Gene Summary

Gene:H2AX; H2A.X variant histone
Aliases: H2A.X, H2A/X, H2AFX
Summary:Histones are basic nuclear proteins that are responsible for the nucleosome structure of the chromosomal fiber in eukaryotes. Two molecules of each of the four core histones (H2A, H2B, H3, and H4) form an octamer, around which approximately 146 bp of DNA is wrapped in repeating units, called nucleosomes. The linker histone, H1, interacts with linker DNA between nucleosomes and functions in the compaction of chromatin into higher order structures. This gene encodes a replication-independent histone that is a member of the histone H2A family, and generates two transcripts through the use of the conserved stem-loop termination motif, and the polyA addition motif. [provided by RefSeq, Oct 2015]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:histone H2AX
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (25)

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.

  • MRE11 Homologue Protein
  • Angiogenesis
  • Drug Resistance
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors
  • Adolescents
  • Histones
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Chromosome 11
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Tumor Suppressor Gene
  • DNA Repair
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Lung Cancer
  • Apoptosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • DNA Methylation
  • H2AFX
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Breast Cancer
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • Promoter Regions
  • Cell Survival
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Transcription Factors
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • DNA Damage
  • Genotype
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Phthalazines
  • Alleles
Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

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: H2AFX (cancer-related)

Mantso T, Vasileiadis S, Lampri E, et al.
Hyperthermia Suppresses Post -
Anticancer Res. 2019; 39(5):2307-2315 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Several studies have highlighted hyperthermia's ability to enhance the effectiveness of radiation and chemotherapy in various in vitro and in vivo cancer models.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In vivo murine models of malignant melanoma and colon carcinoma were utilized for demonstrating hyperthermia's therapeutic effectiveness by examining levels of caspase 3, COX-2 and phospho-H2A.X (Ser139) as endpoints of apoptosis, proliferation and DNA damage respectively.
RESULTS: Hyperthermia induced in vitro cytotoxicity in malignant melanoma (B16-F10) and colon carcinoma (CT26) cell lines. In addition, it reduced post-in vitro proliferation and suppression of tumor growth by inducing the expression of caspase-3 and phospho-H2A.X (Ser139) while reducing the expression of COX-2 in both murine cancer models.
CONCLUSION: Hyperthermia can exert therapeutic effectiveness against melanoma and colon carcinoma by inhibiting a number of critical cellular cascades including apoptosis, proliferation and DNA damage.

Sun Y, Xiaoyan H, Yun L, et al.
Identification of Key Candidate Genes and Pathways for Relationship between Ovarian Cancer and Diabetes Mellitus Using Bioinformatical Analysis
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2019; 20(1):145-155 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ovarian cancer is one of the three major gynecologic cancers in the world. The aim of this study is to find the relationship between ovarian cancer and diabetes mellitus by using the genetic screening technique. By GEO database query and related online tools of analysis, we analyzed 185 cases of ovarian cancer and 10 control samples from GSE26712, and a total of 379 different genes were identified, including 104 up-regulated genes and 275 down-regulated genes. The up-regulated genes were mainly enriched in biological processes, including cell adhesion, transcription of nucleic acid and biosynthesis, and negative regulation of cell metabolism. The down-regulated genes were enriched in cell proliferation, migration, angiogenesis and macromolecular metabolism. Protein-protein interaction was analyzed by network diagram and module synthesis analysis. The top ten hub genes (CDC20, H2AFX, ENO1, ACTB, ISG15, KAT2B, HNRNPD, YWHAE, GJA1 and CAV1) were identified, which play important roles in critical signaling pathways that regulate the process of oxidation-reduction reaction and carboxylic acid metabolism. CTD analysis showed that the hub genes were involved in 1,128 distinct diseases (bonferroni-corrected P<0.05). Further analysis by drawing the Kaplan-Meier survival curve indicated that CDC20 and ISG15 were statistically significant (P<0.05). In conclusion, glycometabolism was related to ovarian cancer and genes and proteins in glycometabolism could serve as potential targets in ovarian cancer treatment.

Guney Eskiler G, Cecener G, Egeli U, Tunca B
Synthetically Lethal BMN 673 (Talazoparib) Loaded Solid Lipid Nanoparticles for BRCA1 Mutant Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
Pharm Res. 2018; 35(11):218 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was to produce BMN 673 loaded solid lipid nanoparticles (SLNs) to improve its therapeutic index, to minimize toxicity and to overcome homologous recombination (HR)-mediated resistance.
METHODS: Firstly, BMN 673-SLNs were characterized using Nano Zeta Sizer. After treatment with different concentrations of BMN 673 and BMN 673-SLNs, cell viability of HCC1937
RESULTS: When compared with BMN 673, BMN 673-SLNs showed remarkably a decrease in HCC1937 and HCC1937-R cells with less damage to MCF-10A cells. BMN 673-SLNs significantly induced toxicity through double-stranded DNA breaks, G2/M cell cycle arrest and PARP cleavage in TNBC cells. Additionally, BMN 673-resistance was mediated by miR-107, miR-193b and miR-1255b targeting BRCA1 and RAD51 in HCC1937 and HCC1937-R cells. However, BMN 673-SLNs treatment could overcome HR-mediated resistance in TNBC cells.
CONCLUSIONS: As a result, our findings suggest that SLNs formulation strongly provides a synthetic lethal therapeutic potential in BRCA1 mutated sensitive and resistant TNBC cells.

Xu MD, Liu SL, Zheng BB, et al.
The radiotherapy-sensitization effect of cantharidin: Mechanisms involving cell cycle regulation, enhanced DNA damage, and inhibited DNA damage repair.
Pancreatology. 2018; 18(7):822-832 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cantharidin is an inhibitor of protein phosphatase 2 A (PP2A), and has been frequently used in clinical practice. In our previous study, we proved that cantharidin could arrest cell cycle in G2/M phase. Since cells at G2/M phase are sensitive to radiotherapy, in the present study, we investigated the radiotherapy-sesitization effect of cantharidin and the potential mechanisms involved.
METHODS: Cell growth was determined by MTT assay. Cell cycle was evaluated by flow cytometry. DNA damage was visualized by phospho-Histone H2A.X staining. Expression of mRNA was tested by microarray assay and real-time PCR. Clinical information and RNA-Seq expression data were derived from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) pancreatic cancer cohort. Survival analysis was obtained by Kaplan-Meier estimates.
RESULTS: Cantharidin strengthened the growth inhibition effect of irradiation. Cantharidin drove pancreatic cancer cells out of quiescent G0/G1 phase and arrested cell cycle in G2/M phase. As a result, cantharidin strengthened DNA damage which was induced by irradiation. Moreover, cantharidin repressed expressions of several genes participating in DNA damage repair, including UBE2T, RPA1, GTF2HH5, LIG1, POLD3, RMI2, XRCC1, PRKDC, FANC1, FAAP100, RAD50, RAD51D, RAD51B and DMC1, through JNK, ERK, PKC, p38 and/or NF-κB pathway dependent manners. Among these genes, worse overall survival for pancreatic cancer patients were associated with high mRNA expressions of POLD3, RMI2, PRKDC, FANC1, RAD50 and RAD51B, all of which could be down-regulated by cantharidin.
CONCLUSION: Cantharidin can sensitize pancreatic cancer cells to radiotherapy. Multiple mechanisms, including cell cycle regulation, enhanced DNA damage, and inhibited DNA damage repair, may be involved.

Liu Y, Long YH, Wang SQ, et al.
JMJD6 regulates histone H2A.X phosphorylation and promotes autophagy in triple-negative breast cancer cells via a novel tyrosine kinase activity.
Oncogene. 2019; 38(7):980-997 [PubMed] Related Publications
Overexpression of Jumonji domain-containing 6 (JMJD6) has been reported to be associated with more aggressive breast cancer characteristics. However, the precise role of JMJD6 in breast cancer development remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that JMJD6 has intrinsic tyrosine kinase activity and can utilize ATP and GTP as phosphate donors to phosphorylate Y39 of histone H2A.X (H2A.X

Selvan LDN, Danda R, Madugundu AK, et al.
Phosphoproteomics of Retinoblastoma: A Pilot Study Identifies Aberrant Kinases.
Molecules. 2018; 23(6) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Retinoblastoma is a malignant tumour of the retina which most often occurs in children. Earlier studies on retinoblastoma have concentrated on the identification of key players in the disease and have not provided information on activated/inhibited signalling pathways. The dysregulation of protein phosphorylation in cancer provides clues about the affected signalling cascades in cancer. Phosphoproteomics is an ideal tool for the study of phosphorylation changes in proteins. Hence, global phosphoproteomics of retinoblastoma (RB) was carried out to identify signalling events associated with this cancer. Over 350 proteins showed differential phosphorylation in RB compared to control retina. Our study identified stress response proteins to be hyperphosphorylated in RB which included H2A histone family member X (H2AFX) and sirtuin 1. In particular, Ser140 of H2AFX also known as gamma-H2AX was found to be hyperphosphorylated in retinoblastoma, which indicated the activation of DNA damage response pathways. We also observed the activation of anti-apoptosis in retinoblastoma compared to control. These observations showed the activation of survival pathways in retinoblastoma. The identification of hyperphosphorylated protein kinases including Bromodomain containing 4 (BRD4), Lysine deficient protein kinase 1 (WNK1), and Cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) in RB opens new avenues for the treatment of RB. These kinases can be considered as probable therapeutic targets for RB, as small-molecule inhibitors for some of these kinases are already in clinical trials for the treatment other cancers.

Podralska M, Ziółkowska-Suchanek I, Żurawek M, et al.
Genetic variants in ATM, H2AFX and MRE11 genes and susceptibility to breast cancer in the polish population.
BMC Cancer. 2018; 18(1):452 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: DNA damage repair is a complex process, which can trigger the development of cancer if disturbed. In this study, we hypothesize a role of variants in the ATM, H2AFX and MRE11 genes in determining breast cancer (BC) susceptibility.
METHODS: We examined the whole sequence of the ATM kinase domain and estimated the frequency of founder mutations in the ATM gene (c.5932G > T, c.6095G > A, and c.7630-2A > C) and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in H2AFX (rs643788, rs8551, rs7759, and rs2509049) and MRE11 (rs1061956 and rs2155209) among 315 breast cancer patients and 515 controls. The analysis was performed using high-resolution melting for new variants and the polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) method for recurrent ATM mutations. H2AFX and MRE11 polymorphisms were analyzed using TaqMan assays. The cumulative genetic risk scores (CGRS) were calculated using unweighted and weighted approaches.
RESULTS: We identified four mutations (c.6067G > A, c.8314G > A, c.8187A > T, and c.6095G > A) in the ATM gene in three BC cases and two control subjects. We observed a statistically significant association of H2AFX variants with BC. Risk alleles (the G of rs7759 and the T of rs8551 and rs2509049) were observed more frequently in BC cases compared to the control group, with P values, odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of 0.0018, 1.47 (1.19 to 1.82); 0.018, 1.33 (1.09 to 1.64); and 0.024, 1.3 (1.06 to 1.59), respectively. Haplotype-based tests identified a significant association of the H2AFX CACT haplotype with BC (P <  0.0001, OR = 27.29, 95% CI 3.56 to 209.5). The risk of BC increased with the growing number of risk alleles. The OR (95% CI) for carriers of ≥ four risk alleles was 1.71 (1.11 to 2.62) for the CGRS.
CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms that H2AFX variants are associated with an increased risk of BC. The above-reported sequence variants of MRE11 genes may not constitute a risk factor of breast cancer in the Polish population. The contribution of mutations detected in the ATM gene to the development of breast cancer needs further detailed study.

Yao X, Cheng X, Zhang L, et al.
Punicalagin from pomegranate promotes human papillary thyroid carcinoma BCPAP cell death by triggering ATM-mediated DNA damage response.
Nutr Res. 2017; 47:63-71 [PubMed] Related Publications
Punicalagin (PUN), a component derived from pomegranate, is well known for its anticancer activity. Our previous work revealed that PUN induces autophagic cell death in papillary thyroid carcinoma cells. We hypothesized that PUN triggers DNA damage associated with cell death because DNA damage was reported as an inducer of autophagy. Our results showed that PUN treatment caused DNA breaks as evidenced by the significant enhancement in the phosphorylation of H2A.X. However, reactive oxygen species and DNA conformational alteration, 2 common inducing factors in DNA damage, were not involved in PUN-induced DNA damage. The phosphorylation of ataxia-telangiectasia mutated gene-encoded protein (ATM) but not ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related protein (ATR) was up-regulated in a time- and dosage-dependent manner after PUN treatment. KU-55933, an inhibitor of ATM, inhibited the phosphorylation of ATM induced by PUN and reversed the decreased cell viability caused by PUN. Thus, we demonstrated that PUN induces cell death of papillary thyroid carcinoma cells by triggering ATM-mediated DNA damage response, which provided novel mechanisms and potential targets for the better understanding of the anticancer actions of PUN.

Chakraborty A, Dorsett KA, Trummell HQ, et al.
ST6Gal-I sialyltransferase promotes chemoresistance in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma by abrogating gemcitabine-mediated DNA damage.
J Biol Chem. 2018; 293(3):984-994 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an aggressive malignancy with a poor prognosis. Gemcitabine, as a single agent or in combination therapy, remains the frontline chemotherapy despite its limited efficacy due to

Chang PY, Kuo TM, Chen PK, et al.
Arecoline N-Oxide Upregulates Caspase-8 Expression in Oral Hyperplastic Lesions of Mice.
J Agric Food Chem. 2017; 65(47):10197-10205 [PubMed] Related Publications
Areca nut is strongly associated with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) occurrence. Arecoline N-oxide (ANO), a metabolite of the areca alkaloid arecoline, exhibits an oral fibrotic effect in NOD/SCID mice. Caspase-8, a cysteine protease encoded by the CASP8 gene, is a central mediator in the extrinsic apoptotic pathway via death receptors. Deregulation of caspase-8 in OSCC has been reported. This study investigates the regulation of caspase-8 in ANO-induced oral squamous epithelial hyperplasia that represents the initial highly proliferative stage of oral carcinogenesis. CASP8 somatic mutations were identified from whole-exome sequencing of OSCC samples. Immunohistochemical staining showed upregulation of caspase-8 in ANO-induced hyperplasia of both NOD-SCID and C57BL/6 mice. Levels of expression of CASP8, APAF-1, BAX, and BAD increased in ANO-treated DOK cells. Co-localization of increased caspase-8 and PCNA levels was detected in ANO-induced hyperplastic lesions, whereas no co-localization among γ-H2A.X, caspase-3, and upregulated caspase-8 was observed. The findings indicate that upregulation of caspase-8 is involved in cell proliferation rather than apoptosis during the initial stage of ANO-mediated oral tumorigenesis.

Takagi M, Yoshida M, Nemoto Y, et al.
Loss of DNA Damage Response in Neuroblastoma and Utility of a PARP Inhibitor.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2017; 109(11) [PubMed] Related Publications
Background: Neuroblastoma (NB) is the most common solid tumor found in children, and deletions within the 11q region are observed in 11% to 48% of these tumors. Notably, such tumors are associated with poor prognosis; however, little is known regarding the molecular targets located in 11q.
Methods: Genomic alterations of ATM , DNA damage response (DDR)-associated genes located in 11q ( MRE11A, H2AFX , and CHEK1 ), and BRCA1, BARD1, CHEK2, MDM2 , and TP53 were investigated in 45 NB-derived cell lines and 237 fresh tumor samples. PARP (poly [ADP-ribose] polymerase) inhibitor sensitivity of NB was investigated in in vitro and invivo xenograft models. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Results: Among 237 fresh tumor samples, ATM, MRE11A, H2AFX , and/or CHEK1 loss or imbalance in 11q was detected in 20.7% of NBs, 89.8% of which were stage III or IV. An additional 7.2% contained ATM rare single nucleotide variants (SNVs). Rare SNVs in DDR-associated genes other than ATM were detected in 26.4% and were mutually exclusive. Overall, samples with SNVs and/or copy number alterations in these genes accounted for 48.4%. ATM-defective cells are known to exhibit dysfunctions in homologous recombination repair, suggesting a potential for synthetic lethality by PARP inhibition. Indeed, 83.3% NB-derived cell lines exhibited sensitivity to PARP inhibition. In addition, NB growth was markedly attenuated in the xenograft group receiving PARP inhibitors (sham-treated vs olaprib-treated group; mean [SD] tumor volume of sham-treated vs olaprib-treated groups = 7377 [1451] m 3 vs 298 [312] m 3 , P = .001, n = 4).
Conclusions: Genomic alterations of DDR-associated genes including ATM, which regulates homologous recombination repair, were observed in almost half of NBs, suggesting that synthetic lethality could be induced by treatment with a PARP inhibitor. Indeed, DDR-defective NB cell lines were sensitive to PARP inhibitors. Thus, PARP inhibitors represent candidate NB therapeutics.

Mikuła-Pietrasik J, Uruski P, Pakuła M, et al.
Oxidative stress contributes to hepatocyte growth factor-dependent pro-senescence activity of ovarian cancer cells.
Free Radic Biol Med. 2017; 110:270-279 [PubMed] Related Publications
The cancer-promoting activity of senescent peritoneal mesothelial cells (HPMCs) has already been well evidenced both in vitro and in vivo. Here we sought to determine if ovarian cancer cells may activate senescence in HPMCs. The study showed that conditioned medium (CM) from ovarian cancer cells (OVCAR-3, SKOV-3, A2780) inhibited growth and promoted the development of senescence phenotype (increased SA-β-Gal, γ-H2A.X, 53BP1, and decreased Cx43) in HPMCs. An analysis of tumors isolated from the peritoneum of patients with ovarian cancer revealed an abundance of senescent HPMCs in proximity to cancerous tissue. The presence of senescent HPMCs was incidental when fragments of peritoneum free from cancer were evaluated. An analysis of the cells' secretome followed by intervention studies with exogenous proteins and neutralizing antibodies revealed hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) as the mediator of the pro-senescence impact of the cancer cells. The activity of cancerous CM and HGF was associated with an induction of mitochondrial oxidative stress. Signaling pathways involved in the senescence of HPMCs elicited by the cancer-derived CM and HGF included p38 MAPK, AKT and NF-κB. HPMCs that senesced prematurely in response to the cancer-derived CM promoted adhesion of ovarian cancer cells, however this effect was effectively prevented by the cell protection against oxidative stress. Collectively, our findings indicate that ovarian cancer cells can elicit HGF-dependent senescence in HPMCs, which may contribute to the formation of a metastatic niche for these cells within the peritoneal cavity.

Islam S, Qi W, Morales C, et al.
Disruption of Aneuploidy and Senescence Induced by Aurora Inhibition Promotes Intrinsic Apoptosis in Double Hit or Double Expressor Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphomas.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2017; 16(10):2083-2093 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Double hit (DH) or double expressor (DE) diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL) are aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL) with translocations and/or overexpressions of

Sagawa M, Ohguchi H, Harada T, et al.
Ribonucleotide Reductase Catalytic Subunit M1 (RRM1) as a Novel Therapeutic Target in Multiple Myeloma.
Clin Cancer Res. 2017; 23(17):5225-5237 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications

Szymański P, Olszewska P, Mikiciuk-Olasik E, et al.
Novel tetrahydroacridine and cyclopentaquinoline derivatives with fluorobenzoic acid moiety induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in lung cancer cells by activation of DNA damage signaling.
Tumour Biol. 2017; 39(3):1010428317695011 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide, indicating a necessity to develop more effective therapy. Acridine derivatives are potential anticancer agents due to their ability to intercalate DNA as well as inhibit enzymes involved in replication and transcription. Recently, we have evaluated anticancer activity of 32 novel acridine-based compounds. We found that the most effective were tetrahydroacridine and cyclopentaquinoline derivatives with fluorobenzoic acid containing eight and nine carbon atoms in the aliphatic chain. The aim of this study was to determine the molecular mechanisms of compounds-induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human lung adenocarcinoma cells. All compounds activated Ataxia telangiectasia mutated kinase and phosphorylated histone H2A.X at Ser139 indicating DNA damage. Treatment of cells with the compounds increased phosphorylation and accumulation of p53 that regulate cell cycle as well as apoptosis. All compounds induced G0/1 cell cycle arrest by phosphorylation of cyclin-dependent kinase 2 at Tyr15 resulting in attenuation of the kinase activity. In addition, cyclopentaquinoline derivatives induced expression of cyclin-dependent kinase 2 inhibitor, p21; however, tetrahydroacridine derivatives had no significant effect on p21. Moreover, all compounds decreased the mitochondrial membrane potential accompanied by increased expression of Bax and down-regulation of Bcl-2, suggesting activation of the mitochondrial pathway. All compounds also significantly attenuated the migration rates of lung cancer cells. Collectively, our findings suggest a central role of activation of DNA damage signaling in response to new acridine derivatives treatment to induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in cancer cells and provide support for their further development as potential drug candidates.

Wiegering A, Matthes N, Mühling B, et al.
Reactivating p53 and Inducing Tumor Apoptosis (RITA) Enhances the Response of RITA-Sensitive Colorectal Cancer Cells to Chemotherapeutic Agents 5-Fluorouracil and Oxaliplatin.
Neoplasia. 2017; 19(4):301-309 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Colorectal carcinoma (CRC) is the most common cancer of the gastrointestinal tract with frequently dysregulated intracellular signaling pathways, including p53 signaling. The mainstay of chemotherapy treatment of CRC is 5-fluorouracil (5FU) and oxaliplatin. The two anticancer drugs mediate their therapeutic effect via DNA damage-triggered signaling. The small molecule reactivating p53 and inducing tumor apoptosis (RITA) is described as an activator of wild-type and reactivator of mutant p53 function, resulting in elevated levels of p53 protein, cell growth arrest, and cell death. Additionally, it has been shown that RITA can induce DNA damage signaling. It is expected that the therapeutic benefits of 5FU and oxaliplatin can be increased by enhancing DNA damage signaling pathways. Therefore, we highlighted the antiproliferative response of RITA alone and in combination with 5FU or oxaliplatin in human CRC cells. A panel of long-term established CRC cell lines (n=9) including p53 wild-type, p53 mutant, and p53 null and primary patient-derived, low-passage cell lines (n=5) with different p53 protein status were used for this study. A substantial number of CRC cells with pronounced sensitivity to RITA (IC

Viziteu E, Klein B, Basbous J, et al.
RECQ1 helicase is involved in replication stress survival and drug resistance in multiple myeloma.
Leukemia. 2017; 31(10):2104-2113 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a plasma cell cancer with poor survival, characterized by the expansion of multiple myeloma cells (MMCs) in the bone marrow. Using a microarray-based genome-wide screen for genes responding to DNA methyltransferases (DNMT) inhibition in MM cells, we identified RECQ1 among the most downregulated genes. RecQ helicases are DNA unwinding enzymes involved in the maintenance of chromosome stability. Here we show that RECQ1 is significantly overexpressed in MMCs compared to normal plasma cells and that increased RECQ1 expression is associated with poor prognosis in three independent cohorts of patients. Interestingly, RECQ1 knockdown inhibits cells growth and induces apoptosis in MMCs. Moreover, RECQ1 depletion promotes the development of DNA double-strand breaks, as evidenced by the formation of 53BP1 foci and the phosphorylation of ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) and histone variant H2A.X (H2AX). In contrast, RECQ1 overexpression protects MMCs from melphalan and bortezomib cytotoxicity. RECQ1 interacts with PARP1 in MMCs exposed to treatment and RECQ1 depletion sensitizes MMCs to poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor. DNMT inhibitor treatment results in RECQ1 downregulation through miR-203 deregulation in MMC. Altogether, these data suggest that association of DNA damaging agents and/or PARP inhibitors with DNMT inhibitors may represent a therapeutic approach in patients with high RECQ1 expression associated with a poor prognosis.

Sun YY, Xiao L, Wang D, et al.
Triptolide inhibits viability and induces apoptosis in liver cancer cells through activation of the tumor suppressor gene p53.
Int J Oncol. 2017; 50(3):847-852 [PubMed] Related Publications
The present study investigated the effect of triptolide on viability and apoptosis along with underlying mechanism in liver cancer cells. CCK-8 assay showed that triptolide treatment for 48 h significantly reduced the viability of HepG2 and QSG7701 cells at 50 µM concentration. Annexin V-FITC and propidium iodide staining showed that triptolide treatment of HepG2 cells at 50 µM concentrations induced apoptosis in 56.45% cells compared to only 2.36% cells in the control cultures. Western blot assay showed that treatment of HepG2 cells with 50 µM concentration of triptolide significantly induced phosphorylation of p53 in a 2 h-treatment. Phosphorylation of histone H2A.X indicator of DNA damage was induced by triptolide treatment after 12 h in HepG2 cells. The level of nuclear p53 in a 6 h-treatment with 0, 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 µM concentration of triptolide was found to be 15.3, 19.6, 28.5, 43.7, 63.8 and 91.5%, respectively. Treatment of HepG2 cells with triptolide at 50 µM concentration caused a significant increase in the binding potential of p53 to DNA. Triptolide treatment of HepG2 cells caused a significant increase in the expression of p21, Bax and DR5 genes in HepG2 cells. It also increased the expression of miR-34b and miR-34c in HepG2 cells markedly. Treatment of HepG2 cells with p53 inhibitor, pifithrin-α prior to incubation with triptolide significantly prevented induction of cell apoptosis. Suppression of p53 expression by siRNA inhibited the expression of p53 as well as its target genes along with the prevention of apoptosis induction. In conclusion, triptolide inhibits viability and induces apoptosis in liver cancer cells through activation of the tumor suppressor gene p53. Thus, triptolide can be used for the treatment of liver cancer.

Kojima K, Maeda A, Yoshimura M, et al.
The pathophysiological significance of PPM1D and therapeutic targeting of PPM1D-mediated signaling by GSK2830371 in mantle cell lymphoma.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(43):69625-69637 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PPM1D is a serine/threonine phosphatase that negatively regulates key DNA damage response proteins, such as p53, p38 MAPK, histone H2A.X, and ATM. We investigated the pathophysiological significance of PPM1D and its therapeutic targeting by the novel PPM1D inhibitor GSK2830371 in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). Oncomine-based analyses indicated increased PPM1D mRNA levels in MCL cells compared with their normal counterpart cells. Higher PPM1D expression was associated with higher expression of the proliferation gene signature and poorer prognosis in patients. Eight MCL (three p53 wild-type and five mutant) cell lines were exposed to GSK2830371. GSK2830371 inhibited the cell growth, being prominent in p53 wild-type cells. GSK2830371 induced apoptosis in sensitive cells, as evidenced by induction of phosphatidylserine externalization and loss of mitochondrial membrane potential. p53 knockdown de-sensitized cell sensitivity. GSK2830371 increased the levels of total and Ser15-phosphorylated p53, and p53 targets p21 and PUMA. GSK2830371 and the MDM2 inhibitor Nutlin-3a acted synergistically in p53 wild-type cells. Interestingly, GSK2830371 sensitized MCL cells to bortezomib and doxorubicin in p53 wild-type and mutant cells; p38 signaling appeared to be involved in the GSK2830371/bortezomib lethality. PPM1D inhibition may represent a novel therapeutic strategy for MCL, which can be exploited in combination therapeutic strategies for MCL.

Weyemi U, Redon CE, Sethi TK, et al.
Twist1 and Slug mediate H2AX-regulated epithelial-mesenchymal transition in breast cells.
Cell Cycle. 2016; 15(18):2398-404 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is thought to be essential for cancer metastasis. While chromatin remodeling is involved in EMT, which processes contribute to this remodeling remain poorly investigated. Recently, we showed that silencing or removal of the histone variant H2A.X induced mesenchymal-like characteristics, including activation of the EMT transcription factors, Slug and Zeb1 in human colon cancer cells. Here, we provide the evidence that H2A.X loss in human non-tumorigenic breast cell line MCF10A results in a robust EMT activation, as substantiated by a genome-wide expression analysis. Cells deficient for H2A.X exhibit enhanced migration and invasion, along with an activation of a set of mesenchymal genes and a concomitant repression of epithelial genes. In the breast model, the EMT-related transcription factor Twist1 cooperates with Slug to regulate EMT upon H2A.X Loss. Of interest, H2A.X expression level tightly correlates with Twist1, and to a lesser extent with Slug in the panel of human breast cancer cell lines of the NCI-60 datasets. These new findings indicate that H2A.X is involved in the EMT processes in cells of different origins but pairing with transcription factors for EMT may be tissue specific.

Weyemi U, Redon CE, Choudhuri R, et al.
The histone variant H2A.X is a regulator of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
Nat Commun. 2016; 7:10711 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), considered essential for metastatic cancer, has been a focus of much research, but important questions remain. Here, we show that silencing or removing H2A.X, a histone H2A variant involved in cellular DNA repair and robust growth, induces mesenchymal-like characteristics including activation of EMT transcription factors, Slug and ZEB1, in HCT116 human colon cancer cells. Ectopic H2A.X re-expression partially reverses these changes, as does silencing Slug and ZEB1. In an experimental metastasis model, the HCT116 parental and H2A.X-null cells exhibit a similar metastatic behaviour, but the cells with re-expressed H2A.X are substantially more metastatic. We surmise that H2A.X re-expression leads to partial EMT reversal and increases robustness in the HCT116 cells, permitting them to both form tumours and to metastasize. In a human adenocarcinoma panel, H2A.X levels correlate inversely with Slug and ZEB1 levels. Together, these results point to H2A.X as a regulator of EMT.

Ho IL, Kuo KL, Liu SH, et al.
MLN4924 Synergistically Enhances Cisplatin-induced Cytotoxicity via JNK and Bcl-xL Pathways in Human Urothelial Carcinoma.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:16948 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cisplatin-based chemotherapy is the primary treatment for metastatic bladder urothelial carcinoma. However, the response rate is only 40-65%. This study investigated the anti-tumor effect and underlying mechanisms of the combination of cisplatin and the NEDD8-activating enzyme inhibitor MLN4924 in human bladder urothelial carcinoma. The combination of cisplatin and MLN4924 exerted synergistic cytotoxicity on two high-grade bladder urothelial carcinoma cell lines, NTUB1 and T24 (combination index <1). MLN4924 also potentiated the cisplatin-induced apoptosis and activation of caspase-3 and -7, phospho-histone H2A.X and PARP. c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation and a down-regulation of B-cell lymphoma-extra large (Bcl-xL) were also observed during cisplatin and MLN4924 treatment. Inhibition of JNK activation partially restored cell viability and Bcl-xL expression. Bcl-xL overexpression also rescued cell viability. MLN4924 significantly potentiated cisplatin-induced tumor suppression in urothelial carcinoma xenograft mice. In summary, MLN4924 synergistically enhanced the anti-tumor effect of cisplatin via an increase in DNA damage, JNK activation and down-regulation of Bcl-xL in urothelial carcinoma cells. These findings provide a new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of bladder cancer.

Iacobucci I, Di Rorà AG, Falzacappa MV, et al.
In vitro and in vivo single-agent efficacy of checkpoint kinase inhibition in acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
J Hematol Oncol. 2015; 8:125 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Although progress in children, in adults, ALL still carries a dismal outcome. Here, we explored the in vitro and in vivo activity of PF-00477736 (Pfizer), a potent, selective ATP-competitive small-molecule inhibitor of checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) and with lower efficacy of checkpoint kinase 2 (Chk2).
METHODS: The effectiveness of PF-00477736 as single agent in B-/T-ALL was evaluated in vitro and in vivo studies as a single agent. The efficacy of the compound in terms of cytotoxicity, induction of apoptosis, and changes in gene and protein expression was assessed using different B-/T-ALL cell lines. Finally, the action of PF-00477736 was assessed in vivo using leukemic mouse generated by a single administration of the tumorigenic agent N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea.
RESULTS: Chk1 and Chk2 are overexpressed concomitant with the presence of genetic damage as suggested by the nuclear labeling for γ-H2A.X (Ser139) in 68 % of ALL patients. In human B- and T-ALL cell lines, inhibition of Chk1/2 as a single treatment strategy efficiently triggered the Chk1-Cdc25-Cdc2 pathway resulting in a dose- and time-dependent cytotoxicity, induction of apoptosis, and increased DNA damage. Moreover, treatment with PF-00477736 showed efficacy ex vivo in primary leukemic blasts separated from 14 adult ALL patients and in vivo in mice transplanted with T-ALL, arguing in favor of its future clinical evaluation in leukemia.
CONCLUSIONS: In vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo results support the inhibition of Chk1 as a new therapeutic strategy in acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and they provide a strong rationale for its future clinical investigation.

Ting CY, Wang HE, Yu CC, et al.
Curcumin Triggers DNA Damage and Inhibits Expression of DNA Repair Proteins in Human Lung Cancer Cells.
Anticancer Res. 2015; 35(7):3867-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
The study goal was to evaluate the effects of curcumin on DNA damage and expression of DNA-repair proteins in human lung cancer. Thus, NCI-H460 cells were used to study the effects of curcumin on DNA damage and repair in vitro. We investigated curcumin induces DNA damage by comet the assay and 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining. The DNA damage/repair-related protein levels were examined and monitored by western blotting and confocal microscopy. Curcumin significantly increased the length of comet tails and DNA condensation in NCI-H460 cells. Curcumin reduced expression of DNA-repair proteins such as 14-3-3 protein sigma (14-3-3σ), O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT), breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 (BRCA1), and mediator of DNA damage checkpoint 1 (MDC1). Curcumin also increased phosphorylation of p53 and Histone H2A.X (S140) in the nuclei of NCI-H460 cells. Taken together, our findings indicated that curcumin triggered DNA damage and inhibited expression of DNA-repair-associated proteins in NCI-H460 cells.

Ko YC, Lien JC, Liu HC, et al.
Demethoxycurcumin-induced DNA Damage Decreases DNA Repair-associated Protein Expression Levels in NCI-H460 Human Lung Cancer Cells.
Anticancer Res. 2015; 35(5):2691-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Demethoxycurcumin (DMC) is a key component of Chinese medicine (Turmeric) and has been proven effective in killing various cancer cells. Its role in inducing cytotoxic effects in many cancer cells has been reported, but its role regarding DNA damage on lung cancer cells has not been studied in detail. In the present study, we demonstrated DMC-induced DNA damage and condensation in NCI-H460 cells by using the Comet assay and DAPI staining examinations, respectively. Western blotting indicated that DMC suppressed the protein levels associated with DNA damage and repair, such as 14-3-3σ (an important checkpoint keeper of DNA damage response), DNA repair proteins breast cancer 1, early onset (BRCA1), O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT), mediator of DNA damage checkpoint 1 (MDC1), and p53 (tumor suppressor protein). DMC activated phosphorylated p53 and p-H2A.X (phospho Ser140) in NCI-H460 cells. Furthermore, we used confocal laser systems microscopy to examine the protein translocation. The results showed that DMC promotes the translocation of p-p53 and p-H2A.X from the cytosol to the nuclei in NCI-H460 cells. Taken together, DMC induced DNA damage and affected DNA repair proteins in NCI-H460 cells in vitro.

Nagel S, Ehrentraut S, Meyer C, et al.
NFkB is activated by multiple mechanisms in hairy cell leukemia.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2015; 54(7):418-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is a rare chronic B-cell lymphoproliferative disorder of unclear pathogenesis. Recent studies have identified BRAF(V600E) mutations in most HCL patients, highlighting this abnormality as a molecular hallmark for this disease. Cell lines originating from HCL patients lack BRAF mutations but retain the typical piliferous morphology and the distinctive HCL immunophenotype, thus, constituting suitable tools for identifying alternative tumor genes and leukemic mechanisms in this malignancy. To this end, we integrated genomic and transcriptional profiling of the HCL cell line MLMA. The expression levels of genomically targeted genes were compared to four HCL control cell lines, thus, identifying 91 chromosomally deregulated genes. Gene set enrichment analysis of these indicted apoptosis, proliferation, and DNA damage response as altered processes. Accordingly, prominent target genes overexpressed in this cell line include ATM, BRAF, CDK6, CUTL1/CUX1, H2AFX, and REL. Treatment of MLMA with selective pharmacological inhibitors and specific siRNA-mediated gene knockdowns highlighted a central role for NFkB in their deregulation in HCL. Moreover, relevant expression profiling data from HCL and ABC-DLBCL cell lines display elevated NFkB-pathway activity when compared to GC-DLBCL equivalents. Finally, analysis of HCL patient samples in silico collectively supported the clinical significance of NFkB activation in this disease. In conclusion, we identified deregulated genes and multiple mechanisms underlying aberrantly activated NFkB-pathway in HCL. Therefore, NFkB may represent a B-cell specific hallmark of HCL and a promising novel therapeutic target, most notably in patients lacking BRAF mutations in this entity including variant HCL.

Weng SW, Hsu SC, Liu HC, et al.
Gallic acid induces DNA damage and inhibits DNA repair-associated protein expression in human oral cancer SCC-4 cells.
Anticancer Res. 2015; 35(4):2077-84 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gallic acid (GA), a phenolic compound naturally present in plants, used as an antioxidant additive in food and in the pharmaceutical industry, may have cancer chemopreventive properties. In the present study, we investigated whether GA induced DNA damage and affected DNA repair-associated protein expression in human oral cancer SCC-4 cells. Flow cytometry assays were used to measure total viable cells and results indicated that GA decreased viable cells dose-dependently. The comet assay and 4',6-Diamidino-2-phenylindole dihydrochloride (DAPI) staining were used to measure DNA damage, as well as condensation and it was shown that GA induced DNA damage (comet tail) and DNA condensation in a dose-dependent manner. DNA gel electrophoresis was used to examine DNA fragmentation and we found that GA induced DNA ladder (fragmentation). Using western blotting it was shown that GA inhibited the protein expressions of MDC1, O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT), p-H2A.X, p53, DNA-dependent serine/threonine protein kinase (DNA-PK) and 14-3-3 proteins sigma (14-3-3σ) but increased p-p53, phosphate-ataxia-telangiectasia (p-H2A.X) and ataxia telangiectasia mutated and Rad3-related (p-ATR), phosphate-ataxia telangiectasia mutated (p-ATM) and breast cancer susceptibility protein 1 (BRCA1) in a 24-h treatment. The protein translocation was examined by confocal laser microscopy and results indicated that GA increased the levels of p-H2A.X, MDC1 and p-p53 in SCC-4 cells. In conclusion, we found that GA-induced cell death may proceed through the induced DNA damage and suppressed DNA repair-associated protein expression in SCC-4 cells.

Faraoni I, Compagnone M, Lavorgna S, et al.
BRCA1, PARP1 and γH2AX in acute myeloid leukemia: Role as biomarkers of response to the PARP inhibitor olaparib.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015; 1852(3):462-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
Olaparib (AZD-2281, Ku-0059436) is an orally bioavailable and well-tolerated poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor currently under investigation in patients with solid tumors. To study the clinical potential of olaparib as a single-agent for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients, we analyzed the in vitro sensitivity of AML cell lines and primary blasts. Clinically achievable concentrations of olaparib were able to induce cell death in the majority of primary AML case samples (88%) and tested cell lines. At these concentrations, olaparib preferentially killed leukemic blasts sparing normal lymphocytes derived from the same patient and did not substantially affect the viability of normal bone marrow and CD34-enriched peripheral blood cells obtained from healthy donors. Most primary AML analyzed were characterized by low BRCA1 mRNA level and undetectable protein expression that likely contributed to explain their sensitivity to olaparib. Noteworthy, while PARP1 over-expression was detected in blasts not responsive to olaparib, phosphorylation of the histone H2AFX (γH2AX) was associated with drug sensitivity. As to genetic features of tested cases the highest sensitivity was shown by a patient carrying a 11q23 deletion. The high sensitivity of AML blasts and the identification of biomarkers potentially able to predict response and/or resistance may foster further investigation of olaparib monotherapy for AML patients unfit to conventional chemotherapy.

Peraldo-Neia C, Cavalloni G, Soster M, et al.
Anti-cancer effect and gene modulation of ET-743 in human biliary tract carcinoma preclinical models.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:918 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Standard chemotherapy in unresectable biliary tract carcinoma (BTC) patients is based on gemcitabine combined with platinum derivatives. However, primary or acquired resistance is inevitable and no second-line chemotherapy is demonstrated to be effective. Thus, there is an urgent need to identify new alternative (chemo)therapy approaches.
METHODS: We evaluated the mechanism of action of ET-743 in preclinical models of BTC. Six BTC cell lines (TFK-1, EGI-1, TGBC1, WITT, KMCH, HuH28), two primary cell cultures derived from BTC patients, the EGI-1 and a new established BTC patient-derived xenografts, were used as preclinical models to investigate the anti-tumor activity of ET-743 in vitro and in vivo. Gene expression profiling was also analyzed upon ET-743 treatment in in vivo models.
RESULTS: We found that ET-743 inhibited cell growth of BTC cell lines and primary cultures (IC50 ranging from 0.37 to 3.08 nM) preferentially inducing apoptosis and activation of the complex DNA damage-repair proteins (p-ATM, p-p53 and p-Histone H2A.x) in vitro. In EGI-1 and patient-derived xenografts, ET-743 induced tumor growth delay and reduction of vasculogenesis. In vivo ET-743 induced a deregulation of genes involved in cell adhesion, stress-related response, and in pathways involved in cholangiocarcinogenesis, such as the IL-6, Sonic Hedgehog and Wnt signaling pathways.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that ET-743 could represent an alternative chemotherapy for BTC treatment and encourage the development of clinical trials in BTC patients resistant to standard chemotherapy.

García-Baquero R, Puerta P, Beltran M, et al.
Methylation of tumor suppressor genes in a novel panel predicts clinical outcome in paraffin-embedded bladder tumors.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(6):5777-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
DNA methylation of tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) represents a frequent and early epigenetic event with potential applications for cancer detection and disease evolution. Our aim was to examine the stratification and prognostic biomarker role of the methylation of a novel panel of TSGs in bladder cancer. The methylation status of 18 TSGs was evaluated in bladder cancer cells (n=14) and paraffin-embedded primary bladder tumors (n=61), using a methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification assay (MS-MLPA). Recurrence, progression, and disease-specific survival were analyzed using univariate and multivariate Cox models. PRDM2, HLTF, ID4, DLC1, BNIP3, H2AFX, CACNA1G, TGIF, and CACNA1A were discovered methylated in bladder cancer. The methylation of RUNX3 (p=0.026), TWIST1 (p=0.009), SFRP4 (p=0.002), and CCND2 (p=0.027) correlated to tumor stage. Univariate analyses indicated prognostic associations for recurrence (DLC1, SFRP5, H2AFX, CACNA1G), progression (DLC1, SFRP5, CACNA1G), disease-specific (PRDM2, DLC1, SFRP5, CACNA1G, and TIMP3), and overall survival (SFRP5 and TIMP3). In multivariate analyses, several TSGs remained as independent prognosticators for recurrence (SFRP5, H2AFX), progression (CACNA1G), and disease-specific survival (SFRP5). Thus, a novel set of TSGs was identified, frequently methylated in bladder cancer cells and tumors. TSG methylation allowed histopathologic and outcome stratification using paraffin-embedded tumors. This is clinically relevant by offering a strategy for the management of patients affected with uroepithelial neoplasias in pathology routine laboratories.

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