Gene Summary

Gene:EZH2; enhancer of zeste 2 polycomb repressive complex 2 subunit
Aliases: WVS, ENX1, EZH1, KMT6, WVS2, ENX-1, EZH2b, KMT6A
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the Polycomb-group (PcG) family. PcG family members form multimeric protein complexes, which are involved in maintaining the transcriptional repressive state of genes over successive cell generations. This protein associates with the embryonic ectoderm development protein, the VAV1 oncoprotein, and the X-linked nuclear protein. This protein may play a role in the hematopoietic and central nervous systems. Multiple alternatively splcied transcript variants encoding distinct isoforms have been identified for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Feb 2011]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:histone-lysine N-methyltransferase EZH2
Source:NCBIAccessed: 15 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (24)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (1)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 15 March 2017 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.

Tag cloud generated 15 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (9)

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

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

Latest Publications: EZH2 (cancer-related)

Yang ZY, Yang F, Zhang YL, et al.
LncRNA-ANCR down-regulation suppresses invasion and migration of colorectal cancer cells by regulating EZH2 expression.
Cancer Biomark. 2017; 18(1):95-104 [PubMed] Related Publications
Our study aimed to explore the effects of long noncoding RNA (lncRNA)-ANCR on the invasion and migration of colorectal cancer (CRC) cells by regulating enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) expression. CRC tissues and adjacent normal tissues were collected and CRC SW620 cells line and normal human intestinal epithelial cells (HIECs) were incubated. CRC SW620 cells line was transfected with ANCR-siRNA. The expressions of ANCR and EZH2 mRNA were measured by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). EZH2 and trimethylation of H3K27 (H3K27me3) protein expressions were detected using Western blotting. The relationship between ANCR and EZH2 was determined through RNA pull-down and co-immunoprecipitation (co-IP) assays. Cell invasion and migration were determined by Trans-well and cell scratch assays. ANCR, EZH2 and H3K27me3 expressions were up-regulated in CRC tissues and SW620 cells (all P < 0.05). After transfected with ANCR-siRNA, SW620 cells showed decreased ANCR expression and EZH2 mRNA and protein expressions (all P < 0.05). According to the results of RNA pull-down and co-IP assays, ANCR could specifically bind to EZH2. The results of Trans-well and cell scratch tests showed that when ANCR expression was decreased, the invasion and migration abilities of SW620 cells significantly declined (both P < 0.05). In conclusion, these results suggest that lncRNA-ANCR could influence the invasion and migration of CRC cells by specifically binding to EZH2.

Zhou M, Zhang XY, Yu X
Overexpression of the long non-coding RNA SPRY4-IT1 promotes tumor cell proliferation and invasion by activating EZH2 in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 85:348-354 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Increasing evidences have demonstrated that the dysregulation of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) may act as an important role in tumor progression. The long non-coding RNA SPRY4 intronic transcript 1 (SPRY4-IT1) has been reported in some cancer including regulating cell growth, differentiation, apoptosis, and cancer progression. However, the expression and function of SPRY4-IT1 in the progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remain largely unknown.
METHODS: The lncRNA SPRY4-IT1 was detected by quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR) in HCC cell lines, CCK8 cell proliferation and transwell invasion assays were performed to detect the GC cell proliferation and invasion abilities. The protein expression of E-cadherin, Vimentin and Twist1 was analyzed by Western blotting assays. Furthermore, RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP) and Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays were used to analyze potential molecular mechanism of SPRY4-IT1 in HCC cells.
RESULTS: We found that SPRY4-IT1 was up-regulated in HCC cell lines. Further function analysis demonstrated that knockdown of SPRY4-IT1 significantly inhibited HCC cells proliferation and invasion, but over-expression of SPRY4-IT1 had the opposite effects on HCC cells in vitro. Moreover, our results also indicated that SPRY4-IT1 over-expression significantly promoted the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) by up-regulating the transcription factor Twist1 and EMT marker Vimentin and inhibited the E-cadherin expression in MHCC97L cell. Whereas, knockdown of SPRY4-IT1 suppressed the transcription factor Twist1 and EMT marker Vimentin and increased the E-cadherin expression in MHCC97H cells. Mechanisms investigations showed that SPRY4-IT1 interacted with the EZH2 and epigenetically repressed the E-cadherin expression. In vivo, we also demonstrated that the tumor growth was inhibited in SPRY4-IT1 knockdown group compared with the control group.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggested that lncRNA SPRY4-IT1 might be considered as a therapeutic target in HCC.

Zhang JJ, Chen JT, Hua L, et al.
miR-98 inhibits hepatocellular carcinoma cell proliferation via targeting EZH2 and suppressing Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 85:472-478 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a highly aggressive solid malignancy in the word. Aberrant microRNA (miRNA) expression is involved in human diseases including cancer. In the current study, we explore the function of miR-98 in HCC cell proliferation. We found that expression level of miR-98 was significantly decreased in HCC tissues and cells lines compared with adjacent non-tumor issues and human hepatic cell line LO2. Increased expression of miR-98 suppressed HCC cell proliferation and arrested HCC cell cycle in G0/G1 phase. While, suppressed expression of miR-98 showed the opposite effect. Bioinformatics analysis revealed EZH2, a putative tumor promoter as a potential target of miR-98. Additionally, luciferase reporter assay revealed that miR-98 directly binds to the 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) of EZH2 mRNA. Furthermore, we demonstrated that miR-98 could reduce the Wnt/β-catenin signal pathway by suppressing EZH2 directly. Moreover, inhibition of EZH2 abrogated the effect of miR-98 inhibitor on HCC cell proliferation. Taken together, these results suggested that miR-98 functioned as a potential tumor suppressor by regulating Wnt/β-catenin signal pathway through direct suppression of EZH2 expression and might sever as a potential therapeutic target for HCC patients.

Guo S, Bai Q, Rohr J, et al.
Clinicopathological features of primary diffuse large B-cell lymphoma of the central nervous system - strong EZH2 expression implying diagnostic and therapeutic implication.
APMIS. 2016; 124(12):1054-1062 [PubMed] Related Publications
Primary diffuse large B-cell lymphoma of the central nervous system (CNS DLBCL) is a rare entity which is difficult to diagnose and treat. The histone methyltransferase EZH2 was reported to be involved in the tumorigenesis of systemic DLBCL but has not been implicated in primary CNS DLBCL. The clinicopathological features of 33 cases of primary CNS DLBCL and expression of EZH2 and Y641 mutation were assessed. The tumor cells of the majority cases resembled centroblasts, and intriguingly, three cases of rare anaplastic variant were observed. Immunophenotypically, 25/33 (75.8%) cases were non-germinal center B-cell-like type. Several cases (10/33; 30.3%) co-expressed BCL2 and MYC, 6/33 (18.2%) expressed both BCL6 and MYC, and 5/33 (15.2%) expressed BCL2, BCL6, and MYC. MYC expression alone and BCL2/MYC co-expression were associated with poor prognosis. EZH2 was strongly expressed in all 33 cases independent of Y641 mutation and was significantly associated with the tumor proliferative index Ki67. However, no association was found between the level of EZH2 expression and outcomes of patients. In summary, the clinicopathological features including three rare anaplastic variant of primary CNS DLBCL are described. Strong expression of EZH2 in all the primary CNS DLBCL and association with high proliferative index provides further information for treatment and diagnosis of this distinctive entity.

Lian Y, Wang J, Feng J, et al.
Long non-coding RNA IRAIN suppresses apoptosis and promotes proliferation by binding to LSD1 and EZH2 in pancreatic cancer.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(11):14929-14937 [PubMed] Related Publications
Long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) modulates gene expression, while lncRNA dysregulation is associated with human cancer. Furthermore, while recent studies have shown that lncRNA IRAIN plays an important role in other malignancies, the role of IRAIN in pancreatic cancer (PC) progression remains unclear. In this study, we found that upregulation of lncRNA IRAIN was significantly correlated with tumor size, TNM stage, and lymph node metastasis in a cohort of 37 PC patients. In vitro experiments showed that knockdown of IRAIN by small interfering RNA (siRNA) significantly induced cell apoptosis and inhibited cell proliferation in both BxPC-3 and PANC-1 cells. Further mechanism study showed that, by binding to histone demethylase lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1), an enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), IRAIN reduced PC tumor cell apoptosis and induced growth arrest by silencing the expression of Kruppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) and P15. Moreover, IRAIN expression was inversely correlated with that of KLF2 and P15 in PC tissues. To our knowledge, this is the first report elucidating the role and mechanism of IRAIN in PC progression.

Huang Y, Tao Y, Hu K, et al.
Hypoxia-induced NIPP1 activation enhances metastatic potential and predicts poor prognosis in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(11):14903-14914 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hypoxia is known to promote hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) invasion and metastasis and nuclear inhibitor of protein phosphatase 1 (NIPP1) overexpression contributes to the malignant phenotype in HCC. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of NIPP1 in HCC development under hypoxia. We first conducted a study with 106 cases to explore the association of NIPP1 and/or enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) expression with poor prognosis in HCC. Then additional 352 independent cases were recruited to validate the results in the first stage. Hypoxia was induced by culturing HCC cells in 1 % O2 or of the treatment with hypoxic agent. The expression levels of NIPP1/EZH2 in both HCC tissues and HCC cell lines were detected by RT-PCR, Western blot, or immunohistochemistry. We also studied the effects of the loss of function of NIPP1 and EZH2 on malignant phenotypes, downstream pathway, and inflammatory factors activities using gene silencing strategy. Overall, we found that NIPP1 and EZH2 were overexpressed in both HCC tissue samples and HCC cell lines. High expression of HIPP1 was associated with poor prognosis and clinicopathological features in patients with advanced HCC. HIPP1 expression positively correlated with the expression of hypoxia marker (carbonic anhydrase IX). Hypoxia induced high expression of NIPP1. NIPP1/EZH2 knockdown in HCC cell lines under hypoxia suppressed the malignant phenotypes, reduced the expression of hypoxia-inducible Factor 1α, downstream molecules of EZH2, and inhibit the activity of inflammatory factors. In conclusion, we found that NIPP1 could be activated by hypoxia and contributed to hypoxia-induced invasive and metastatic potential in HCC.

Chang WS, Liao CH, Tsai CW, et al.
Association of Enhancer of Zeste 2 (EZH2) Genotypes with Bladder Cancer Risk in Taiwan.
Anticancer Res. 2016; 36(9):4509-14 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: Bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide and its incidence is particularly high in many developed regions including southwestern Taiwan. However, the genetic contribution to the etiology of bladder cancer is not well-understood. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association of the enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) genotypes with Taiwan bladder cancer risk.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Three polymorphic variants of EZH2 were analyzed regarding their association with bladder cancer risk, and three hundred and seventy-five patients with bladder cancer and same number of age- and gender-matched healthy controls recruited were genotyped by the PCR-RFLP method.
RESULTS: Among the three polymorphic sites examined, the genotypes of EZH2 rs887569 (C to T), but not rs41277434 (A to C) or rs3757441 (T to C), were positively associated with bladder cancer risk (p for trend =0.0146). Individuals with the EZH2 rs887569 TT genotypes were associated with decreased cancer risk than those with wild-type CC genotype. The stratified analyses showed that EZH2 rs887569 TT genotypes had protective effects on non-smokers but obviously not on smokers.
CONCLUSION: Our findings provide evidence that the T allele of EZH2 rs887569 may be associated with the lower risk of bladder cancer development, especially among non-smokers.

Sun Y, Jin L, Liu JH, et al.
Interfering EZH2 Expression Reverses the Cisplatin Resistance in Human Ovarian Cancer by Inhibiting Autophagy.
Cancer Biother Radiopharm. 2016; 31(7):246-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
We aimed to determine the effects of the inhibition of enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) gene expression on the cisplatin resistance of the human ovarian cancer cell line, SKOV3/DDP, and to identify the underlying mechanisms. SKOV3/DDP cells were stably transfected with pSUPER-EZH2 (EZH2 RNA interference plasmid) or pcDNA3.1-EZH2 (EZH2 gene overexpression plasmid) using the lipofection method. Real-time fluorescence quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and western blotting confirmed that EZH2 expression was downregulated in pSUPER-EZH2-transfected cells. Flow cytometry revealed that EZH2 inhibition did not induce apoptosis, but significantly inhibited autophagy. In addition, it significantly increased the expression of the cellular senescence-signaling proteins p14(ARF), p16(INK4a), p53, pRb, and p21, and significantly decreased the expression of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)1, CDK2, and H3K27me3. Cellular senescence was characterized by a significant increase in the G0/G1 ratio and the restoration of sensitivity to cisplatin in the drug-resistant cells. These findings suggest that interfering with EZH2 expression can inhibit SKOV3/DDP cell autophagy and reverse resistance to cisplatin. The underlying mechanisms could be associated with the regulation of the cellular senescence-signaling pathway.

García-Tobilla P, Solórzano SR, Salido-Guadarrama I, et al.
SFRP1 repression in prostate cancer is triggered by two different epigenetic mechanisms.
Gene. 2016; 593(2):292-301 [PubMed] Related Publications
Worldwide, prostate cancer (PCa) is the second cause of death from malignant tumors among men. Establishment of aberrant epigenetic modifications, such as histone post-translational modifications (PTMs) and DNA methylation (DNAme) produce alterations of gene expression that are common in PCa. Genes of the SFRP family are tumor suppressor genes that are frequently silenced by DNA hypermethylation in many cancer types. The SFRP family is composed of 5 members (SFRP1-5) that modulate the WNT pathway, which is aberrantly activated in PCa. The expression of SFRP genes in PCa and their regulation by DNAme has been controversial. Our objective was to determine the gene expression pattern of the SFRP family in prostatic cell lines and fresh frozen tissues from normal prostates (NP), benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer (PCa), by qRT-PCR, and their DNAme status by MSP and bisulfite sequencing. In prostatic cancer cell lines, the 5 SFRPs showed significantly decreased expression levels compared to a control normal prostatic cell line (p<0.0001). In agreement, SFRP1 and SFRP5 genes showed decreased expression levels in CaP fresh frozen tissues compared to NP (p<0.01), while a similar trend was observed for SFRP2. Conversely, increased levels of SFRP4 expression were found in PCa compared to BPH (p<0.01). Moreover, SFRP2, SFRP3, and SFRP5 showed DNA hypermethylation in PCa cell lines. Interestingly, we observed DNA hypermethylation at the promoter of SFRP1 in the PC3 cell line, but not in LNCaP. However, in the LNCaP cell line we found an aberrant gain of the repressive histone posttranslational modification Histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3). In conclusion, decreased expression by DNA hypermethylation of SFRP5 is a common feature of PCa, while decreased expression of SFRP1 can be due to DNA hypermethylation, but sometimes an aberrant gain of the histone mark H3K27me3 is observed instead.

Erdmann K, Kaulke K, Rieger C, et al.
MiR-26a and miR-138 block the G1/S transition by targeting the cell cycle regulating network in prostate cancer cells.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2016; 142(11):2249-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: The tumor-suppressive microRNAs miR-26a and miR-138 are significantly down-regulated in prostate cancer (PCa) and have been identified as direct regulators of enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), which is a known oncogene in PCa. In the present study, the influence of miR-26a and miR-138 on EZH2 and cellular function including the impact on the cell cycle regulating network was evaluated in PCa cells.
METHODS: PC-3 and DU-145 PCa cells were transfected with 100 nM of miRNA mimics, siRNA against EZH2 (siR-EZH2) or control constructs for 4 h. Analyses of gene expression and cellular function were conducted 48 h after transfection.
RESULTS: Both miRNAs influenced the EZH2 expression and activity only marginally, whereas siR-EZH2 led to a notable decrease of the EZH2 expression and activity. Both miRNAs inhibited short- and/or long-term proliferation of PCa cells but showed no effect on viability and apoptosis. In PC-3 cells, miR-26a and miR-138 caused a significant surplus of cells in the G0/G1 phase of 6 and 12 %, respectively, thus blocking the G1/S-phase transition. Treatment with siR-EZH2 was without substantial influence on cellular function and cell cycle. Therefore, alternative target genes involved in cell cycle regulation were identified in silico. MiR-26a significantly diminished the expression of its targets CCNE1, CCNE2 and CDK6, whereas CCND1, CCND3 and CDK6 were suppressed by their regulator miR-138.
CONCLUSIONS: The present findings suggest an anti-proliferative role for miR-26a and miR-138 in PCa by blocking the G1/S-phase transition independent of EZH2 but via a concerted inhibition of crucial cell cycle regulators.

Choi HJ, Jang S, Ryu JE, et al.
Significance of EZH2 expression in canine mammary tumors.
BMC Vet Res. 2016; 12(1):164 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Current studies report that aberrations in epigenetic regulators or chromatin modifications are related to tumor development and maintenance. EZH2 (Enhancer of zeste homolog 2) is one of the catalytic subunits of Polycomb repressive complex 2, a crucial epigenetic regulator. EZH2 has a master regulatory function in such processes as cell proliferation, stem cell differentiation, and early embryogenesis. In humans, EZH2 is linked to oncogenic function in several carcinomas, including breast cancer, and dysregulation of EZH2 has been particularly associated with loss of differentiation and the development of poorly differentiated breast cancer. In our present study, we were interested in determining whether EZH2 is increased in canine mammary tumors, which show similarities to human breast cancer.
RESULTS: Investigation of the expression of EZH2 in canine mammary tumors revealed that EZH2 protein was overexpressed in canine mammary carcinomas, as in human breast cancer. In addition, the immunohistochemical expression level of EZH2 was associated with the degree of malignancy in canine mammary carcinoma. This is the first report to describe EZH2 expression in canine mammary tumors.
CONCLUSIONS: Because the expression of EZH2 was similar in canine mammary carcinoma and human breast cancer, spontaneous canine mammary tumors may be a suitable model for studying EZH2 and treatment development.

Yang XJ, Huang CQ, Peng CW, et al.
Long noncoding RNA HULC promotes colorectal carcinoma progression through epigenetically repressing NKD2 expression.
Gene. 2016; 592(1):172-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Recently, long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been emerged as crucial regulators of human diseases and prognostic markers in numerous of cancers, including colorectal carcinoma (CRC). Here, we identified an oncogenetic lncRNA HULC, which may promote colorectal tumorigenesis. HULC has been found to be up-regulated and acts as oncogene in gastric cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma, but its expression pattern, biological function and underlying mechanism in CRC is still undetermined. Here, we reported that HULC expression is also over-expressed in CRC, and its increased level is associated with poor prognosis and shorter survival. Knockdown of HULC impaired CRC cells proliferation, migration and invasion, and facilitated cell apoptosis in vitro, and inhibited tumorigenicity of CRC cells in vivo. Mechanistically, RNA immunoprecipitation (RIP) and RNA pull-down experiment demonstrated that HULC could simultaneously interact with EZH2 to repress underlying targets NKD2 transcription. In addition, rescue experiments determined that HULC oncogenic function is partly dependent on repressing NKD2. Taken together, our findings expound how HULC over-expression endows an oncogenic function in CRC.

Yu P, Guo Y, Yusufu M, et al.
Decreased expression of EZH2 reactivates RASSF2A by reversal of promoter methylation in breast cancer cells.
Cell Biol Int. 2016; 40(10):1062-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
EZH2, the catalytic subunit of polycomb repressor complex 2, has oncogenic properties, whereas RASSF2A, a Ras association domain family protein, has a tumor suppressor role in many types of human cancer. However, the interrelationship between these two genes remains unclear. Here, we showed that the downregulation of EZH2 reduces CpG island methylation of the RASSF2A promoter, thereby leading to increased RASSF2A expression. Our findings also showed that knockdown of EZH2 increased RASSF2A expression in the human breast cancer cell line MCF-7 in cooperation with DNMT1. This was similar to the effect of 5-Aza-CdR, a DNA methylation inhibitor that reactivates tumor suppressor genes and activated RASSF2A expression in our study. The EZH2 inhibitor DZNep markedly suppressed the proliferation, migration, and invasion of MCF-7 cells treated with ADR and TAM. EZH2 inhibits the expression of tumor suppressor gene RASSF2A via promoter hypermethylation. Thus, it plays an important role in tumorigenesis and is a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of breast cancer.

Shan W, Zhang X, Li M, et al.
Over expression of miR-200c suppresses invasion and restores methotrexate sensitivity in lung cancer A549 cells.
Gene. 2016; 593(2):265-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs have become recognized as key players in the development of malignancy. MiR-200c can function as a tumor suppressor gene. However, the effect of miR-200c on methotrexate resistance remains unclear to date. This study aims to evaluate the function of miR-200c in lung cancer A549 cells. The data presented in our study demonstrated that the expression of miR-200c was down-regulated in methotrexate-resistant A549 cells. Over expression of miR-200c could significantly inhibit cell proliferation, induce G0/G1 cell cycle arrest and induce cell apoptosis. RT-PCR and Western blot assays showed that the expression of P53 and P21 were significantly increased with miR-200c overexpression. These results indicated that over expression of miR-200c might enhance the sensitivity of A549 cells to methotrexate through the P53/P21 pathway. Furthermore, miR-200c overexpression significantly inhibited cell migration and invasion with increasing the expression of E-cad and decreasing the expression of EZH2. In consequence, we provide a mechanism of acquired resistance to methotrexate that is caused by the loss of miR-200c in lung cancer cells. Along with this, our study demonstrates the complex network of microRNA mediated chemoresistance.

Zhang S, Zhang G, Liu J
Long noncoding RNA PVT1 promotes cervical cancer progression through epigenetically silencing miR-200b.
APMIS. 2016; 124(8):649-58 [PubMed] Related Publications
Long noncoding RNA PVT1 has been reported to be dysregulated and play vital roles in a variety of cancers. However, the functions and molecular mechanisms of PVT1 in cervical cancer remain unclear. The objective of this study was to investigate the expression, clinical significance, biological roles, and underlying functional mechanisms of PVT1 in cervical cancer. Our results revealed that PVT1 is upregulated in cervical cancer tissues. Enhanced expression of PVT1 is associated with larger tumor size, advanced International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stage, and poor prognosis of cervical cancer patients. Using gain-of-function and loss-of-function approaches, we demonstrated that overexpression of PVT1 promotes cervical cancer cells proliferation, cell cycle progression and migration, and depletion of PVT1 inhibits cervical cancer cell proliferation, cell cycle progression, and migration. Mechanistically, we verified that PVT1 binds to EZH2, recruits EZH2 to the miR-200b promoter, increases histone H3K27 trimethylation level on the miR-200b promoter, and inhibits miR-200b expression. Furthermore, the effects of PVT1 on cervical cell proliferation and migration depend upon silencing of miR-200b. Taken together, our findings confirmed that PVT1 functions as an oncogene in cervical cancer and indicated that PVT1 is not only an important prognostic marker, but also a potential therapy target for cervical cancer.

Furukawa Y, Kikuchi J
Epigenetic regulation of cell adhesion-mediated drug resistance acquisition in multiple myeloma.
Rinsho Ketsueki. 2016; 57(5):546-55 [PubMed] Related Publications
Elucidation of the epigenetic mechanisms underlying drug resistance may greatly contribute to the advancement of cancer therapies. In the present study, we identified trimethylation of histone H3 at lysine-27 (H3K27me3) as a critical histone modification for cell adhesion-mediated drug resistance (CAM-DR), which is the most important form of drug resistance in multiple myeloma. Cell adhesion counteracted drug-induced hypermethylation of H3K27 via inactivating phosphorylation of EZH2, leading to sustained expression of anti-apoptotic genes including IGF1, BCL2 and HIF1A. Inhibition of the IGF-1R/PI3K/Akt pathway reversed CAM-DR by promoting EZH2 dephosphorylation and H3K27 hypermethylation both in vitro and in refractory murine myeloma models. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of an epigenetic mechanism underlying CAM-DR and provides a rationale for the inclusion of kinase inhibitors counteracting EZH2 phosphorylation in combination chemotherapy aimed at increasing the therapeutic index.

Song X, Zhang L, Gao T, et al.
Selective inhibition of EZH2 by ZLD10A blocks H3K27 methylation and kills mutant lymphoma cells proliferation.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2016; 81:288-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
EZH2 (Enhancer of zeste homolog 2) is the catalytic subunit of the polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2), which is involved in repressing gene expression by methylating lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27) and regulates cell proliferation. EZH2 overexpression is implicated in tumorigenesis and has been a candidate oncogene in several tumor types. Recently, point mutations of EZH2 at Tyr641 and Ala677 were identified in diffuse large B cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma, where they drive H3K27 hypertrimethylation and cancer progression. Here, we reported a novel, highly potent and selective small molecule inhibitor of EZH2, ZLD10A, which inhibited wild-type and mutant versions of EZH2 with nanomolar potency and had greater than 1000-fold selectivity against 10 other histone methyltransferases. Our results have shown that the compound suppressed global H3K27 methylation and cause the anti-proliferation effects in a concentration- and time-dependent manner in DLBCL cell lines. These results demonstrated that ZLD10A, as a novel EZH2 inhibitor, could be a potential promising agent for the treatment of EZH2 mutant lymphoma.

Stavrovskaya AA, Shushanov SS, Rybalkina EY
Problems of Glioblastoma Multiforme Drug Resistance.
Biochemistry (Mosc). 2016; 81(2):91-100 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBL) is the most common and aggressive brain neoplasm. A standard therapeutic approach for GBL involves combination therapy consisting of surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. The latter is based on temozolomide (TMZ). However, even by applying such a radical treatment strategy, the mean patient survival time is only 14.6 months. Here we review the molecular mechanisms underlying the resistance of GBL cells to TMZ including genetic and epigenetic mechanisms. Present data regarding a role for genes and proteins MGMT, IDH1/2, YB-1, MELK, MVP/LRP, MDR1 (ABCB1), and genes encoding other ABC transporters as well as Akt3 kinase in developing resistance of GBL to TMZ are discussed. Some epigenetic regulators of resistance to TMZ such as microRNA and EZH2 are reviewed.

Gall Trošelj K, Novak Kujundzic R, Ugarkovic D
Polycomb repressive complex's evolutionary conserved function: the role of EZH2 status and cellular background.
Clin Epigenetics. 2016; 8:55 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
When assembled in multiprotein polycomb repressive complexes (PRCs), highly evolutionary conserved polycomb group (PcG) proteins epigenetically control gene activity. Although the composition of PRCs may vary considerably, it is well established that the embryonic ectoderm development (EED) 1, suppressor of zeste (SUZ) 12, and methyltransferase enhancer of zeste (EZH2)-containing complex, PRC2, which is abundant in highly proliferative cells (including cancer cells), establishes a repressive methylation mark on histone 3 (H3K27me3). From the perspective of molecular cancer pathogenesis, this effect, when directed towards a promoter of tumor suppressor genes, represents pro-tumorigenic effect. This mode of action was shown in several cancer models. However, EZH2 function extends beyond this scenario. The highly specific cellular background, related to the origin of cell and numerous external stimuli during a given time-window, may be the trigger for EZH2 interaction with other proteins, not necessarily histones. This is particularly relevant for cancer. This review provides a critical overview of the evolutional importance of PRC and discusses several important aspects of EZH2 functioning within PRC. The review also deals with mutational studies on EZH2. Due to the existence of several protein (and messenger RNA (mRNA)) isoforms, these mutations were stratified, using the protein sequence which is considered canonical. This approach showed that there is an urgent need for the uniformed positioning of currently known EZH2 mutations (somatic-in tumors, as well as germline mutations in the Weaver's syndrome). Finally, we discuss EZH2 function with respect to amount of trimethylated H3K27, in a specific cellular milieu, through presenting the most recent data related to EZH2-H3K27m3 relationship in cancer. All these points are significant in considering EZH2 as a therapeutic target.

Morera L, Lübbert M, Jung M
Targeting histone methyltransferases and demethylases in clinical trials for cancer therapy.
Clin Epigenetics. 2016; 8:57 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The term epigenetics is defined as heritable changes in gene expression that are not due to alterations of the DNA sequence. In the last years, it has become more and more evident that dysregulated epigenetic regulatory processes have a central role in cancer onset and progression. In contrast to DNA mutations, epigenetic modifications are reversible and, hence, suitable for pharmacological interventions. Reversible histone methylation is an important process within epigenetic regulation, and the investigation of its role in cancer has led to the identification of lysine methyltransferases and demethylases as promising targets for new anticancer drugs. In this review, we describe those enzymes and their inhibitors that have already reached the first stages of clinical trials in cancer therapy, namely the histone methyltransferases DOT1L and EZH2 as well as the demethylase LSD1.

Li CP, Cai MY, Jiang LJ, et al.
CLDN14 is epigenetically silenced by EZH2-mediated H3K27ME3 and is a novel prognostic biomarker in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Carcinogenesis. 2016; 37(6):557-66 [PubMed] Related Publications
Trimethylation of lysine 27 on histone H3 (H3K27ME3) is a transcription-suppressive histone mark mediated by enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2). We have previously suggested that EZH2-mediated H3K27ME3 plays a critical oncogenic role in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) aggressiveness. However, the direct downstream targets of EZH2-H3K27ME3 and the molecular mechanisms by which regulates HCC pathogenesis remain unclear. In this study, we used chromatin immunoprecipitation together with high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq) and gene expression profiling by microarray analysis to assess genome-wide chromatin occupancy of H3K27ME3 in HCC cells. We identified that claudin14 (CLDN14) is a potentially direct target for EZH2-mediated H3K27ME3 in HCC. In a large cohort of clinical HCC tissues, we found that low expression of CLDN14 was significantly associated with advanced tumor stage and determined to be an independent predictor of shortened survival of HCC patients. Next, functional experiment demonstrated that depletion of CLDN14 substantially restored EZH2-silenced HCC cells motility and invasive capacities and supported cell epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Furthermore, downregulation of CLDN14 dramatically re-enhanced the wnt/β-catenin signaling activity in EZH2-silenced HCC cells by increasing the levels of active β-catenin and promoting the nuclear localization of β-catenin. These results, collectively, uncover that CLDN14 is a novel direct target of EZH2-mediated H3K27ME3, and provide an explanation for the aggressive nature of HCC with downregulation of CLDN14 and the underling mechanism that links the tumor suppressor CLDN14 to the wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.

Schäfer V, Ernst J, Rinke J, et al.
EZH2 mutations and promoter hypermethylation in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2016; 142(7):1641-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common malignancy in children and young adults. The polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) has been identified as one of the most frequently mutated epigenetic protein complexes in hematologic cancers. PRC2 acts as an epigenetic repressor through histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3), catalyzed by the histone methyltransferase enhancer of zeste homolog 2 protein (EZH2).
METHODS: To study the prevalence and clinical impact of PRC2 aberrations in an unselected childhood ALL cohort (n = 152), we performed PRC2 mutational screenings by Sanger sequencing and promoter methylation analyses by quantitative pyrosequencing for the three PRC2 core component genes EZH2, suppressor of zeste 12 (SUZ12), and embryonic ectoderm development (EED). Targeted deep next-generation sequencing of 30 frequently mutated genes in leukemia was performed to search for cooperating mutations in patients harboring PRC2 aberrations. Finally, the functional consequence of EZH2 promoter hypermethylation on H3K27me3 was studied by Western blot analyses of primary cells.
RESULTS: Loss-of-function EZH2 mutations were detected in 2/152 (1.3 %) patients with common-ALL and early T-cell precursor (ETP)-ALL, respectively. In one patient, targeted deep sequencing identified cooperating mutations in ASXL1 and TET2. EZH2 promoter hypermethylation was found in one patient with ETP-ALL which led to reduced H3K27me3. In comparison with healthy children, the EZH2 promoter was significantly higher methylated in T-ALL patients. No mutations or promoter methylation changes were identified for SUZ12 or EED genes, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Although PRC2 aberrations seem to be rare in childhood ALL, our findings indicate that EZH2 aberrations might contribute to the disease in specific cases. Hereby, EZH2 promoter hypermethylation might have functionally similar consequences as loss-of-function mutations.

Chen Y, Pan K, Wang P, et al.
HBP1-mediated Regulation of p21 Protein through the Mdm2/p53 and TCF4/EZH2 Pathways and Its Impact on Cell Senescence and Tumorigenesis.
J Biol Chem. 2016; 291(24):12688-705 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The activity of the CDK inhibitor p21 is associated with diverse biological activities, including cell proliferation, senescence, and tumorigenesis. However, the mechanisms governing transcription of p21 need to be extensively studied. In this study, we demonstrate that the high-mobility group box-containing protein 1 (HBP1) transcription factor is a novel activator of p21 that works as part of a complex mechanism during senescence and tumorigenesis. We found that HBP1 activates the p21 gene through enhancing p53 stability by inhibiting Mdm2-mediated ubiquitination of p53, a well known positive regulator of p21. HBP1 was also found to enhance p21 transcription by inhibiting Wnt/β-catenin signaling. We identified histone methyltransferase EZH2, the catalytic subunit of polycomb repressive complex 2, as a target of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. HBP1-mediated repression of EZH2 through Wnt/β-catenin signaling decreased the level of trimethylation of histone H3 at lysine 27 of overall and specific histone on the p21 promoter, resulting in p21 transactivation. Although intricate, the reciprocal partnership of HBP1 and p21 has exceptional importance. HBP1-mediated elevation of p21 through the Mdm2/p53 and TCF4/EZH2 pathways contributes to both cellular senescence and tumor inhibition. Together, our results suggest that the HBP1 transcription factor orchestrates a complex regulation of key genes during cellular senescence and tumorigenesis with an impact on protein ubiquitination and overall histone methylation state.

Xu Z, Sun Y, Guo Y, et al.
NF-YA promotes invasion and angiogenesis by upregulating EZH2-STAT3 signaling in human melanoma cells.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 35(6):3630-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The process of angiogenesis is essential for tumor development and metastasis. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is overexpressed in most human cancers, has been demonstrated to be a major modulator of angiogenesis. Thus, inhibition of VEGF signaling has the potential for tumor anti-angiogenic therapy. Signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT3) is a key regulator for angiogenesis by directly binding to the VEGF promoter to upregulate its transcription. Several factors can enhance STAT3 activity to affect angiogenesis. Here, we found that overexpression of nuclear transcription factor-Y alpha (NF-YA) gene could promote cell invasion and angiogenesis accompanying the increase of STAT3 signaling in human melanoma cells. Moreover, the expression and secretion of VEGF was also found to be upregulated by the overexpression of NF-YA gene in melanoma cells. The STAT3 inhibitor was able to attenuate the upregulation of VEGF induced by NF-YA overexpression. Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), the catalytic subunit of the Polycomb repressive complex 2, enhances STAT3 activity by mediating its lysine methylation. We also showed that NF-YA upregulated the expression of EZH2 and NF-YA‑induced angiogenesis could be inhibited by EZH2 knockdown. Taken together, these findings indicate that overexpression of NF-YA contributes to tumor angiogenesis through EZH2-STAT3 signaling in human melanoma cells, highlighting NF-YA as a potential therapeutic target in human melanoma.

Edfeldt K, Hellman P, Westin G, Stalberg P
A plausible role for actin gamma smooth muscle 2 (ACTG2) in small intestinal neuroendocrine tumorigenesis.
BMC Endocr Disord. 2016; 16:19 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Small intestinal neuroendocrine tumors (SI-NETs) originate from the enterochromaffin cells in the ileum and jejunum. The knowledge about genetic and epigenetic abnormalities is limited. Low mRNA expression levels of actin gamma smooth muscle 2 (ACTG2) have been demonstrated in metastases relative to primary SI-NETs. ACTG2 and microRNA-145 (miR-145) are aberrantly expressed in other cancers and ACTG2 can be induced by miR-145. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of ACTG2 in small intestinal neuroendocrine tumorigenesis.
METHODS: Protein expression was analyzed in SI-NETs (n = 24) and in enterochromaffin cells by immunohistochemistry. The cell line CNDT2.5 was treated with the histone methyltransferase inhibitor 3-deazaneplanocin A (DZNep), the selective EZH2 inhibitor EPZ-6438, or 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine, a DNA hypomethylating agent. Cells were transfected with ACTG2 expression plasmid or miR-145. Western blotting analysis, quantitative RT-PCR, colony formation- and viability assays were performed. miR-145 expression levels were measured in tumors.
RESULTS: Eight primary tumors and two lymph node metastases displayed variable levels of positive staining. Fourteen SI-NETs and normal enterochromaffin cells stained negatively. Overexpression of ACTG2 significantly inhibited CNDT2.5 cell growth. Treatment with DZNep or transfection with miR-145 induced ACTG2 expression (>10-fold), but no effects were detected after treatment with EPZ-6438 or 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine. DZNep also induced miR-145 expression. SI-NETs expressed relatively low levels of miR-145, with reduced expression in metastases compared to primary tumors.
CONCLUSIONS: ACTG2 is expressed in a fraction of SI-NETs, can inhibit cell growth in vitro, and is positively regulated by miR-145. Theoretical therapeutic strategies based on these results are discussed.

Li Y, Cui W, Woodroof JM, Zhang D
Extranodal B Cell Lymphoma with Prominent Spindle Cell Features Arising in Uterus and in Maxillary Sinus: Report of Two Cases and Literature Review.
Ann Clin Lab Sci. 2016; 46(2):213-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Primary B-cell lymphoma exhibiting a spindle dominant pattern is extremely rare and represents a potential diagnostic pitfall. Here we report two cases of extranodal B cell lymphoma with spindle cell dominant morphology (sp-BCL) of uterus and maxillary sinus. Case 1 was a 54-year-old female with a large mass in the lower uterine segment, inseparable from the wall of the rectum and the urinary bladder. This is the first report of primary sp-BCL arising in the lower uterine segment. Case 2 was a 54-year-old male with a permeative mass involving the maxillary sinus wall with extension into the premaxillary soft tissues. Biopsies of both cases revealed a diffuse infiltration by medium to large atypical spindle cells. A panel of immunohistochemical stains was performed to rule out the possibilities of sarcoma, carcinoma, or melanoma. The final diagnosis was diffuse large B cell lymphoma, germinal center type. This is the first report of sp-BCL incorporating molecular genetic studies and the next-generation sequencing analysis performed on the maxillary lymphoma revealed three genomic alterations in genes of EZH2 (Y646N), IRF8 (S55A), and TNFRSF14 (splice site 304+2T>C). These genes were reported to play important roles in the pathogenesis of diffuse large B cell lymphoma. Both patients achieved complete remission after excision and chemo-radiation therapy despite the extensive local involvement.

Ding XL, Yang X, Liang G, Wang K
Isoform switching and exon skipping induced by the DNA methylation inhibitor 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:24545 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
DNA methylation in gene promoters leads to gene silencing and is the therapeutic target of methylation inhibitors such as 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-Aza-CdR). By analyzing the time series RNA-seq data (days 5, 9, 13, 17) obtained from human bladder cells exposed to 5-Aza-CdR with 0.1 uM concentration, we showed that 5-Aza-CdR can affect isoform switching and differential exon usage (i.e., exon-skipping), in addition to its effects on gene expression. We identified more than 2,000 genes with significant expression changes after 5-Aza-CdR treatment. Interestingly, 29 exon-skipping events induced by treatment were identified and validated experimentally. Particularly, exon-skipping event in Enhancer of Zeste Homologue 2 (EZH2) along with expression changes showed significant down regulation on Day 5 and Day 9 but returned to normal level on Day 13 and Day 17. EZH2 is a component of the multi-subunit polycomb repressive complex PRC2, and the down-regulation of exon-skipping event may lead to the regain of functional EZH2 which was consistent with our previous finding that demethylation may cause regain of PRC2 in demethylated regions. In summary, our study identified pervasive transcriptome changes of bladder cancer cells after treatment with 5-Aza-CdR, and provided valuable insights into the therapeutic effects of 5-Aza-CdR in current clinical trials.

Lin Y, Zheng Y, Wang ZC, Wang SY
Prognostic significance of ASXL1 mutations in myelodysplastic syndromes and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia: A meta-analysis.
Hematology. 2016; 21(8):454-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Although additional sex comb-like 1 (ASXL1) gene mutations have long been reported in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDSs) and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML), the prognostic significance has been controversial. Therefore, a meta-analysis to study the impact of ASXL1 mutations on patients with MDS and CMML is useful.
METHODS: The identified articles were retrieved from some common databases. We extracted hazard ratios (HRs) for overall survival (OS) and leukemic-free survival (LFS) and P-value of some clinical parameters, which compared AXSL1 mutations to those without from the available studies. Each individual HR and P-value was used to calculate the pooled HR and P-value.
RESULTS: Six studies covering 1689 patients were selected for this meta-analysis. The pooled HRs for OS and LFS were 1.45 (95% confidential interval (CI), 1.24-1.70) and 2.20 (95% CI, 1.53-3.17), respectively. When considering CMML patients alone the HR for OS was 1.50 (95% CI, 1.18-1.90). Additionally, ASXL1 mutations were more frequently found in male (P = 0.008), older (P = 0.019), and patients with lower platelets (P = 0.009) or hemoglobin level (P = 0.0015) and associated with other mutations such as EZH2, IDH1/2, RUNX1, and TET2.
DISCUSSION: Although our analysis has its limitation, it showed that ASXL1 mutations had significant inferior impact on OS and LFS for French-American-British-defined MDS patients. However, the influence of different types of ASXL1 mutations on patients with MDS still needs illustrating.
CONCLUSION: ASXL1 mutations were associated with poor prognosis in MDS, which may contribute to risk stratification and prognostic assessment in the disease.

Pelosi G, Pellegrinelli A, Fabbri A, et al.
Deciphering intra-tumor heterogeneity of lung adenocarcinoma confirms that dominant, branching, and private gene mutations occur within individual tumor nodules.
Virchows Arch. 2016; 468(6):651-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
While pulmonary adenocarcinoma (ADC) is morphologically heterogeneous, little is known about intra-tumor gene mutation heterogeneity (ITH). We therefore subjected 20 ADC nodules, 5 mutated for EGFR and 5 for KRAS, 5 with an ALK translocation, and 5 wild type (WT) for these alterations, to unsupervised next-generation sequencing of tumor regions from diverse architectural patterns. When 2 or more different gene mutations were found in a single tumor, this fulfilled the criteria for ITH. In the 84 studied tumor regions with diverse architecture, 71 gene mutations and 34 WT profiles were found. ITH was observed in 9/15 (60 %) ADC, 3 with an EGFR, 3 with a KRAS, and 3 with an ALK aberration, as reflected in 5, 6, and 9 additional mutations, respectively, detected in these tumors. EGFR mutations were observed in 21/22 and KRAS mutations in 18/22 tumor regions, suggesting that they appear early and have a driver role (dominant or trunk mutations). Branching mutations (in EZH2, PIK3CA, TP53, and EGFR exon 18) occurred in two or more regions, while private mutations (in ABL1, ALK, BRAF, HER2, KDR, LKB1, PTEN, MET, SMAD4, SMARCB1, and SRC) were confined to unique tumor samples of individual lesions, suggesting that they occurred later on during tumor progression. Patients with a tumor showing branching mutations ran a worse clinical course, independent of confounding factors. We conclude that in ADC, ITH exists in a pattern suggesting spatial and temporal hierarchy with dominant, branching, and private mutations. This is consistent with diverse intra-tumor clonal evolution, which has potential implications for patient prognosis or development of secondary therapy resistance.

Zhu Z, Tang J, Wang J, et al.
MiR-138 Acts as a Tumor Suppressor by Targeting EZH2 and Enhances Cisplatin-Induced Apoptosis in Osteosarcoma Cells.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(3):e0150026 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Chemotherapeutic insensitivity remains a major obstacle to treating osteosarcoma effectively. Recently, increasing evidence has suggested that microRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in drug resistance. However, the effect of miR-138 on cisplatin chemoresistance in osteosarcoma has not been reported. We used real-time PCR to detect the expression of mature miR-138 in osteosarcoma tissues and cell lines. Cell proliferation, invasion, and migration assays were used to observe changes to the osteosarcoma malignant phenotype. MiR-138 was downregulated in osteosarcoma tissues and cell lines, and miR-138 overexpression negatively regulated osteosarcoma cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. We also verified that EZH2 is a direct target of miR-138. Furthermore, enhancing EZH2 expression reduced the inhibitory effects of miR-138 on osteosarcoma. Proliferation, apoptosis assays and caspase-3 activity assay confirmed that elevated miR-138 expression enhanced osteosarcoma cell chemosensitivity to cisplatin by targeting EZH2. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates that miR-138 acts as a tumor suppressor by enhancing osteosarcoma cell chemosensitivity and supports its potential application for treating osteosarcoma in the future.

Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes only; it can not be used in diagnosis or treatment.

Cite this page: Cotterill SJ. EZH2, Cancer Genetics Web: http://www.cancer-genetics.org/EZH2.htm Accessed:

Creative Commons License
This page in Cancer Genetics Web by Simon Cotterill is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Note: content of abstracts copyright of respective publishers - seek permission where appropriate.

 [Home]    Page last revised: 15 March, 2017     Cancer Genetics Web, Established 1999