Demethylation of the TSDR is a marker of squamous cell carcinoma in transplant recipients.
Sherston SN., Vogt K., Schlickeiser S., Sawitzki B., Harden PN., Wood KJ.
Malignancy is an important cause of death in transplant recipients. Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) causes significant morbidity and mortality as 30% of transplant recipients will develop cSCC within 10 years of transplantation. Previously we have shown that high numbers of regulatory T cells (Tregs) are associated with the development of cSCC in kidney transplant recipients (KTRs). Demethylation analysis of the Treg-specific demethylated region (TSDR) provides a more accurate association with cSCC risk after transplantation. Age, gender and duration of immunosuppression matched KTRs with (n=32) and without (n=27) cSCC, were re-analyzed for putative clinical and immunological markers of cancer risk. The proportion of FOXP3+ CD4+ cells was higher in the population with a previous SCC. Major T cell subsets remained stable over time; although B cell, CD8 and CD4 subpopulations demonstrated age-related changes. TSDR methylation analysis allowed clarification of Treg numbers, enhancing the association of high Treg levels in KTRs with cSCC compared to the cSCC-free cohort. These data validate and expand on previous findings in long-term KTRs, and show that immune markers remain stable over time. TSDR demethylation analysis provides a more accurate biomarker of cancer posttransplantation.