Detection and clinical significance of CEACAM5 methylation in colorectal cancer patients

Sheng Chieh Huang, Shih Ching Chang, Tsai Tsen Liao*, Muh Hwa Yang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a globally common cancer, and the serum carcinoembryonic antigen (sCEA) is widely applied as a diagnostic and prognostic tumor marker in CRC. This study aimed to elucidate the mechanism of CEA expression and corresponding clinical features to improve prognostic assessments. In CRC cells, hypomethylation of the CEACAM5 promoter enhanced CEA expression in HCT116 and HT29 cells with 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (5-Aza-dC) treatment. Our clinical data indicated that 64.7% (101/156) of CRC patients had an sCEA level above the normal range, and 76.2% (77/101) of those patients showed a lower average CpG methylation level of the CEACAM5 promoter. The methylation analysis showed that both CRC cell lines and patient samples shared the same critical methylation CpG regions at −200 to −500 and −1000 to −1400 bp of the CEACAM5 promoter. Patients with hypermethylation of the CEACAM5 promoter showed features of a BRAF mutation, TGFB2 mutation, microsatellite instability-high, and preference for right-sided colorectal cancer and peritoneal seeding presentation that had a similar clinical character to the consensus molecular subtype 1 (CMS1) of colorectal cancer. Additionally, hypermethylation of the CEACAM5 promoter combined with evaluated sCEA demonstrated the worst survival among the patients. Therefore, the methylation status of the CEACAM5 promoter also served as an effective biomarker for assessing disease prognosis. Results indicated that DNA methylation is a major regulatory mechanism for CEA expression in colorectal cancer. Moreover, our data also highlighted that patients in a subgroup who escaped from inactivation by DNA methylation had distinct clinical and pathological features and the worst survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-282
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • CEA
  • CEA regulation
  • DNA methylation
  • colorectal cancer


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