Malignant breast cancer remains a major health threat to women of all ages worldwide and epigenetic variations on DNA methylation have been widely reported in cancers of different types. We profiled DNA methylation with ERRBS (Enhanced Reduced Representation Bisulfite Sequencing) across four main stages of tumor progression in the MMTV-PyMT mouse model (hyperplasia, adenoma/mammary intraepithelial neoplasia, early carcinoma and late carcinoma), during which malignant transition occurs. We identified a large number of differentially methylated cytosines (DMCs) in tumors relative to age-matched normal mammary glands from FVB mice. Despite similarities, the methylation differences of the premalignant stages were distinct from the malignant ones. Many differentially methylated loci were preserved from the first to the last stage throughout tumor progression. Genes affected by methylation gains were enriched in Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) targets, which may present biomarkers for early diagnosis and targets for treatment.
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