Research Paper Volume 12, Issue 21 pp 21037—21056
DNA methylation-based age estimation in pediatric healthy tissues and brain tumors
- 1 Sahlgrenska Center for Cancer Research, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Institute of Biomedicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
Received: July 1, 2020 Accepted: October 3, 2020 Published: November 9, 2020https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.202145
How to Cite
Copyright: © 2020 Kling et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Several DNA methylation clocks have been developed to reflect chronological age of human tissues, but most clocks have been trained on adult samples. The rapid methylome changes in children and the role of epigenetics in pediatric tumors calls for tools accurately estimating methylation age in children. We aimed to evaluate seven methylation clocks in multiple tissues from healthy children to inform future studies on the optimal clock for pediatric cohorts, and analyzed the methylation age in brain tumors. We found that clocks trained on pediatric samples were the best in all tested tissues, highlighting the need for dedicated clocks. For blood samples, the Skin and blood clock had the best correlation with chronological age, while PedBE was the most accurate for saliva and buccal samples, and Horvath for brain tissue. Horvath methylation age was accelerated in pediatric brain tumors and the acceleration was subtype-specific for atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT), ependymoma, medulloblastoma and glioma. The subtypes with the highest acceleration corresponded to the worst prognostic categories in ATRT, ependymoma and glioma, whereas the relationship was reversed in medulloblastoma. This suggests that methylation age has potential as a prognostic biomarker in pediatric brain tumors and should be further explored.