M, Assenov Y, Gu L, Przekopowitz M, Ruppert AS, Wang Q, Serva A, Koser S, Brocks D, Lipka D, Bogatyrova O, Mertens D, Zapatka M, Lichter P, Döhner H, Küppers R, Zenz T, Stilgenbauer S, Byrd JC and Plass C. Progressive epigenetic programming during B cell maturation yields a continuum of disease phenotypes in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Nat Genet 2016; 48: 253-64. Abstract

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