Gene Summary

Gene:NCOR2; nuclear receptor corepressor 2
Aliases: SMRT, TRAC, CTG26, SMRTE, TRAC1, N-CoR2, TNRC14, TRAC-1, SMAP270, SMRTE-tau
Summary:This gene encodes a nuclear receptor co-repressor that mediates transcriptional silencing of certain target genes. The encoded protein is a member of a family of thyroid hormone- and retinoic acid receptor-associated co-repressors. This protein acts as part of a multisubunit complex which includes histone deacetylases to modify chromatin structure that prevents basal transcriptional activity of target genes. Aberrant expression of this gene is associated with certain cancers. Alternate splicing results in multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms.[provided by RefSeq, Apr 2011]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:nuclear receptor corepressor 2
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (30)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (6)

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.

  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Estrogen Receptor alpha
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Triiodothyronine
  • Messenger RNA
  • Breast Cancer
  • Histone Deacetylases
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Tamoxifen
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transfection
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid
  • siRNA
  • Nuclear Receptor Co-Repressor 2
  • Protein Binding
  • Nuclear Receptor Co-Repressor 1
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Mutation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-6
  • Down-Regulation
  • Androgen Receptors
  • Tissue Array Analysis
  • Rabbits
  • Promoter Regions
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Transcription
  • Leukemia, Promyelocytic, Acute
  • Retinoic Acid
  • Gene Enhancer Elements
  • Chromosome 12
  • Estrogen Receptors
Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (2)

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: NCOR2 (cancer-related)

Alderman MH, Xiao AZ
N(6)-Methyladenine in eukaryotes.
Cell Mol Life Sci. 2019; 76(15):2957-2966 [PubMed] Related Publications
DNA modifications are a major form of epigenetic regulation that eukaryotic cells utilize in concert with histone modifications. While much work has been done elucidating the role of 5-methylcytosine over the past several decades, only recently has it been recognized that N(6)-methyladenine (N

Wu Y, Zhou Y, Huan L, et al.
LncRNA MIR22HG inhibits growth, migration and invasion through regulating the miR-10a-5p/NCOR2 axis in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Cancer Sci. 2019; 110(3):973-984 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Despite the rapidly identified numbers of lncRNA in humans, exploration of the molecular mechanisms of lncRNA is lagging, because the molecular mechanisms of lncRNA can be various and complex in different conditions. In this study, we found a new molecular mechanism for a versatile molecule, MIR22HG. MIR22HG is an lncRNA that contributes to the initiation and progression of many human cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We report that MIR22HG was downregulated in 120 HCC samples compared with adjacent nontumor liver tissues. More interestingly, decreased expression of MIR22HG in HCC could predict poor prognosis of HCC patients. Knockdown of MIR22HG promoted the growth, migration and invasion of HCC cells. In exploring the molecular mechanism of MIR22HG, we found that MIR22HG functioned as a tumor suppressor in hepatocellular carcinomas, in part through serving as a competing endogenous RNA to modulate the miRNA-10a-5p level. Moreover, NCOR2 was verified to act as the downstream target gene of MIR22HG/miR-10a-5p. In addition, the MIR22HG/miRNA-10a-5p/NCOR2 axis inhibited the activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Together, our results demonstrated that MIR22HG inhibited HCC progression in part through the miR-10a-5p/NCOR2 signaling axis and might act as a new prognostic biomarker for HCC patients.

Meerson A, Eliraz Y, Yehuda H, et al.
Obesity impacts the regulation of miR-10b and its targets in primary breast tumors.
BMC Cancer. 2019; 19(1):86 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Obesity increases breast cancer (BC) risk in post-menopausal women by mostly unknown molecular mechanisms which may partly be regulated by microRNAs (miRNAs).
METHODS: We isolated RNA from paired benign and malignant biopsies from 83 BC patients and determined miRNA profiles in samples from 12 women at the extremes of the BMI distribution by RNA-seq. Candidates were validated in all samples. Associations between miR-10b expression and validated target transcript levels, and effects of targeted manipulation of miR-10b levels in a primary BC cell line on proliferation and invasion potential, were explored.
RESULTS: Of the 148 miRNAs robustly expressed in breast tissues, the levels of miR-21, miR-10b, miR-451a, miR-30c, and miR-378d were significantly associated with presence of cancer. Of these, miR-10b showed a stronger down-regulation in the tumors of the obese subjects, as opposed to the lean. In ductal but not lobular tumors, significant inverse correlations were observed between the tumor levels of miR-10b and miR-30c and the mRNA levels of cancer-relevant target genes SRSF1, PIEZO1, MAPRE1, CDKN2A, TP-53 and TRA2B, as well as tumor grade. Suppression of miR-10b levels in BT-549 primary BC-derived cells increased cell proliferation and invasive capacity, while exogenous miR-10b mimic decreased invasion. Manipulation of miR-10b levels also inversely affected the mRNA levels of miR-10b targets BCL2L11, PIEZO1 and NCOR2.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that miR-10b may be a mediator between obesity and cancer in post-menopausal women, regulating several known cancer-relevant genes. MiR-10b expression may have diagnostic and therapeutic implications for the incidence and prognosis of BC in obese women.

Vu TN, Deng W, Trac QT, et al.
A fast detection of fusion genes from paired-end RNA-seq data.
BMC Genomics. 2018; 19(1):786 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Fusion genes are known to be drivers of many common cancers, so they are potential markers for diagnosis, prognosis or therapy response. The advent of paired-end RNA sequencing enhances our ability to discover fusion genes. While there are available methods, routine analyses of large number of samples are still limited due to high computational demands.
RESULTS: We develop FuSeq, a fast and accurate method to discover fusion genes based on quasi-mapping to quickly map the reads, extract initial candidates from split reads and fusion equivalence classes of mapped reads, and finally apply multiple filters and statistical tests to get the final candidates. We apply FuSeq to four validated datasets: breast cancer, melanoma and glioma datasets, and one spike-in dataset. The results reveal high sensitivity and specificity in all datasets, and compare well against other methods such as FusionMap, TRUP, TopHat-Fusion, SOAPfuse and JAFFA. In terms of computational time, FuSeq is two-fold faster than FusionMap and orders of magnitude faster than the other methods.
CONCLUSIONS: With this advantage of less computational demands, FuSeq makes it practical to investigate fusion genes in large numbers of samples. FuSeq is implemented in C++ and R, and available at for non-commercial uses.

Leung A, Trac C, Kato H, et al.
LTRs activated by Epstein-Barr virus-induced transformation of B cells alter the transcriptome.
Genome Res. 2018; 28(12):1791-1798 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) are ancient viral elements that have accumulated in the genome through retrotransposition events. Although they have lost their ability to transpose, many of the long terminal repeats (LTRs) that originally flanked full-length ERVs maintain the ability to regulate transcription. While these elements are typically repressed in somatic cells, they can function as transcriptional enhancers and promoters when this repression is lost. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which transforms primary B cells into continuously proliferating cells, is a tumor virus associated with lymphomas. We report here that transformation of primary B cells by EBV leads to genome-wide activation of LTR enhancers and promoters. The activation of LTRs coincides with local DNA hypomethylation and binding by transcription factors such as RUNX3, EBF1, and EBNA2. The set of activated LTRs is unique to transformed B cells compared with other cell lines known to have activated LTRs. Furthermore, we found that LTR activation impacts the B cell transcriptome by up-regulating transcripts driven by cryptic LTR promoters. These transcripts include genes important to oncogenesis of Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers, such as

Cambridge CA, Turner TR, Georgiou X, et al.
Two novel alleles, HLA-A*32:01:01:09 and 32:01:01:10, identified by Pacific Bioscience's SMRT sequencing.
HLA. 2018; 92(6):409-411 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pacific Bioscience's SMRT DNA sequencing was used to identify two novel intronic variants of HLA-A*32:01:01:01.

Jin X, Yan Y, Wang D, et al.
DUB3 Promotes BET Inhibitor Resistance and Cancer Progression by Deubiquitinating BRD4.
Mol Cell. 2018; 71(4):592-605.e4 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The bromodomain and extra-terminal domain (BET) protein BRD4 is emerging as a promising anticancer therapeutic target. However, resistance to BET inhibitors often occurs, and it has been linked to aberrant degradation of BRD4 protein in cancer. Here, we demonstrate that the deubiquitinase DUB3 binds to BRD4 and promotes its deubiquitination and stabilization. Expression of DUB3 is transcriptionally repressed by the NCOR2-HDAC10 complex. The NCOR2 gene is frequently deleted in castration-resistant prostate cancer patient specimens, and loss of NCOR2 induces elevation of DUB3 and BRD4 proteins in cancer cells. DUB3-proficient prostate cancer cells are resistant to the BET inhibitor JQ1 in vitro and in mice, but this effect is diminished by DUB3 inhibitory agents such as CDK4/6 inhibitor in a RB-independent manner. Our findings identify a previously unrecognized mechanism causing BRD4 upregulation and drug resistance, suggesting that DUB3 is a viable therapeutic target to overcome BET inhibitor resistance in cancer.

Weerts MJA, Timmermans EC, van de Stolpe A, et al.
Tumor-Specific Mitochondrial DNA Variants Are Rarely Detected in Cell-Free DNA.
Neoplasia. 2018; 20(7):687-696 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The use of blood-circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) as a "liquid biopsy" in oncology is being explored for its potential as a cancer biomarker. Mitochondria contain their own circular genomic entity (mitochondrial DNA, mtDNA), up to even thousands of copies per cell. The mutation rate of mtDNA is several orders of magnitude higher than that of the nuclear DNA. Tumor-specific variants have been identified in tumors along the entire mtDNA, and their number varies among and within tumors. The high mtDNA copy number per cell and the high mtDNA mutation rate make it worthwhile to explore the potential of tumor-specific cf-mtDNA variants as cancer marker in the blood of cancer patients. We used single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing to profile the entire mtDNA of 19 tissue specimens (primary tumor and/or metastatic sites, and tumor-adjacent normal tissue) and 9 cfDNA samples, originating from 8 cancer patients (5 breast, 3 colon). For each patient, tumor-specific mtDNA variants were detected and traced in cfDNA by SMRT sequencing and/or digital PCR to explore their feasibility as cancer biomarker. As a reference, we measured other blood-circulating biomarkers for these patients, including driver mutations in nuclear-encoded cfDNA and cancer-antigen levels or circulating tumor cells. Four of the 24 (17%) tumor-specific mtDNA variants were detected in cfDNA, however at much lower allele frequencies compared to mutations in nuclear-encoded driver genes in the same samples. Also, extensive heterogeneity was observed among the heteroplasmic mtDNA variants present in an individual. We conclude that there is limited value in tracing tumor-specific mtDNA variants in blood-circulating cfDNA with the current methods available.

Alam H, Li N, Dhar SS, et al.
HP1γ Promotes Lung Adenocarcinoma by Downregulating the Transcription-Repressive Regulators NCOR2 and ZBTB7A.
Cancer Res. 2018; 78(14):3834-3848 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Lung adenocarcinoma is a major form of lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer death. Histone methylation reader proteins mediate the effect of histone methylation, a hallmark of epigenetic and transcriptional regulation of gene expression. However, their roles in lung adenocarcinoma are poorly understood. Here, our bioinformatic screening and analysis in search of a lung adenocarcinoma-promoting histone methylation reader protein show that heterochromatin protein 1γ (HP1γ; also called CBX3) is among the most frequently overexpressed and amplified histone reader proteins in human lung adenocarcinoma, and that high

Liu X, Zhao Y
CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing: Fueling the revolution in cancer immunotherapy.
Curr Res Transl Med. 2018; 66(2):39-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
The development of genomic editing technologies expands the landscape of T cell engineering for adoptive cell therapy. Among the multiple tools that can be used, CRISPR/Cas9 has been shown to be relatively easy to use, simple to design and cost effective with highly efficient multiplex genome engineering capabilities. Allogeneic universal chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells can be produced by disrupting T cell receptor (TCR) and beta-2-microglobulin (B2M) in CAR T cells or by directly knocking in a CAR at the disrupted TRAC locus. The anti-tumor function can be further boosted by simultaneous ablation of PD-1 and CTLA-4. The anti-tumor activities and safety of TCR-transferred T cells can be improved by knocking out endogenous TCR, which avoids the use of affinity-enhanced TCRs that may lose specificity and cause severe adverse effects. Therefore, CRISPR/Cas9 technology holds enormous promise to advance the field of adoptive cell therapy.

Georgiadis C, Preece R, Nickolay L, et al.
Long Terminal Repeat CRISPR-CAR-Coupled "Universal" T Cells Mediate Potent Anti-leukemic Effects.
Mol Ther. 2018; 26(5):1215-1227 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Gene editing can be used to overcome allo-recognition, which otherwise limits allogeneic T cell therapies. Initial proof-of-concept applications have included generation of such "universal" T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) against CD19 target antigens combined with transient expression of DNA-targeting nucleases to disrupt the T cell receptor alpha constant chain (TRAC). Although relatively efficient, transgene expression and editing effects were unlinked, yields variable, and resulting T cell populations heterogeneous, complicating dosing strategies. We describe a self-inactivating lentiviral "terminal" vector platform coupling CAR expression with CRISPR/Cas9 effects through incorporation of an sgRNA element into the ΔU3 3' long terminal repeat (LTR). Following reverse transcription and duplication of the hybrid ΔU3-sgRNA, delivery of Cas9 mRNA resulted in targeted TRAC locus cleavage and allowed the enrichment of highly homogeneous (>96%) CAR

Cooper ML, Choi J, Staser K, et al.
An "off-the-shelf" fratricide-resistant CAR-T for the treatment of T cell hematologic malignancies.
Leukemia. 2018; 32(9):1970-1983 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
T cell malignancies represent a group of hematologic cancers with high rates of relapse and mortality in patients for whom no effective targeted therapies exist. The shared expression of target antigens between chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells and malignant T cells has limited the development of CAR-T because of unintended CAR-T fratricide and an inability to harvest sufficient autologous T cells. Here, we describe a fratricide-resistant "off-the-shelf" CAR-T (or UCART7) that targets CD7+ T cell malignancies and, through CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, lacks both CD7 and T cell receptor alpha chain (TRAC) expression. UCART7 demonstrates efficacy against human T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) cell lines and primary T-ALL in vitro and in vivo without the induction of xenogeneic GvHD. Fratricide-resistant, allo-tolerant "off-the-shelf" CAR-T represents a strategy for treatment of relapsed and refractory T-ALL and non-Hodgkin's T cell lymphoma without a requirement for autologous T cells.

Maurus K, Appenzeller S, Roth S, et al.
Panel Sequencing Shows Recurrent Genetic FAS Alterations in Primary Cutaneous Marginal Zone Lymphoma.
J Invest Dermatol. 2018; 138(7):1573-1581 [PubMed] Related Publications
Primary cutaneous marginal zone lymphoma (PCMZL) represents an indolent subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that is clinically characterized by slowly growing skin tumors with a very low propensity for systemic dissemination. The underlying genetic basis of PCMZL has not been comprehensively elucidated. To gain deeper insight into the molecular pathogenesis of PCMZL, we performed hybridization-based panel sequencing of 38 patients with well-characterized PCMZL. In 32 of the 38 patients, we identified genetic alterations within 39 selected target genes. The most frequently detected alterations (24/38 patients, 63.2%) affected the FAS gene, of which 22 patients harbored alterations, which affect the functionally relevant death domain of the apoptosis-regulating FAS/CD95 protein in a dominant-negative manner. In addition, we identified highly recurrent mutations in three other genes, namely SLAMF1, SPEN, and NCOR2. Our molecular data suggest that apoptosis defects provide the molecular basis of the observed clinical features of PCMZL, which commonly presents with only slowly growing skin tumors, reflecting its invariably indolent behavior. From a diagnostic point of view, highly recurrent FAS mutations in PCMZL presumably separate this indolent lymphoma entity from pseudolymphoma, and this adds adjunctive discriminatory features at a molecular level.

Rigalli JP, Reichel M, Reuter T, et al.
The pregnane X receptor (PXR) and the nuclear receptor corepressor 2 (NCoR2) modulate cell growth in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
PLoS One. 2018; 13(2):e0193242 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the sixth most frequent cancer worldwide. The pregnane X receptor (PXR) is a nuclear receptor regulating several target genes associated with cancer malignancy. We here demonstrated a significant effect of PXR on HNSCC cell growth, as evidenced in PXR knock-down experiments. PXR transcriptional activity is more importantly regulated by the presence of coactivators and corepressors than by PXR protein expression. To date, there is scarce information on the regulation of PXR in HNSCC and on its role in the pathogenesis of this disease. Coactivator and corepressor expression was screened through qRT-PCR in 8 HNSCC cell lines and correlated to PXR activity, determined by using a reporter gene assay. All cell lines considerably expressed all the cofactors assessed. PXR activity negatively correlated with nuclear receptor corepressor 2 (NCoR2) expression, indicating a major role of this corepressor in PXR modulation and suggesting its potential as a surrogate for PXR activity in HNSCC. To test the association of NCoR2 with the malignant phenotype, a subset of three cell lines was transfected with an over-expression plasmid for this corepressor. Subsequently, cell growth and chemoresistance assays were performed. To elucidate the mechanisms underlying NCoR2 effects on cell growth, caspase 3/7 activity and protein levels of cleaved caspase 3 and PARP were evaluated. In HNO97 cells, NCoR2 over-expression decreased cell growth, chemoresistance and increased cleaved caspase 3 levels, caspase activity and cleaved PARP levels. On the contrary, in HNO124 and HNO210 cells, NCoR2 over-expression increased cell growth, drug resistance and decreased cleaved caspase 3 levels, caspase activity and cleaved PARP levels. In conclusion, we demonstrated a role of PXR and NCoR2 in the modulation of cell growth in HNSCC. This may contribute to a better understanding of the highly variable HNSCC therapeutic response.

Dao P, Kim YA, Wojtowicz D, et al.
BeWith: A Between-Within method to discover relationships between cancer modules via integrated analysis of mutual exclusivity, co-occurrence and functional interactions.
PLoS Comput Biol. 2017; 13(10):e1005695 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The analysis of the mutational landscape of cancer, including mutual exclusivity and co-occurrence of mutations, has been instrumental in studying the disease. We hypothesized that exploring the interplay between co-occurrence, mutual exclusivity, and functional interactions between genes will further improve our understanding of the disease and help to uncover new relations between cancer driving genes and pathways. To this end, we designed a general framework, BeWith, for identifying modules with different combinations of mutation and interaction patterns. We focused on three different settings of the BeWith schema: (i) BeME-WithFun, in which the relations between modules are enriched with mutual exclusivity, while genes within each module are functionally related; (ii) BeME-WithCo, which combines mutual exclusivity between modules with co-occurrence within modules; and (iii) BeCo-WithMEFun, which ensures co-occurrence between modules, while the within module relations combine mutual exclusivity and functional interactions. We formulated the BeWith framework using Integer Linear Programming (ILP), enabling us to find optimally scoring sets of modules. Our results demonstrate the utility of BeWith in providing novel information about mutational patterns, driver genes, and pathways. In particular, BeME-WithFun helped identify functionally coherent modules that might be relevant for cancer progression. In addition to finding previously well-known drivers, the identified modules pointed to other novel findings such as the interaction between NCOR2 and NCOA3 in breast cancer. Additionally, an application of the BeME-WithCo setting revealed that gene groups differ with respect to their vulnerability to different mutagenic processes, and helped us to uncover pairs of genes with potentially synergistic effects, including a potential synergy between mutations in TP53 and the metastasis related DCC gene. Overall, BeWith not only helped us uncover relations between potential driver genes and pathways, but also provided additional insights on patterns of the mutational landscape, going beyond cancer driving mutations. Implementation is available at

Kiss M, Czimmerer Z, Nagy G, et al.
Retinoid X receptor suppresses a metastasis-promoting transcriptional program in myeloid cells via a ligand-insensitive mechanism.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017; 114(40):10725-10730 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Retinoid X receptor (RXR) regulates several key functions in myeloid cells, including inflammatory responses, phagocytosis, chemokine secretion, and proangiogenic activity. Its importance, however, in tumor-associated myeloid cells is unknown. In this study, we demonstrate that deletion of RXR in myeloid cells enhances lung metastasis formation while not affecting primary tumor growth. We show that RXR deficiency leads to transcriptomic changes in the lung myeloid compartment characterized by increased expression of prometastatic genes, including important determinants of premetastatic niche formation. Accordingly, RXR-deficient myeloid cells are more efficient in promoting cancer cell migration and invasion. Our results suggest that the repressive activity of RXR on prometastatic genes is mediated primarily through direct DNA binding of the receptor along with nuclear receptor corepressor (NCoR) and silencing mediator of retinoic acid and thyroid hormone receptor (SMRT) corepressors and is largely unresponsive to ligand activation. In addition, we found that expression and transcriptional activity of RXRα is down-modulated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with lung cancer, particularly in advanced and metastatic disease. Overall, our results identify RXR as a regulator in the myeloid cell-assisted metastatic process and establish lipid-sensing nuclear receptors in the microenvironmental regulation of tumor progression.

Lu W, Katzenellenbogen BS
Estrogen Receptor-β Modulation of the ERα-p53 Loop Regulating Gene Expression, Proliferation, and Apoptosis in Breast Cancer.
Horm Cancer. 2017; 8(4):230-242 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Estrogen receptor α (ERα) is a crucial transcriptional regulator in breast cancer, but estrogens mediate their effects through two estrogen receptors, ERα and ERβ, subtypes that have contrasting regulatory actions on gene expression and the survival and growth of breast cancer cells. Here, we examine the impact of ERβ on the ERα-p53 loop in breast cancer. We found that ERβ attenuates ERα-induced cell proliferation, increases apoptosis, and reverses transcriptional activation and repression by ERα. Further, ERβ physically interacts with p53, reduces ERα-p53 binding, and antagonizes ERα-p53-mediated transcriptional regulation. ERα directs SUV39H1/H2 and histone H3 lys9 trimethylation (H3K9me3) heterochromatin assembly at estrogen-repressed genes to silence p53-activated transcription. The copresence of ERβ in ERα-positive cells abrogates the H3K9me3 repressive heterochromatin conformation by downregulating SUV39H1 and SUV39H2, thereby releasing the ERα-induced transcriptional block. Furthermore, the presence of ERβ stimulates accumulation of histone H3 lys4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) and RNA polymerase II (RNA Pol II) on ERα-repressed genes, inducing H3K4me3-associated epigenetic activation of the transcription of these repressed genes that can promote p53-based tumor suppression. ERβ also reduced corepressor N-CoR and SMRT recruitment by ERα that could attenuate the crosstalk between ERα and p53. Overall, our data reveal a novel mechanism for ERβ's anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects in breast cancer cells involving p53 and epigenetic changes in histone methylation that underlie gene regulation of these cellular activities.

Yang F, Ma Q, Liu Z, et al.
Glucocorticoid Receptor:MegaTrans Switching Mediates the Repression of an ERα-Regulated Transcriptional Program.
Mol Cell. 2017; 66(3):321-331.e6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The molecular mechanisms underlying the opposing functions of glucocorticoid receptors (GRs) and estrogen receptor α (ERα) in breast cancer development remain poorly understood. Here we report that, in breast cancer cells, liganded GR represses a large ERα-activated transcriptional program by binding, in trans, to ERα-occupied enhancers. This abolishes effective activation of these enhancers and their cognate target genes, and it leads to the inhibition of ERα-dependent binding of components of the MegaTrans complex. Consistent with the effects of SUMOylation on other classes of nuclear receptors, dexamethasone (Dex)-induced trans-repression of the estrogen E

Viswakarma N, Nair RS, Sondarva G, et al.
Transcriptional regulation of mixed lineage kinase 3 by estrogen and its implication in ER-positive breast cancer pathogenesis.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(20):33172-33184 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mixed Lineage Kinase 3 (MLK3), also called as MAP3K11 is a tightly regulated MAP3K member but its cellular function is still not fully understood. Earlier we reported post-translational regulation of MLK3 by estrogen (E2) that inhibited the kinase activity and favored survival of ER+ breast cancer cells. Here we report that MLK3 is also transcriptionally downregulated by E2 in ER+ breast cancer cells. Publicly available data and in situ hybridization of human breast tumors showed significant down regulation of MLK3 transcripts in ER+ tumors. The basal level of MLK3 transcripts and protein in ER+ breast cancer cell lines were significantly lower, and the protein expression was further down regulated by E2 in a time-dependent manner. Analysis of the promoter of MLK3 revealed two ERE sites which were regulated by E2 in ER+ but not in ER- breast cancer cell lines. Both ERα and ERβ were able to bind to MLK3 promoter and recruit nuclear receptor co-repressors (NCoR, SMRT and LCoR), leading to down-regulation of MLK3 transcripts. Collectively these results suggest that recruitment of nuclear receptor co-repressor is a key feature of ligand-dependent transcriptional repression of MLK3 by ERs. Therefore coordinated transcriptional and post-translational repression of pro-apoptotic MLK3 probably is one of the mechanisms by which ER+ breast cancer cells proliferate and survive.

Ma M, Yu N
Over-Expression of TBL1XR1 Indicates Poor Prognosis of Serous Epithelial Ovarian Cancer.
Tohoku J Exp Med. 2017; 241(3):239-247 [PubMed] Related Publications
Transducin (β)-like 1 X-linked receptor 1 (TBL1XR1) is a core component of the NCoR/SMRT transcription co-repressor complex, and its role in regulating cancer progression has been reported. Serous epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the most common histological type of EOC. Here we explored the significance of TBL1XR1 expression in predicting outcomes of patients with serous EOC. Real-time quantitative PCR analysis showed that the expression level of TBL1XR1 mRNA was significantly higher in EOC tissues compared with adjacent non-tumorous tissues. The protein levels of TBL1XR1 in EOC tissues were assessed by immunohistochemistry, and the patients were classified into low-expression group (n = 62) and high-expression group (n = 54) according to the immunoreactivity. Prognostic significance of TBL1XR1 was evaluated by univariate and multivariate analyses, showing that over-expression of TBL1XR1 was correlated with poor prognosis. In addition, TBL1XR1 was positively associated with the lymph node metastasis of EOC. Because vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-C is known as a critical mediator of lymph node metastasis, we measured the expression level of VEGF-C mRNA in EOC tissues and thus identified a positive correlation between TBL1XR1 and VEGF-C mRNA levels. Subsequently, using human EOC cell lines, we showed that silencing of TBL1XR1 decreased VEGF-C expression, suggesting that TBL1XR1 may function as an upstream regulator of VEGF-C in EOC. Furthermore, the proliferation and invasion of EOC cells were inhibited by TBL1XR1 silencing. In conclusion, TBL1XR1 overexpression may be an unfavorable prognostic factor for EOC. We also suggest that the TBL1XR1-VEGF-C axis may determine the EOC progression.

Cranston A, Stocken DD, Stamp E, et al.
Tropomyosin Receptor Antagonism in Cylindromatosis (TRAC), an early phase trial of a topical tropomyosin kinase inhibitor as a treatment for inherited CYLD defective skin tumours: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial.
Trials. 2017; 18(1):111 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Patients with germline mutations in a tumour suppressor gene called CYLD develop multiple, disfiguring, hair follicle tumours on the head and neck. The prognosis is poor, with up to one in four mutation carriers requiring complete surgical removal of the scalp. There are no effective medical alternatives to treat this condition. Whole genome molecular profiling experiments led to the discovery of an attractive molecular target in these skin tumour cells, named tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK), upon which these cells demonstrate an oncogenic dependency in preclinical studies. Recently, the development of an ointment containing a TRK inhibitor (pegcantratinib - previously CT327 - from Creabilis SA) allowed for the assessment of TRK inhibition in tumours from patients with inherited CYLD mutations.
METHODS/DESIGN: Tropomysin Receptor Antagonism in Cylindromatosis (TRAC) is a two-part, exploratory, early phase, single-centre trial. Cohort 1 is a phase 1b open-labelled trial, and cohort 2 is a phase 2a randomised double-blinded exploratory placebo-controlled trial. Cohort 1 will determine the safety and acceptability of applying pegcantratinib for 4 weeks to a single tumour on a CYLD mutation carrier that is scheduled for a routine lesion excision (n = 8 patients). Cohort 2 will investigate if CYLD defective tumours respond following 12 weeks of treatment with pegcantratinib. As patients have multiple tumours, we intend to treat 10 tumours in each patient, 5 with active treatment and 5 with placebo. Patients will be allocated both active and placebo treatments to be applied randomly to tumours on the left or right side. The target is to treat 150 tumours in a maximum of 20 patients. Tumour volume will be measured at baseline and at 4 and 12 weeks. The primary outcome measure is the proportion of tumours responding to treatment by 12 weeks, based on change in tumour volume, with secondary measures based on adverse event profile, treatment compliance and acceptability, changes in tumour volume and surface area, patient quality of life and pain.
DISCUSSION: Interventions for rare genetic skin diseases are often difficult to assess in an unbiased way due to small patient numbers and the challenges of incorporating adequate controls into trial design. Here we present a single-centre, randomised, placebo-controlled trial design that leverages the multiplicity of tumours seen in an inherited skin tumour syndrome that may inform the design of other studies in similar genetic diseases.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number Registry, ISRCTN75715723 . Registered on 22 October 2014.

Eyquem J, Mansilla-Soto J, Giavridis T, et al.
Targeting a CAR to the TRAC locus with CRISPR/Cas9 enhances tumour rejection.
Nature. 2017; 543(7643):113-117 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are synthetic receptors that redirect and reprogram T cells to mediate tumour rejection. The most successful CARs used to date are those targeting CD19 (ref. 2), which offer the prospect of complete remission in patients with chemorefractory or relapsed B-cell malignancies. CARs are typically transduced into the T cells of a patient using γ-retroviral vectors or other randomly integrating vectors, which may result in clonal expansion, oncogenic transformation, variegated transgene expression and transcriptional silencing. Recent advances in genome editing enable efficient sequence-specific interventions in human cells, including targeted gene delivery to the CCR5 and AAVS1 loci. Here we show that directing a CD19-specific CAR to the T-cell receptor α constant (TRAC) locus not only results in uniform CAR expression in human peripheral blood T cells, but also enhances T-cell potency, with edited cells vastly outperforming conventionally generated CAR T cells in a mouse model of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. We further demonstrate that targeting the CAR to the TRAC locus averts tonic CAR signalling and establishes effective internalization and re-expression of the CAR following single or repeated exposure to antigen, delaying effector T-cell differentiation and exhaustion. These findings uncover facets of CAR immunobiology and underscore the potential of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing to advance immunotherapies.

Höpken UE
Targeting HDAC3 in CREBBP-Mutant Lymphomas Counterstrikes Unopposed Enhancer Deacetylation of B-cell Signaling and Immune Response Genes.
Cancer Discov. 2017; 7(1):14-16 [PubMed] Related Publications
The cellular phenotype of B-cell lymphomas arising from B cells undergoing germinal center reactions, such as follicular lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, is strongly shaped by mutations in chromatin-modifying genes. The work presented by Jiang and colleagues addresses how somatic mutations in CREBBP disable acetylation and cause unopposed deacetylation by BCL6/SMRT/HDAC3 complexes on enhancers of B-cell signaling and immune response genes. This opens a therapeutic avenue toward targeted inhibition of CREBBP-mutant lymphomas by HDAC inhibitors. Cancer Discov; 7(1); 14-6. ©2017 AACRSee related article by Jiang et al., p. 38.

Shan L, Zhou X, Liu X, et al.
FOXK2 Elicits Massive Transcription Repression and Suppresses the Hypoxic Response and Breast Cancer Carcinogenesis.
Cancer Cell. 2016; 30(5):708-722 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although clinically associated with severe developmental defects, the biological function of FOXK2 remains poorly explored. Here we report that FOXK2 interacts with transcription corepressor complexes NCoR/SMRT, SIN3A, NuRD, and REST/CoREST to repress a cohort of genes including HIF1β and EZH2 and to regulate several signaling pathways including the hypoxic response. We show that FOXK2 inhibits the proliferation and invasion of breast cancer cells and suppresses the growth and metastasis of breast cancer. Interestingly, FOXK2 is transactivated by ERα and transrepressed via reciprocal successive feedback by HIF1β/EZH2. Significantly, the expression of FOXK2 is progressively lost during breast cancer progression, and low FOXK2 expression is strongly correlated with higher histologic grades, positive lymph nodes, and ERα

Jiang Y, Ortega-Molina A, Geng H, et al.
CREBBP Inactivation Promotes the Development of HDAC3-Dependent Lymphomas.
Cancer Discov. 2017; 7(1):38-53 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Somatic mutations in CREBBP occur frequently in B-cell lymphoma. Here, we show that loss of CREBBP facilitates the development of germinal center (GC)-derived lymphomas in mice. In both human and murine lymphomas, CREBBP loss-of-function resulted in focal depletion of enhancer H3K27 acetylation and aberrant transcriptional silencing of genes that regulate B-cell signaling and immune responses, including class II MHC. Mechanistically, CREBBP-regulated enhancers are counter-regulated by the BCL6 transcriptional repressor in a complex with SMRT and HDAC3, which we found to bind extensively to MHC class II loci. HDAC3 loss-of-function rescued repression of these enhancers and corresponding genes, including MHC class II, and more profoundly suppressed CREBBP-mutant lymphomas in vitro and in vivo Hence, CREBBP loss-of-function contributes to lymphomagenesis by enabling unopposed suppression of enhancers by BCL6/SMRT/HDAC3 complexes, suggesting HDAC3-targeted therapy as a precision approach for CREBBP-mutant lymphomas.
SIGNIFICANCE: Our findings establish the tumor suppressor function of CREBBP in GC lymphomas in which CREBBP mutations disable acetylation and result in unopposed deacetylation by BCL6/SMRT/HDAC3 complexes at enhancers of B-cell signaling and immune response genes. Hence, inhibition of HDAC3 can restore the enhancer histone acetylation and may serve as a targeted therapy for CREBBP-mutant lymphomas. Cancer Discov; 7(1); 38-53. ©2016 AACR.See related commentary by Höpken, p. 14This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1.

Park S, Lee J, Kim YH, et al.
Clinical Relevance and Molecular Phenotypes in Gastric Cancer, of TP53 Mutations and Gene Expressions, in Combination With Other Gene Mutations.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:34822 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
While altered TP53 is the most frequent mutation in gastric cancer (GC), its association with molecular or clinical phenotypes (e.g., overall survival, disease-free survival) remains little known. To that end, we can use genome-wide approaches to identify altered genes significantly related to mutated TP53. Here, we identified significant differences in clinical outcomes, as well as in molecular phenotypes, across specific GC tumor subpopulations, when combining TP53 with other signaling networks, including WNT and its related genes NRXN1, CTNNB1, SLITRK5, NCOR2, RYR1, GPR112, MLL3, MTUS2, and MYH6. Moreover, specific GC subpopulations indicated by dual mutation of NRXN1 and TP53 suggest different drug responses, according to the Connectivity Map, a pharmacological drug-gene association tool. Overall, TP53 mutation status in GC is significantly relevant to clinical or molecular categories. Thus, our approach can potentially provide a patient stratification strategy by dissecting previously unknown multiple TP53-mutated patient groups.

Légaré S, Basik M
Minireview: The Link Between ERα Corepressors and Histone Deacetylases in Tamoxifen Resistance in Breast Cancer.
Mol Endocrinol. 2016; 30(9):965-76 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Approximately 70% of breast cancers express the estrogen receptor (ER)α and are treated with the ERα antagonist, tamoxifen. However, resistance to tamoxifen frequently develops in advanced breast cancer, in part due to a down-regulation of ERα corepressors. Nuclear receptor corepressors function by attenuating hormone responses and have been shown to potentiate tamoxifen action in various biological systems. Recent genomic data on breast cancers has revealed that genetic and/or genomic events target ERα corepressors in the majority of breast tumors, suggesting that the loss of nuclear receptor corepressor activity may represent an important mechanism that contributes to intrinsic and acquired tamoxifen resistance. Here, the biological functions of ERα corepressors are critically reviewed to elucidate their role in modifying endocrine sensitivity in breast cancer. We highlight a mechanism of gene repression common to corepressors previously shown to enhance the antitumorigenic effects of tamoxifen, which involves the recruitment of histone deacetylases (HDACs) to DNA. As an indicator of epigenetic disequilibrium, the loss of ERα corepressors may predispose cancer cells to the cytotoxic effects of HDAC inhibitors, a class of drug that has been shown to effectively reverse tamoxifen resistance in numerous studies. HDAC inhibition thus appears as a promising therapeutic approach that deserves to be further explored as an avenue to restore drug sensitivity in corepressor-deficient and tamoxifen-resistant breast cancers.

Rovito D, Gionfriddo G, Barone I, et al.
Ligand-activated PPARγ downregulates CXCR4 gene expression through a novel identified PPAR response element and inhibits breast cancer progression.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(40):65109-65124 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Stromal Derived Factor-1α (SDF-1α) and its cognate receptor CXCR4 play a key role in mediating breast cancer cell invasion and metastasis. Therefore, drugs able to inhibit CXCR4 activation may add critical tools to reduce tumor progression, especially in the most aggressive form of the breast cancer disease. Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor (PPAR) γ, a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily, has been found to downregulate CXCR4 gene expression in different cancer cells, however the molecular mechanism underlying this effect is not fully understood. Here, we identified a novel PPARγ-mediated mechanism that negatively regulates CXCR4 expression in both epithelial and stromal breast cancer cells. We found that ligand-activated PPARγ downregulated CXCR4 transcriptional activity through the recruitment of the silencing mediator of retinoid and thyroid hormone receptor (SMRT) corepressor onto a newly identified PPAR response element (PPRE) within the CXCR4 promoter in breast cancer cell lines. As a consequence, the PPARγ agonist rosiglitazone (BRL) significantly inhibited cell migration and invasion and this effect was PPARγ-mediated, since it was reversed in the presence of the PPARγ antagonist GW9662. According to the ability of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), the most abundant component of breast cancer stroma, to secrete high levels of SDF-1α, BRL reduced migratory promoting activities induced by conditioned media (CM) derived from CAFs and affected CXCR4 downstream signaling pathways activated by CAF-CM. In addition, CAFs exposed to BRL showed a decreased expression of CXCR4, a reduced motility and invasion along with a phenotype characterized by an altered morphology. Collectively, our findings provide novel insights into the role of PPARγ in inhibiting breast cancer progression and further highlight the utility of PPARγ ligands for future therapies aimed at targeting both cancer and surrounding stromal cells in breast cancer patients.

Osathanon T, Nowwarote N, Pavasant P
Expression and influence of Notch signaling in oral squamous cell carcinoma.
J Oral Sci. 2016; 58(2):283-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
Notch signaling dysregulation plays an important role in altering cancer cell behaviors; however, its role in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) remains controversial. This study aimed to investigate the role of Notch signaling related genes in human OSCC using a meta-analysis of Gene Expression Omnibus database (GEO-publicly available gene expression microarray data) and to examine the role of Notch signaling in OSCC behaviors. The meta-analysis included 13 GEO datasets and was performed by combining effect sizes in a random effect model. The results demonstrated that in OSCC dysregulated genes participated in the metabolic process and protein binding as determined by gene ontology analysis. Enriched pathway analysis demonstrated the majority of the dysregulated genes were involved in pathway categories as follow; pathway in cancers, small cell lung cancer, extracellular matrix-receptor interaction, focal adhesion, and cell cycle progression. Interestingly, the enriched pathway analysis also demonstrated that OSCC samples exhibited an upregulation of genes in Notch signaling pathway, namely JAG1, JAG2, ADAM17, NCSTN, PSEN1, NCOR2, NUMB, DVL3, HDAC1, and HDAC2. Furthermore, Notch signaling inhibition by a γ-secretase inhibitor significantly decreased OSCC cell proliferation in vitro, corresponding with a decrease in C-FOS mRNA expression. The study demonstrated that Notch signaling is dysregulated in human OSCC and plays a role in cell proliferation. (J Oral Sci 58, 283-294, 2016).

Geradts J, Groth J, Wu Y, Jin G
Validation of an oligo-gene signature for the prognostic stratification of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2016; 157(3):447-59 [PubMed] Related Publications
Current evidence suggests that the majority of DCIS lesions do not progress to invasive carcinoma, and overtreatment of DCIS is a significant problem. We previously reported an 8-gene signature that differentiated microdissected low-grade (LG) DCIS lesions with and without associated stromal invasion, based on differential DNA copy number changes detected by quantitative (q) PCR. The current study was undertaken to validate our candidate breast cancer invasion gene panel in a larger series of non-microdissected LG DCIS cases, and to investigate its potential utility in intermediate-grade (IG) and high-grade (HG) DCIS. Representative paraffin blocks were selected from 267 resected DCIS cases with 5-15 years of follow-up (139 pure DCIS ["PD"] and 128 mixed DCIS with associated invasion ["MD"]). These included 171 LG, 46 IG and 50 HG DCIS cases. Gene copy number changes were determined by qPCR, and their differential distribution in the PD and MD subgroups was evaluated. As an alternate platform, we employed immunohistochemistry (IHC). Novel IHC assays were developed for all eight candidate genes, and increased or reduced protein expression was manually scored. Separate multi-gene models were developed for qPCR and IHC to distinguish progressing and non-progressing DCIS lesions. By qPCR analysis, a panel of six genes, as well as CELSR1 alone (a potential invasion suppressor), differentiated PD and MD cases in LG and IG, but not in HG DCIS. By IHC, a panel of three genes, as well as GRAP2 alone (a potential invasion promoter), also distinguished PD and MD cases in LG and IG, but not in HG DCIS. The combination of CELSR1 (by qPCR) and GRAP2 (by IHC) had the best discriminatory power (p = 0.00004). Assays testing either or both of these genes have the potential to become important adjuncts for choosing appropriate treatment for LG/IG DCIS patients.

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