Cadherin-6 is a putative tumor suppressor and target of epigenetically dysregulated miR-429 in cholangiocarcinoma

Benjamin Goeppert, Christina Ernst, Constance Baer, Stephanie Roessler, Marcus Renner, Arianeb Mehrabi, Mohammadreza Hafezi, Anita Pathil, Arne Warth, Albrecht Stenzinger, Wilko Weichert, Marion Bähr, Rainer Will, Peter Schirmacher, Christoph Plass, Dieter Weichenhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Cholangiocarcinoma (CC) is a rare malignancy of the extrahepatic or intrahepatic biliary tract with an outstanding poor prognosis. Non-surgical therapeutic regimens result in minimally improved survival of CC patients. Global genomic analyses identified a few recurrently mutated genes, some of them in genes involved in epigenetic patterning. In a previous study, we demonstrated global DNA methylation changes in CC, indicating major contribution of epigenetic alterations to cholangiocarcinogenesis. Here, we aimed at the identification and characterization of CC-related, differentially methylated regions (DMRs) in potential microRNA promoters and of genes targeted by identified microRNAs. Twenty-seven hypermethylated and 13 hypomethylated potential promoter regions of microRNAs, known to be associated with cancer-related pathways like Wnt, ErbB, and PI3K-Akt signaling, were identified. Selected DMRs were confirmed in 2 independent patient cohorts. Inverse correlation between promoter methylation and expression suggested miR-129-2 and members of the miR-200 family (miR-200a, miR-200b, and miR-429) as novel tumor suppressors and oncomiRs, respectively, in CC. Tumor suppressor genes deleted in liver cancer 1 (DLC1), F-box/WD-repeat-containing protein 7 (FBXW7), and cadherin-6 (CDH6) were identified as presumed targets in CC. Tissue microarrays of a representative and well-characterized cohort of biliary tract cancers (n=212) displayed stepwise downregulation of CDH6 and association with poor patient outcome. Ectopic expression of CDH6 on the other hand, delayed growth in the CC cell lines EGI-1 and TFK-1, together suggesting a tumor suppressive function of CDH6. Our work represents a valuable repository for the study of epigenetically altered miRNAs in cholangiocarcinogenesis and novel putative, CC-related tumor suppressive miRNAs and oncomiRs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)780-790
Number of pages11
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Biliary tract cancer
  • DNA methylation
  • epigenomics
  • microRNA
  • patient survival


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