Pretreatment dietary intake is associated with tumor suppressor DNA methylation in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas

Justin A. Colacino, Anna E. Arthur, Dana C. Dolinoy, Maureen A. Sartor, Sonia A. Duffy, Douglas B. Chepeha, Carol R. Bradford, Heather M. Walline, Jonathan B. McHugh, Nisha D'Silva, Thomas E. Carey, Gregory T. Wolf, Jeremy M.G. Taylor, Karen E. Peterson, Laura S. Rozek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diet is associated with cancer prognosis, including head and neck cancer (HNC), and has been hypothesized to influence epigenetic state by determining the availability of functional groups involved in the modification of DNA and histone proteins. The goal of this study was to describe the association between pretreatment diet and HNC tumor DNA methylation. Information on usual pretreatment food and nutrient intake was estimated via food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) on 49 HNC cases. Tumor DNA methylation patterns were assessed using the Illumina Goldengate Methylation Cancer Panel. First, a methylation score, the sum of individual hypermethylated tumor suppressor associated CpG sites, was calculated and associated with dietary intake of micronutrients involved in one-carbon metabolism and antioxidant activity, and food groups abundant in these nutrients. Second, gene specific analyses using linear modeling with empirical Bayesian variance estimation were conducted to identify if methylation at individual CpG sites was associated with diet. All models were controlled for age, sex, smoking, alcohol and HP V status. Individuals reporting in the highest quartile of folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin A intake, compared with those in the lowest quartile, showed significantly less tumor suppressor gene methylation, as did patients reporting the highest cruciferous vegetable intake. Gene specific analyses identified differential associations between DNA methylation and vitamin B12 and vitamin A intake when stratifying by HP V status. These preliminary results suggest that intake of folate, vitamin A and vitamin B12 may be associated with the tumor DNA methylation profile in HNC and enhance tumor suppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)883-891
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA methylation
  • Diet
  • Folate
  • Tumor suppressor
  • Vitamin B12

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Pretreatment dietary intake is associated with tumor suppressor DNA methylation in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this