ARTICLE ABSTRACTWe have validated differences in DNA methylation levels of candidate genes previously reported to discriminate between normal colon mucosa of patients with colon cancer and normal colon mucosa of individuals without cancer. Here, we report that CpG sites in 16 of the 30 candidate genes selected show significant differences in mean methylation level in normal colon mucosa of 24 patients with cancer and 24 controls. A support vector machine trained on these data and data for an additional 66 CpGs yielded an 18-gene signature, composed of ten of the validated candidate genes plus eight additional candidates. This model exhibited 96% sensitivity and 100% specificity in a 40-sample training set and classified all eight samples in the test set correctly. Moreover, we found a moderate–strong correlation (Pearson coefficients r = 0.253–0.722) between methylation levels in colon mucosa and methylation levels in peripheral blood for seven of the 18 genes in the support vector model. These seven genes, alone, classified 44 of the 48 patients in the validation set correctly and five CpGs selected from only two of the seven genes classified 41 of the 48 patients in the discovery set correctly. These results suggest that methylation biomarkers may be developed that will, at minimum, serve as useful objective and quantitative diagnostic complements to colonoscopy as a cancer-screening tool. These data also suggest that it may be possible to monitor biomarker methylation levels in tissues collected much less invasively than by colonoscopy. Cancer Prev Res; 7(7); 717–26. ©2014 AACR.