Abnormal expression and function of chromatin regulators results in the altered chromatin structure seen in cancer. The chromatin regulator CTCF, its cofactor CHD8, and antagonistic paralogue BORIS have wide-ranging effects on gene regulation. Their concurrent expression and regulation was examined in benign, localized, and metastatic prostate cancer (PCa) arrays with extended follow-up using an automated quantitative imaging system, VECTRA. Epithelial staining was quantified and compared against a range of clinicopathologic variables. CHD8 expression was decreased in HGPIN, localized, and metastatic PCa compared to benign (P < .001). CHD8 promoter hypermethylation, assessed by Quantitative Pyrosequencing, occurred in over 45% of primary cancers in this population as well as the TGCA database. Treatment of cell lines with the demethylating agent 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine reinduced expression. An interesting dichotomy for CHD8 was observed within primary cancers, with higher nuclear protein expression associated with adverse clinical outcomes including extracapsular extension (P = .007), presence of metastases (P = .025) and worse PSA-recurrence free survival (P = .048). CHD8 outperformed Gleason score and predicted biochemical failure within intermediate grade prostate cancers. The BORIS/CTCF expression ratio increased in localized (P = .03) and metastatic PCa (P = .006) and was associated with higher Gleason score (P = .02), increased tumor volume (P = .02) and positive margins (P = .04). Per cell heterogeneity of expression revealed all protein expression to be more heterogeneous in cancerous tissue (both P < .001), especially high grade (P < .01). In the first detailed analysis in cancer, a marked loss of CHD8 expression and increased BORIS/CTCF ratio indicate frequent disruption of CTCF and its effector genes in PCa.
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