DNA Methylation Research in Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Population.
Despite increased sophistication in DNA methylation (DNAm) measurement and methods, conducting studies in specific populations such as the hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HCT) population, presents unique challenges and study design considerations. In this article, we explain the motivation for investigating DNAm in the HCT population, highlighting important study design features and key findings in a longitudinal prospective pilot study of DNAm in 32 patients undergoing autologous HCT in Central Virginia, USA. We also discuss limitations and challenges to generating robust results. We observed that HCT does not prevent high-quality DNA from being extracted from whole blood for DNAm research and that longitudinal prospective studies that span pre- and 2-months post-HCT are feasible. Critically, we did not observe significant impacts of cancer diagnosis, time since transplant, age, or chromosomal sex on overall DNAm data dimensionality. These observations demonstrate that while extreme care is required to ensure generalizable, accurate, and interpretable results, researchers should not avoid HCT-DNAm research simply for fear that the transplant procedure or presence of a cancer diagnosis will prevent meaningful conclusions from being drawn. DNAm is an attractive biomarker that is understudied in patients undergoing HCT and needs to expand to improve precise prediction of HCT outcomes.
Published In/Presented At
Mohanraj, L., Lapato, D. M., Toor, A., & Swift-Scanlan, T. (2022). DNA Methylation Research in Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant Population. Biological research for nursing, 10998004221132251. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/10998004221132251
Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Medicine, Hematology-Medical Oncology Division