Gender-related differences in colorectal cancer (CRC) are not fully understood. Recent studies have shown that CRC arising in females are significantly associated with CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP-high). Using array comparative genomic hybridization, we analyzed a cohort of 116 CRCs (57 males, 59 females) for chromosomal copy number aberrations (CNA) and found that CRC in females had significantly higher numbers of gains involving chromosome arms 1q21.2–q21.3, 4q13.2, 6p21.1 and 16p11.2 and copy number losses of chromosome arm 11q25 compared to males. Interestingly, a subset of male CRCs (46%) exhibited a “feminization” phenomenon in the form of gains of X chromosomes (or an arm of X) and/or losses of the Y chromosome. Feminization of cancer cells was significantly associated with microsatellite-stable CRCs (p-value 0.003) and wild-type BRAF gene status (p-value 0.009). No significant association with other clinicopathological parameters was identified including disease-free survival. In summary, our data show that some CNAs in CRC may be gender specific and that male cancers characterized by feminization may constitute a specific subset of CRCs that warrants further investigation.
- Colorectal cancer
- Comparative genomic hybridization
- Copy number aberration
- X chromosome