Gene Summary

Gene:BLM; BLM RecQ like helicase
Summary:The Bloom syndrome gene product is related to the RecQ subset of DExH box-containing DNA helicases and has both DNA-stimulated ATPase and ATP-dependent DNA helicase activities. Mutations causing Bloom syndrome delete or alter helicase motifs and may disable the 3'-5' helicase activity. The normal protein may act to suppress inappropriate recombination. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:Bloom syndrome protein
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (45)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • BLM
  • Skin Cancer
  • Loss of Heterozygosity
  • Receptor, erbB-2
  • Telomere
  • Heterozygote
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Mutation
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Up-Regulation
  • DNA Repair
  • Smoking
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genetic Recombination
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • Apoptosis
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor p53-Binding Protein 1
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • U937 Cells
  • Exodeoxyribonucleases
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • DNA Sequence Analysis
  • Chromosome 15
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • RecQ Helicases
  • Sister Chromatid Exchange
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • SUMO-1 Protein
  • Genotype
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Risk Factors
  • Bloom Syndrome
  • DNA Helicases
  • Melanoma
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Breast Cancer
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • Sequence Deletion
Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Entity Topic PubMed Papers
Bloom SyndromeBLM mutations in Bloom Syndrome
Bloom syndrome is an autosomal recessive inherited disorder characterized by sort stature, sun-sensitivity, hyperpigmented skin and predisposition to a wide range of different types of cancer.
View Publications531
Breast CancerBLM and Breast Cancer View Publications13
Colorectal CancerBLM and Colorectal Cancer View Publications16
MelanomaBLM and Melanoma View Publications1
Skin CancerBLM and Skin Cancer View Publications1

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: BLM (cancer-related)

Gupta A, Ahmad A, Singh H, et al.
Nanocarrier Composed of Magnetite Core Coated with Three Polymeric Shells Mediates LCS-1 Delivery for Synthetic Lethal Therapy of BLM-Defective Colorectal Cancer Cells.
Biomacromolecules. 2018; 19(3):803-815 [PubMed] Related Publications
Synthetic lethality is a molecular-targeted therapy for selective killing of cancer cells. We exploited a lethal interaction between superoxide dismutase 1 inhibition and Bloom syndrome gene product (BLM) defect for the treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC) cells (HCT 116) with a customized lung cancer screen-1-loaded nanocarrier (LCS-1-NC). The drug LCS-1 has poor aqueous solubility. To overcome its limitations, a customized NC, composed of a magnetite core coated with three polymeric shells, namely, aminocellulose (AC), branched poly(amidoamine), and paraben-PEG, was developed for encapsulating LCS-1. Encapsulation efficiency and drug loading were found to be 74% and 8.2%, respectively. LCS-1-NC exhibited sustained release, with ∼85% of drug release in 24 h. Blank NC (0.5 mg/mL) exhibited cytocompatibility toward normal cells, mainly due to the AC layer. LCS-1-NC demonstrated high killing selectivity (104 times) toward BLM-deficient HCT 116 cells over BLM-proficient HCT 116 cells. Due to enhanced efficacy of the drug using NC, the sensitivity difference for BLM-deficient cells increased to 1.7 times in comparison to that with free LCS-1. LCS-1-NC induced persistent DNA damage and apoptosis, which demonstrates that LCS-1-NC effectively and preferentially killed BLM-deficient CRC cells. This is the first report on the development of a potential drug carrier to improve the therapeutic efficacy of LCS-1 for specific killing of CRC cells having BLM defects.

Shuai F, Wang B, Dong S
miR-522-3p Promotes Tumorigenesis in Human Colorectal Cancer via Targeting Bloom Syndrome Protein.
Oncol Res. 2018; 26(7):1113-1121 [PubMed] Related Publications
miR-522-3p is known to degrade bloom syndrome protein (BLM) and enhance expression of other proto-oncogenes, leading to tumorigenesis. This study aimed to investigate the molecular mechanisms of miR-522-3p in human colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. Expressions of miR-522-3p in CRC and adjacent tissues, as well as in normal human colon epithelial cell line (FHC) and five CRC cell lines, were detected. Human CRC cell lines, HCT-116 and HT29, were transfected with miR-522-3p mimic, inhibitor, or scrambled controls. Then cell viability, apoptosis, cell cycle progression, and the expressions of c-myc, cyclin E, CDK2, and BLM were assessed. It was found that miR-522-3p was highly expressed in CRC tissues when compared to adjacent nontumor tissues and was highly expressed in CRC cell lines when compared to FHC cells. miR-522-3p overexpression promoted cell viability, reduced apoptotic cell rate, arrested more cells in the S phase, and upregulated c-myc, cyclin E, and CDK2 expression. BLM was a target gene of miR-522-3p, and miR-522-3p suppression did not exert antiproliferative and proapoptotic activities when BLM was silenced. These findings demonstrate that miR-522-3p upregulation negatively regulates the expression of BLM, with upregulation of c-myc, CDK2, and cyclin E, and thereby promoting the proliferation of human CRC cells.

van Wietmarschen N, Merzouk S, Halsema N, et al.
BLM helicase suppresses recombination at G-quadruplex motifs in transcribed genes.
Nat Commun. 2018; 9(1):271 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Bloom syndrome is a cancer predisposition disorder caused by mutations in the BLM helicase gene. Cells from persons with Bloom syndrome exhibit striking genomic instability characterized by excessive sister chromatid exchange events (SCEs). We applied single-cell DNA template strand sequencing (Strand-seq) to map the genomic locations of SCEs. Our results show that in the absence of BLM, SCEs in human and murine cells do not occur randomly throughout the genome but are strikingly enriched at coding regions, specifically at sites of guanine quadruplex (G4) motifs in transcribed genes. We propose that BLM protects against genome instability by suppressing recombination at sites of G4 structures, particularly in transcribed regions of the genome.

Patel DS, Misenko SM, Her J, Bunting SF
BLM helicase regulates DNA repair by counteracting RAD51 loading at DNA double-strand break sites.
J Cell Biol. 2017; 216(11):3521-3534 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications

Pawłowska E, Szczepanska J, Blasiak J
DNA2-An Important Player in DNA Damage Response or Just Another DNA Maintenance Protein?
Int J Mol Sci. 2017; 18(7) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The human DNA2 (DNA replication helicase/nuclease 2) protein is expressed in both the nucleus and mitochondria, where it displays ATPase-dependent nuclease and helicase activities. DNA2 plays an important role in the removing of long flaps in DNA replication and long-patch base excision repair (LP-BER), interacting with the replication protein A (RPA) and the flap endonuclease 1 (FEN1). DNA2 can promote the restart of arrested replication fork along with Werner syndrome ATP-dependent helicase (WRN) and Bloom syndrome protein (BLM). In mitochondria, DNA2 can facilitate primer removal during strand-displacement replication. DNA2 is involved in DNA double strand (DSB) repair, in which it is complexed with BLM, RPA and MRN for DNA strand resection required for homologous recombination repair. DNA2 can be a major protein involved in the repair of complex DNA damage containing a DSB and a 5' adduct resulting from a chemical group bound to DNA 5' ends, created by ionizing radiation and several anticancer drugs, including etoposide, mitoxantrone and some anthracyclines. The role of DNA2 in telomere end maintenance and cell cycle regulation suggests its more general role in keeping genomic stability, which is impaired in cancer. Therefore DNA2 can be an attractive target in cancer therapy. This is supported by enhanced expression of DNA2 in many cancer cell lines with oncogene activation and premalignant cells. Therefore, DNA2 can be considered as a potential marker, useful in cancer therapy. DNA2, along with PARP1 inhibition, may be considered as a potential target for inducing synthetic lethality, a concept of killing tumor cells by targeting two essential genes.

Schayek H, Laitman Y, Katz LH, et al.
Colorectal and Endometrial Cancer Risk and Age at Diagnosis in BLMAsh Mutation Carriers.
Isr Med Assoc J. 2017; 19(6):365-367 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Biallelic BLM gene mutation carriers are at an increased risk for cancer, including colorectal cancer (CRC). Whether heterozygous BLM gene mutations confer an increased cancer risk remains controversial.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate CRC and endometrial cancer risk in BLM heterozygous mutation carriers.
METHODS: Jewish Ashkenazim at high risk for colon or endometrial cancer and endometrial cancer cases unselected for family history were genotyped for the BLMAsh predominant mutation.
RESULTS: Overall, 243 high-risk individuals were included: 97 men CRC patients (55.12 ± 12.3 years at diagnosis), 109 women with CRC (56.5 ± 13.7 years), 32 women with endometrial cancer (58.25 ± 13.4 years) and 5 women with both CRC and endometrial cancer. In addition, 120 unselected Ashkenazi women with endometrial cancer (64.2 ± 11.58 years) were genotyped. The BLMAsh mutation was present in 4/243 (1.65%) high-risk patients; 2 CRC (0.97%) 2 endometrial cancer (5.4%), and 1/120 unselected endometrial cancer patients (0.84%). Notably, in high-risk cases, BLMAsh mutation carriers were diagnosed at a younger age (for CRC 47.5 ± 7.8 years; P = 0.32 ; endometrial cancer 49.5 ± 7.7 years; P = 0.36) compared with non-carriers.
CONCLUSIONS: Ashkenazi high risk CRC/endometrial cancer, and women with endometrial cancer have a higher rate of BLMAsh heterozygous mutation compared with the general population. BLMAsh heterozygous mutation carriers are diagnosed with CRC and endometrial cancer at a younger age compared with non-carriers. These observations should be validated and the possible clinical implications assessed.

Novak EM, Halley NS, Gimenez TM, et al.
BLM germline and somatic PKMYT1 and AHCY mutations: Genetic variations beyond MYCN and prognosis in neuroblastoma.
Med Hypotheses. 2016; 97:22-25 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neuroblastoma (NB) is the most common extra cranial solid tumor of childhood and often lethal in childhood. Clinical and biologic characteristics that are independently prognostic of outcome in NB are currently used for risk stratification to optimally the therapy. It includes age at diagnosis, International Neuroblastoma Staging System tumor histopathology and MYCN amplification. However, even in patients with theoretically good prognosis, such as localized tumor and non-amplified MYCN, either disease progress or recurrence may occur. Potential genetic determinants of this unfavorable behavior are not yet fully clarified. The presence of elevated expression of AHCY, PKMYT1, and BLM has accompanied poor prognosis MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma patients. Considering the potential implication of these genes on the clinical management of NB, we hypothesize that the identification of genetic variations may have significant impact during development of the recurrent or progressive disease. Using targeted DNA sequencing, we analyzed the mutation profiles of the genes PKMYT1, AHCY, and BLM in tumor samples of five patients with MYCN amplified and 15 MYCN non-amplified NB. In our study, BLM germline variants were detected in two patients with MYCN-non-amplified neuroblastoma. Our data allow us to hypothesize that, regardless of MYCN status, these mutations partially abolish BLM protein activity by impairing its ATPase and helicase activities. BLM mutations are also clinically relevant because BLM plays an important role in DNA damage repair and the maintenance of genomic integrity. We also found a novel variant in our cohort, PKMYT1 mutation localized in the C-terminal domain with effect unknown on NB. We hypothesize that this variant may affect the catalytic activity of PKMYT1 in NB, specifically when CDK1 is complexed to cyclins. The prognostic value of this mutation must be further investigated. Another mutation identified was a nonsynonymous variant in AHCY. This variant may be related to the slow progression of the disease, even in more aggressive cases. It affects the maintenance of the catalytic capacity of AHCY, leading to the consequent functional effects observed in the NB patients studied. In conclusion, our hypothesis may provide that mutations in BLM, AHCY and PKMYT1 genes found in children with MYCN-amplified or MYCN-non amplified neuroblastomas, may be associated with the prognosis of the disease.

Srivas R, Shen JP, Yang CC, et al.
A Network of Conserved Synthetic Lethal Interactions for Exploration of Precision Cancer Therapy.
Mol Cell. 2016; 63(3):514-25 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
An emerging therapeutic strategy for cancer is to induce selective lethality in a tumor by exploiting interactions between its driving mutations and specific drug targets. Here we use a multi-species approach to develop a resource of synthetic lethal interactions relevant to cancer therapy. First, we screen in yeast ∼169,000 potential interactions among orthologs of human tumor suppressor genes (TSG) and genes encoding drug targets across multiple genotoxic environments. Guided by the strongest signal, we evaluate thousands of TSG-drug combinations in HeLa cells, resulting in networks of conserved synthetic lethal interactions. Analysis of these networks reveals that interaction stability across environments and shared gene function increase the likelihood of observing an interaction in human cancer cells. Using these rules, we prioritize ∼10(5) human TSG-drug combinations for future follow-up. We validate interactions based on cell and/or patient survival, including topoisomerases with RAD17 and checkpoint kinases with BLM.

Dobbins SE, Broderick P, Chubb D, et al.
Undefined familial colorectal cancer and the role of pleiotropism in cancer susceptibility genes.
Fam Cancer. 2016; 15(4):593-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Although family history is a major risk factor for colorectal cancer (CRC) a genetic diagnosis cannot be obtained in over 50 % of familial cases when screened for known CRC cancer susceptibility genes. The genetics of undefined-familial CRC is complex and recent studies have implied additional clinically actionable mutations for CRC in susceptibility genes for other cancers. To clarify the contribution of non-CRC susceptibility genes to undefined-familial CRC we conducted a mutational screen of 114 cancer susceptibility genes in 847 patients with early-onset undefined-familial CRC and 1609 controls by analysing high-coverage exome sequencing data. We implemented American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics standards and guidelines for assigning pathogenicity to variants. Globally across all 114 cancer susceptibility genes no statistically significant enrichment of likely pathogenic variants was shown (6.7 % cases 57/847, 5.3 % controls 85/1609; P = 0.15). Moreover there was no significant enrichment of mutations in genes such as TP53 or BRCA2 which have been proposed for clinical testing in CRC. In conclusion, while we identified genes that may be considered interesting candidates as determinants of CRC risk warranting further research, there is currently scant evidence to support a role for genes other than those responsible for established CRC syndromes in the clinical management of familial CRC.

Votino C, Laudanna C, Parcesepe P, et al.
Aberrant BLM cytoplasmic expression associates with DNA damage stress and hypersensitivity to DNA-damaging agents in colorectal cancer.
J Gastroenterol. 2017; 52(3):327-340 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Bloom syndrome is a rare and recessive disorder characterized by loss-of-function mutations of the BLM gene, which encodes a RecQ 3'-5' DNA helicase. Despite its putative tumor suppressor function, the contribution of BLM to human sporadic colorectal cancer (CRC) remains poorly understood.
METHODS: The transcriptional regulation mechanism underlying BLM and related DNA damage response regulation in independent CRC subsets and a panel of derived cell lines was investigated by bioinformatics analysis, the transcriptomic profile, a CpG island promoter methylation assay, Western blot, and an immunolocalization assay.
RESULTS: In silico analysis of gene expression data sets revealed that BLM is overexpressed in poorly differentiated CRC and exhibits a close connection with shorter relapse-free survival even after adjustment for prognostic factors and pathways that respond to DNA damage response through ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) signaling. Functional characterization demonstrated that CpG island promoter hypomethylation increases BLM expression and associates with cytoplasmic BLM mislocalization and increased DNA damage response both in clinical CRC samples and in derived cancer cell lines. The DNA-damaging agent S-adenosylmethionine suppresses BLM expression, leading to the inhibition of cell growth following accumulation of DNA damage. In tumor specimens, cytoplasmic accumulation of BLM correlates with DNA damage and γH2AX and phosphorylated ATM foci and predicts long-term progression-free survival in metastatic patients treated with irinotecan.
CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, the findings of this study provide the first evidence that cancer-linked DNA hypomethylation and cytosolic BLM mislocalization might reflect compromised levels of DNA-repair activity and enhanced hypersensitivity to DNA-damaging agents in CRC patients.

Panneerselvam J, Wang H, Zhang J, et al.
BLM promotes the activation of Fanconi Anemia signaling pathway.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(22):32351-61 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mutations in the human RecQ helicase, BLM, causes Bloom Syndrome, which is a rare autosomal recessive disorder and characterized by genomic instability and an increased risk of cancer. Fanconi Anemia (FA), resulting from mutations in any of the 19 known FA genes and those yet to be known, is also characterized by chromosomal instability and a high incidence of cancer. BLM helicase and FA proteins, therefore, may work in a common tumor-suppressor signaling pathway. To date, it remains largely unclear as to how BLM and FA proteins work concurrently in the maintenance of genome stability. Here we report that BLM is involved in the early activation of FA group D2 protein (FANCD2). We found that FANCD2 activation is substantially delayed and attenuated in crosslinking agent-treated cells harboring deficient Blm compared to similarly treated control cells with sufficient BLM. We also identified that the domain VI of BLM plays an essential role in promoting FANCD2 activation in cells treated with DNA crosslinking agents, especially ultraviolet B. The similar biological effects performed by ΔVI-BLM and inactivated FANCD2 further confirm the relationship between BLM and FANCD2. Mutations within the domain VI of BLM detected in human cancer samples demonstrate the functional importance of this domain, suggesting human tumorigenicity resulting from mtBLM may be at least partly attributed to mitigated FANCD2 activation. Collectively, our data show a previously unknown regulatory liaison in advancing our understanding of how the cancer susceptibility gene products act in concert to maintain genome stability.

Lindor NM, Hopper J, Dowty J
Estimating cumulative risks for breast cancer for carriers of variants in uncommon genes.
Fam Cancer. 2016; 15(3):367-70 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The rapid clinical embrace of next generation multigene cancer predisposition panels has resulted in discovery of DNA variants in genes for which very limited data on penetrance has been published. Evidence for increased risks associated with these genes is often expressed in odds ratios and studies often were conducted on a priori high risk cohorts, i.e. those with young onset disease and/or positive family histories. Despite these limitations, one can estimate cumulative risks, which may be useful for health care providers who are counselling individuals on their results. We present cumulative risks for several under-studied genes and provide generic information that can be extrapolated to data still emerging.

Vartholomaiou E, Echeverría PC, Picard D
Unusual Suspects in the Twilight Zone Between the Hsp90 Interactome and Carcinogenesis.
Adv Cancer Res. 2016; 129:1-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
The molecular chaperone Hsp90 has attracted a lot of interest in cancer research ever since cancer cells were found to be more sensitive to Hsp90 inhibition than normal cells. Why that is has remained a matter of debate and is still unclear. In addition to increased Hsp90 dependence for some mutant cancer proteins and modifications of the Hsp90 machinery itself, a number of other characteristics of cancer cells probably contribute to this phenomenon; these include aneuploidy and overall increased numbers and levels of defective and mutant proteins, which all contribute to perturbed proteostasis. Work over the last two decades has demonstrated that many cancer-related proteins are Hsp90 clients, and yet only few of them have been extensively investigated, selected either on the basis of their obvious function as cancer drivers or because they proved to be convenient biomarkers for monitoring the effects of Hsp90 inhibitors. The purpose of our review is to go beyond these "usual suspects." We established a workflow to select poorly studied proteins that are related to cancer processes and qualify as Hsp90 clients. By discussing and taking a fresh look at these "unusual suspects," we hope to stimulate others to revisit them as novel therapeutic targets or diagnostic markers.

Laitman Y, Boker-Keinan L, Berkenstadt M, et al.
The risk for developing cancer in Israeli ATM, BLM, and FANCC heterozygous mutation carriers.
Cancer Genet. 2016; 209(3):70-4 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer risks in heterozygous mutation carriers of the ATM, BLM, and FANCC genes are controversial. To shed light on this issue, cancer rates were evaluated by cross referencing asymptomatic Israeli heterozygous mutation carriers in the ATM, BLM, and FANCC genes with cancer diagnoses registered at the Israeli National Cancer Registry (INCR). Comparison of observed to expected Standardized Incidence Rates (SIR) was performed. Overall, 474 individuals participated in the study: 378 females; 25 Arab and 31 Jewish ATM carriers, 152 BLM carriers, and 170 FANCC carriers (all Ashkenazim). Age range at genotyping was 19-53 years (mean + SD 30.6 + 5 years). In addition, 96 males were included; 5, 34, and 57 ATM, BLM, and FANCC mutation carriers, respectively. Over 5-16 years from genotyping (4721 person/years), 15 new cancers were diagnosed in mutation carriers: 5 breast, 4 cervical, 3 melanomas, and one each bone sarcoma, pancreatic, and colorectal cancer. No single cancer diagnosis was more prevalent then expected in all groups combined or per gene analyzed. Specifically breast cancer SIR was 0.02-0.77. We conclude that Israeli ATM, BLM, and FANCC heterozygous mutation carriers are not at an increased risk for developing cancer.

Tkáč J, Xu G, Adhikary H, et al.
HELB Is a Feedback Inhibitor of DNA End Resection.
Mol Cell. 2016; 61(3):405-418 [PubMed] Related Publications
DNA double-strand break repair by homologous recombination is initiated by the formation of 3' single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) overhangs by a process termed end resection. Although much focus has been given to the decision to initiate resection, little is known of the mechanisms that regulate the ongoing formation of ssDNA tails. Here we report that DNA helicase B (HELB) underpins a feedback inhibition mechanism that curtails resection. HELB is recruited to ssDNA by interacting with RPA and uses its 5'-3' ssDNA translocase activity to inhibit EXO1 and BLM-DNA2, the nucleases catalyzing resection. HELB acts independently of 53BP1 and is exported from the nucleus as cells approach S phase, concomitant with the upregulation of resection. Consistent with its role as a resection antagonist, loss of HELB results in PARP inhibitor resistance in BRCA1-deficient tumor cells. We conclude that mammalian DNA end resection triggers its own inhibition via the recruitment of HELB.

de Voer RM, Hahn MM, Mensenkamp AR, et al.
Deleterious Germline BLM Mutations and the Risk for Early-onset Colorectal Cancer.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:14060 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Bloom syndrome is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by chromosomal instability and increased cancer risk, caused by biallelic mutations in the RECQL-helicase gene BLM. Previous studies have led to conflicting conclusions as to whether carriers of heterozygous BLM mutations have an increased risk to develop colorectal cancer (CRC). We recently identified two carriers of a pathogenic BLM mutation in a cohort of 55 early-onset CRC patients (≤45 years of age), suggesting an overrepresentation compared to the normal population. Here, we performed targeted sequencing using molecular inversion probes to screen an additional cohort of 185 CRC patients (≤50 years of age) and 532 population-matched controls for deleterious BLM mutations. In total, we identified three additional CRC patients (1.6%) and one control individual (0.2%) that carried a known pathogenic BLM mutation, suggesting that these mutations are enriched in early-onset CRC patients (P = 0.05516). A comparison with local and publically available databases from individuals without suspicion for hereditary cancer confirmed this enrichment (P = 0.003534). Analysis of family members of the five BLM mutation carriers with CRC suggests an incomplete penetrance for CRC development. Therefore, these data indicate that carriers of deleterious BLM mutations are at increased risk to develop CRC, albeit with a moderate-to-low penetrance.

Sajesh BV, McManus KJ
Targeting SOD1 induces synthetic lethal killing in BLM- and CHEK2-deficient colorectal cancer cells.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(29):27907-22 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancer is a major cause of death throughout the world, and there is a large need for better and more personalized approaches to combat the disease. Over the past decade, synthetic lethal approaches have been developed that are designed to exploit the aberrant molecular origins (i.e. defective genes) that underlie tumorigenesis. BLM and CHEK2 are two evolutionarily conserved genes that are somatically altered in a number of tumor types. Both proteins normally function in preserving genome stability through facilitating the accurate repair of DNA double strand breaks. Thus, uncovering synthetic lethal interactors of BLM and CHEK2 will identify novel candidate drug targets and lead chemical compounds. Here we identify an evolutionarily conserved synthetic lethal interaction between SOD1 and both BLM and CHEK2 in two distinct cell models. Using quantitative imaging microscopy, real-time cellular analyses, colony formation and tumor spheroid models we show that SOD1 silencing and inhibition (ATTM and LCS-1 treatments), or the induction of reactive oxygen species (2ME2 treatment) induces selective killing within BLM- and CHEK2-deficient cells relative to controls. We further show that increases in reactive oxygen species follow SOD1 silencing and inhibition that are associated with the persistence of DNA double strand breaks, and increases in apoptosis. Collectively, these data identify SOD1 as a novel candidate drug target in BLM and CHEK2 cancer contexts, and further suggest that 2ME2, ATTM and LCS-1 are lead therapeutic compounds warranting further pre-clinical study.

McIlhatton MA, Murnan K, Carson D, et al.
Genetic Manipulation of Homologous Recombination In Vivo Attenuates Intestinal Tumorigenesis.
Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2015; 8(7):650-6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Although disruption of DNA repair capacity is unquestionably associated with cancer susceptibility in humans and model organisms, it remains unclear if the inherent tumor phenotypes of DNA repair deficiency syndromes can be regulated by manipulating DNA repair pathways. Loss-of-function mutations in BLM, a member of the RecQ helicase family, cause Bloom's syndrome (BS), a rare, recessive genetic disorder that predisposes to many types of cancer. BLM functions in many aspects of DNA homeostasis, including the suppression of homologous recombination (HR) in somatic cells. We investigated whether BLM overexpression, in contrast with loss-of-function mutations, attenuated the intestinal tumor phenotypes of Apc(Min/+) and Apc(Min/+);Msh2(-/-) mice, animal models of familial adenomatous polyposis coli (FAP). We constructed a transgenic mouse line expressing human BLM (BLM-Tg) and crossed it onto both backgrounds. BLM-Tg decreased adenoma incidence in a dose-dependent manner in our Apc(Min/) (+) model of FAP, although levels of GIN were unaffected and concomitantly increased animal survival over 50%. It did not reduce intestinal tumorigenesis in Apc(Min/) (+);Msh2(-/-) mice. We used the pink-eyed unstable (p(un)) mouse model to demonstrate that increasing BLM dosage in vivo lowered endogenous levels of HR by 2-fold. Our data suggest that attenuation of the Min phenotype is achieved through a direct effect of BLM-Tg on the HR repair pathway. These findings demonstrate that HR can be manipulated in vivo to modulate tumor formation at the organismal level. Our data suggest that lowering HR frequencies may have positive therapeutic outcomes in the context of specific hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes, exemplified by FAP.

Arora A, Abdel-Fatah TM, Agarwal D, et al.
Transcriptomic and Protein Expression Analysis Reveals Clinicopathological Significance of Bloom Syndrome Helicase (BLM) in Breast Cancer.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2015; 14(4):1057-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
Bloom syndrome helicase (BLM) has key roles in homologous recombination repair, telomere maintenance, and DNA replication. Germ-line mutations in the BLM gene causes Bloom syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by premature aging and predisposition to multiple cancers, including breast cancer. The clinicopathologic significance of BLM in sporadic breast cancers is unknown. We investigated BLM mRNA expression in the Molecular Taxonomy of Breast Cancer International Consortium cohort (n = 1,950) and validated in an external dataset of 2,413 tumors. BLM protein level was evaluated in the Nottingham Tenovus series comprising 1,650 breast tumors. BLM mRNA overexpression was significantly associated with high histologic grade, larger tumor size, estrogen receptor-negative (ER(-)), progesterone receptor-negative (PR(-)), and triple-negative phenotypes (ps < 0.0001). BLM mRNA overexpression was also linked to aggressive molecular phenotypes, including PAM50.Her2 (P < 0.0001), PAM50.Basal (P < 0.0001), and PAM50.LumB (P < 0.0001) and Genufu subtype (ER(+)/Her2(-)/high proliferation; P < 0.0001). PAM50.LumA tumors and Genufu subtype (ER(+)/Her2(-)/low proliferation) were more likely to express low levels of BLM mRNA (ps < 0.0001). Integrative molecular clusters (intClust) intClust.1 (P < 0.0001), intClust.5 (P < 0.0001), intClust.9 (P < 0.0001), and intClust.10 (P < 0.0001) were also more likely in tumors with high BLM mRNA expression. BLM mRNA overexpression was associated with poor breast cancer-specific survival (BCSS; ps < 0.000001). At the protein level, altered subcellular localization with high cytoplasmic BLM and low nuclear BLM was linked to aggressive phenotypes. In multivariate analysis, BLM mRNA and BLM protein levels independently influenced BCSS. This is the first and the largest study to provide evidence that BLM is a promising biomarker in breast cancer.

Kwakman R, de Cuba EM, de Winter JP, et al.
Tailoring heated intraperitoneal mitomycin C for peritoneal metastases originating from colorectal carcinoma: a translational approach to improve survival.
Br J Cancer. 2015; 112(5):851-6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Patients with peritoneal metastases (PMs) originating from colorectal carcinoma (CRC) are curatively treated by cytoreductive surgery (CRS) and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) with mitomycin C (MMC). We aim to improve patient selection for HIPEC by predicting MMC sensitivity.
METHODS: The MMC sensitivity was determined for 12 CRC cell lines and correlated to mRNA expression of 37 genes related to the Fanconi anaemia (FA)-BRCA pathway, ATM-ATR pathway and enzymatic activation of MMC. Functionality of the FA-BRCA pathway in cell lines was assessed using a chromosomal breakage assay and western blot for key protein FANCD2. Bloom syndrome protein (BLM) was further analysed by staining for the corresponding protein with immunohistochemistry (IHC) on both CRC cell lines (n=12) and patient material (n=20).
RESULTS: High sensitivity correlated with a low BLM (P=0.01) and BRCA2 (P=0.02) at mRNA expression level. However, FA-BRCA pathway functionality demonstrated no correlation to MMC sensitivity. In cell lines, weak intensity staining of BLM by IHC correlated to high sensitivity (P=0.04) to MMC. Low BLM protein expression was significantly associated with an improved survival in patients after CRS and HIPEC (P=0.04).
CONCLUSIONS: Low BLM levels are associated with high MMC sensitivity and an improved survival after HIPEC.

Chayka O, D'Acunto CW, Middleton O, et al.
Identification and pharmacological inactivation of the MYCN gene network as a therapeutic strategy for neuroblastic tumor cells.
J Biol Chem. 2015; 290(4):2198-212 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The MYC family of transcription factors consists of three well characterized members, c-MYC, L-MYC, and MYCN, deregulated in the majority of human cancers. In neuronal tumors such as neuroblastoma, MYCN is frequently activated by gene amplification, and reducing its expression by RNA interference has been shown to promote growth arrest and apoptosis of tumor cells. From a clinical perspective, RNA interference is not yet a viable option, and small molecule inhibitors of transcription factors are difficult to develop. We therefore planned to identify, at the global level, the genes interacting functionally with MYCN required to promote fitness of tumor cells facing oncogenic stress. To find genes whose inactivation is synthetically lethal to MYCN, we implemented a genome-wide approach in which we carried out a drop-out shRNA screen using a whole genome library that was delivered into isogenic neuroblastoma cell lines expressing or not expressing MYCN. After the screen, we selected for in-depth analysis four shRNAs targeting AHCY, BLM, PKMYT1, and CKS1B. These genes were chosen because they are directly regulated by MYC proteins, associated with poor prognosis of neuroblastoma patients, and inhibited by small molecule compounds. Mechanistically, we found that BLM and PKMYT1 are required to limit oncogenic stress and promote stabilization of the MYCN protein. Cocktails of small molecule inhibitors of CKS1B, AHCY, BLM, and PKMYT1 profoundly affected the growth of all neuroblastoma cell lines but selectively caused death of MYCN-amplified cells. Our findings suggest that drugging the MYCN network is a promising avenue for the treatment of high risk, neuroblastic cancers.

Wang Q, Lv H, Lv W, et al.
Genome-wide haplotype association study identifies BLM as a risk gene for prostate cancer in Chinese population.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(4):2703-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Prostate cancer (PC) is a common malignant tumor that occurs in the prostate epithelial cells. It is generally considered to be caused by both genetic and environmental factors. To identify the genetic risk factors of PC in Chinese population, we carried out a genome-wide haplotype-based association study. The 33 Chinese PC cases were from the public GEO database (GSE18333), and the 139 Chinese controls (CHB) were from the HapMap project. Our analysis included three stages: (1) identifying the linkage disequilibrium (LD) blocks and performing genome-wide haplotype association scan, (2) mapping PC-risk haplotypes to PC candidate genes, and (3) prioritizing PC candidate genes based on their similarity to known PC susceptibility genes. The results showed that (1) 749 haplotypes were significantly associated with PC (P < 1E-5). (2) Then, we mapped these significant haplotypes to genes and got 454 PC candidate genes. (3) After prioritizing the candidate genes based on their similarity to known PC susceptibility genes, we found that seven novel PC susceptibility genes including BLM, RPS6KA2, FRK, ERBB4, RBL1, PAK7, and ERBB2IP. Among the seven genes, BLM gene ranked first (P = 1.89E-04). A haplotype GGTTACCCCTC (rs2270131, rs2073919, rs11073953, rs12592875, rs16944863, rs2238337, rs414634, rs401549, rs17183344, rs16944884, and rs16944888) on chromosome 15q26.1 had significant association with PC (P = 2.37E-11). To our knowledge, this is the first genetic association study to show the significant association between BLM gene and PC susceptibility in Chinese population.

Matsushita Y, Yokoyama Y, Yoshida H, et al.
The level of RECQL1 expression is a prognostic factor for epithelial ovarian cancer.
J Ovarian Res. 2014; 7:107 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The human RECQ DNA helicase family is involved in genomic stability. Gene mutations of RECQL2, RECQL3, and RECQL4 are associated with genetic disorders and induce early aging and carcinogenesis. Although previous studies have reported that the level of RECQL1 expression is correlated with the prognosis of some of malignancies, the function of RECQL1 is not yet clarified. The present study aimed to examine the relationship between prognosis and the level of RECQL1 expression in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), and to identify the role of RECQL1 in EOC cells.
METHODS: The level of RECQL1 expression was determined immunohistochemically in 111 patients with EOC who received initial treatment at Hirosaki University hospital between 2006 and 2011. Effects of RECQL1 on cell growth or apoptosis were examined in vitro using wild-type and OVCAR-3 cells (RECQL1(+) cells) and similar cells transfected with RECQL1 siRNA transfected (RECQL1(-) cells).
RESULTS: The level of RECQL1 expression was not related to histological type, clinical stage, or retroperitoneal lymph node metastasis, but the expression level was significantly higher (P = 0.002) in patients with recurrence than those without recurrence, and progression-free survival and complete response rate to chemotherapy were also improved in patients with RECQL1-low expression (n = 39) stage III/IV EOC (P = 0.02 and P <0.05 vs RECQL1-high expression patients (n = ), respectively). A cell proliferation and colony formation assays revealed significantly less growth of RECQL1(-) cells compared to RECQL1(+) cells. A flow cytometry using annexin V -FITC and propidium iodide (PI) staining revealed a significant increase in apoptotic RECQL1(-) cells. Cell cycle analysis showed a significantly greater distribution in subG1 phase indicating apoptotic cells in RECQL1(-) cells than in RECQL1(+) cells.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that RECQL1 is a prognostic factor for EOC and that RECQL1 contributes to potential malignancy by inhibiting apoptosis.

Bogdanova N, Togo AV, Ratajska M, et al.
Prevalence of the BLM nonsense mutation, p.Q548X, in ovarian cancer patients from Central and Eastern Europe.
Fam Cancer. 2015; 14(1):145-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
A nonsense mutation, p.Q548X, in the BLM gene has recently been associated with an increased risk for breast cancer. In the present work, we investigated the prevalence of this Slavic founder mutation in 2,561 ovarian cancer cases from Russia, Belarus, Poland, Lithuania or Germany and compared its frequency with 6,205 ethnically matched healthy female controls. The p.Q548X allele was present in nine ovarian cancer patients of Slavic ancestry (0.5 %; including one case with concurrent BRCA1 mutation). The mutation was not significantly more frequent in cases than in controls (Mantel-Haenszel OR 1.14, 95 % CI 0.49; 2.67). Ovarian tumours in p.Q548X carriers were mainly of the serous subtype, and there was little evidence for an early age at diagnosis or pronounced family history of cancer. These findings indicate that the BLM p.Q548X mutation is not a strong risk factor for ovarian cancer.

Sokolenko AP, Bogdanova N, Kluzniak W, et al.
Double heterozygotes among breast cancer patients analyzed for BRCA1, CHEK2, ATM, NBN/NBS1, and BLM germ-line mutations.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014; 145(2):553-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
17 double heterozygous (DH) breast cancer (BC) patients were identified upon the analysis of 5,391 affected women for recurrent Slavic mutations in BRCA1, CHEK2, NBN/NBS1, ATM, and BLM genes. Double heterozygosity was found for BRCA1 and BLM (4 patients), BRCA1 and CHEK2 (4 patients), CHEK2 and NBS1 (3 patients), BRCA1 and ATM (2 patients), CHEK2 and BLM (2 patients), CHEK2 and ATM (1 patient), and NBS1 and BLM (1 patient). DH BC patients were on average not younger than single mutation carriers and did not have an excess of bilateral BC; an additional non-breast tumor was documented in two BRCA1/BLM DH patients (ovarian cancer and lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma). Loss-of-heterozygosity (LOH) analysis of involved genes was performed in 5 tumors, and revealed a single instance of somatic loss of the wild-type allele (LOH at CHEK2 locus in BRCA1/CHEK2 double heterozygote). Distribution of mutations in patients and controls favors the hypothesis on multiplicative interaction between at least some of the analyzed genes. Other studies on double heterozygosity for BC-predisposing germ-line mutations are reviewed.

Suspitsin EN, Yanus GA, Sokolenko AP, et al.
Development of breast tumors in CHEK2, NBN/NBS1 and BLM mutation carriers does not commonly involve somatic inactivation of the wild-type allele.
Med Oncol. 2014; 31(2):828 [PubMed] Related Publications
Somatic inactivation of the remaining allele is a characteristic feature of cancers arising in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers, which determines their unprecedented sensitivity to some DNA-damaging agents. Data on tumor-specific status of the involved gene in novel varieties of hereditary breast cancer (BC) remain incomplete. We analyzed 32 tumors obtained from 30 patients with non-BRCA1/2 BC-associated germ-line mutations: 25 women were single mutation carriers (7 BLM, 15 CHEK2 and 3 NBN/NBS1) and 5 were double mutation carriers (2 BLM/BRCA1, 1 CHEK2/BLM, 1 CHEK2/BRCA1 and 1 NBN/BLM). Losses of heterozygosity affecting the wild-type allele were detected in none of the tumors from BLM mutation carriers, 3/18 (17 %) CHEK2-associated BC and 1/4 (25 %) NBN/NBS1-driven tumors. The remaining 28 BC were subjected to the sequence analysis of entire coding region of the involved gene; no somatic mutations were identified. We conclude that the tumor-specific loss of the wild-type allele is not characteristic for BC arising in CHEK2, NBN/NBS1 and BLM mutation carriers. Rarity of "second-hit" inactivation of the involved gene in CHEK2-, NBN/NBS1- and BLM-associated BC demonstrates their substantial biological difference from BRCA1/2-driven cancers and makes them poorly suitable for the clinical trials with cisplatin and PARP inhibitors.

Antczak A, Kluźniak W, Wokołorczyk D, et al.
A common nonsense mutation of the BLM gene and prostate cancer risk and survival.
Gene. 2013; 532(2):173-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Germline mutations of BRCA2 and NBS1 genes cause inherited recessive chromosomal instability syndromes and predispose to prostate cancer of poor prognosis. Mutations of the BLM gene cause another chromosomal instability clinical syndrome, called Bloom syndrome. Recently, a recurrent truncating mutation of BLM (Q548X) has been associated with a 6-fold increased risk of breast cancer in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, but its role in prostate cancer etiology and survival has not been investigated yet.
METHODS: To establish whether the Q548X allele of the BLM gene is present in Poland, and whether this allele predisposes to poor prognosis prostate cancer, we genotyped 3337 men with prostate cancer and 2604 controls.
RESULTS: Q548X was detected in 13 of 3337 (0.4%) men with prostate cancer compared to 15 of 2604 (0.6%) controls (OR=0.7; 95% CI 0.3-1.4). A positive family history of any cancer in a first- or second-degree relative was seen only in 4 of the 13 (30%) mutation positive families, compared to 49% (1485/3001) of the non-carrier families (p=0.3). The mean follow-up was 49months. Survival was similar among carriers of Q548X and non-carriers (HR=1.1; p=0.9). The 5-year survival for men with a BLM mutation was 83%, compared to 72% for mutation-negative cases.
CONCLUSIONS: BLM Q548X is a common founder mutation in Poland. We found no evidence that this mutation predisposes one to prostate cancer or affect prostate cancer survival. However, based on the observed 0.6% population frequency of the Q548X allele, we estimate that one in 100,000 children should be affected by Bloom syndrome in Poland.

Chandra S, Priyadarshini R, Madhavan V, et al.
Enhancement of c-Myc degradation by BLM helicase leads to delayed tumor initiation.
J Cell Sci. 2013; 126(Pt 16):3782-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
The spectrum of tumors that arise owing to the overexpression of c-Myc and loss of BLM is very similar. Hence, it was hypothesized that the presence of BLM negatively regulates c-Myc functions. By using multiple isogenic cell lines, we observed that the decrease of endogenous c-Myc levels that occurs in the presence of BLM is reversed when the cells are treated with proteasome inhibitors, indicating that BLM enhances c-Myc turnover. Whereas the N-terminal region of BLM interacts with c-Myc, the rest of the helicase interacts with the c-Myc E3 ligase Fbw7. The two BLM domains act as 'clamp and/or adaptor', enhancing the binding of c-Myc to Fbw7. BLM promotes Fbw7-dependent K48-linked c-Myc ubiquitylation and its subsequent degradation in a helicase-independent manner. A subset of BLM-regulated genes that are also targets of c-Myc were determined and validated at both RNA and protein levels. To obtain an in vivo validation of the effect of BLM on c-Myc-mediated tumor initiation, isogenic cells from colon cancer cells that either do or do not express BLM had been manipulated to block c-Myc expression in a controlled manner. By using these cell lines, the metastatic potential and rate of initiation of tumors in nude mice were determined. The presence of BLM decreases c-Myc-mediated invasiveness and delays tumor initiation in a mouse xenograft model. Consequently, in tumors that express BLM but not c-Myc, we observed a decreased ratio of proliferation to apoptosis together with a suppressed expression of the angiogenesis marker CD31. Hence, partly owing to its regulation of c-Myc stability, BLM acts as a 'caretaker tumor suppressor'.

Sassi A, Popielarski M, Synowiec E, et al.
BLM and RAD51 genes polymorphism and susceptibility to breast cancer.
Pathol Oncol Res. 2013; 19(3):451-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
DNA repair by homologous recombination is one of the main processes of DNA double strand breaks repair. In the present work we performed a case-control study (304 cases and 319 controls) to check an association between the genotypes of the c.-61 G>T and the g.38922 C>G polymorphisms of the RAD51 gene and the g.96267 A>C and the g.85394 A>G polymorphisms of the BLM gene and breast cancer occurrence. Genotypes were determined in DNA from peripheral blood by PCR-RLFP and by PCR-CTPP. We observed an association between breast cancer occurrence and the T/G genotype (OR 4.41) of the c.-61 G>T-RAD51 polymorphism, the A/A genotype (OR 1.69) of the g.85394 A>G-BLM polymorphism and the A/A genotype (OR 2.49) of the g.96267 A>C-BLM polymorphism. Moreover, we demonstrated a correlation between intra- and intergenes genotypes combinations and breast cancer occurrence. We found a correlation between progesterone receptor expression and the T/G genotype (OR 0.57) of the c.-61 G>T- RAD51 polymorphism. We also found a correlation between the T/G genotype (OR 1.86) and the T/T genotype (OR 0.56) of the c.-61 G>T- RAD51 polymorphism and the lymph node metastasis. We showed an association between the A/A genotype (OR 2.45) and the A/C genotype (OR 0.41) of the g.96267 A>C-BLM polymorphism and G3 grade of tumor. Our results suggest that the variability of the RAD51 and BLM genes may play a role in breast cancer occurrence. This role may be underlined by a common interaction between these genes.

Rezazadeh S
On BLM helicase in recombination-mediated telomere maintenance.
Mol Biol Rep. 2013; 40(4):3049-64 [PubMed] Related Publications
Bloom syndrome (BS) is an extremely rare, autosomal recessive genetic syndrome of humans. Patients with BS are predisposed to almost all forms of cancer and also display premature aging phenotypes. These patients are diagnosed in the clinics by hyper-recombination phenotype that is manifested by high rates of sister chromatid exchange. The gene mutated in BS, designated BLM, lies on chromosome 15q26.1 and encodes a RecQ-like ATP-dependent 3'-5' helicase, which functions in DNA double-strand break repair processes such as non-homologous end joining, homologous recombination-mediated repair, resolution of stalled replication forks and synthesis-dependent strand annealing, although its precise functions at the telomeres are speculative. Recently it has been suggested that the BLM helicase may play important roles in Telomerase-independent forms of telomere elongation or alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT). A mechanism that although provides cells with a window of opportunity to save ends of their chromosomes, puts these Telomerase (-/-) cells under continuous stress. BLM localization within ALT-associated PML nuclear bodies in telomerase-negative immortalized cell lines and its interaction with the telomere-specific proteins strengthens that suggestion. Here, I begin by outlining features common to all RecQ helicases. I, then, survey evidences that implicate possible roles of BLM helicase in this recombination-mediated mechanism of telomere elongation.

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