Gene Summary

Gene:SLC29A1; solute carrier family 29 member 1 (Augustine blood group)
Aliases: ENT1
Summary:This gene is a member of the equilibrative nucleoside transporter family. The gene encodes a transmembrane glycoprotein that localizes to the plasma and mitochondrial membranes and mediates the cellular uptake of nucleosides from the surrounding medium. The protein is categorized as an equilibrative (as opposed to concentrative) transporter that is sensitive to inhibition by nitrobenzylthioinosine (NBMPR). Nucleoside transporters are required for nucleotide synthesis in cells that lack de novo nucleoside synthesis pathways, and are also necessary for the uptake of cytotoxic nucleosides used for cancer and viral chemotherapies. Multiple alternatively spliced variants, encoding the same protein, have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 01 September 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

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

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

Latest Publications: SLC29A1 (cancer-related)

Kim J, Kim H, Lee JC, et al.
Human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (hENT1) expression as a predictive biomarker for gemcitabine chemotherapy in biliary tract cancer.
PLoS One. 2018; 13(12):e0209104 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Gemcitabine is a principal chemotherapeutic agent for biliary tract cancer (BTC). Expression of human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (hENT1) is regarded as a potential predictive biomarker for a gemcitabine response in some cancers. This study was conducted to investigate the association between hENT1 expression and the effects of gemcitabine on BTC cell lines and on patients with advanced BTC receiving gemcitabine-based chemotherapy. A total of four BTC cell lines, HuCCT1, SNU-478, SNU-1079, and SNU-1196, were tested. mRNA and protein expression levels of hENT1 were measured by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction and western blotting, respectively. Cell viability after gemcitabine treatment was measured in a chemosensitivity assay. For clinical assessment, 40 patients with unresectable or recurrent BTC who were treated with gemcitabine (1000 mg/m2) and cisplatin (25 mg/m2) between June 2012 and May 2014 were enrolled. Among the four cell lines, SNU1196 showed the highest mRNA and protein levels of hENT1. Expression of hENT1 showed a linear correlation with the log value of the half-maximal inhibitory concentration of gemcitabine. During incubation with gemcitabine, pretreatment with hENT1-specific small interfering RNA (siRNA) resulted in higher cell viability than that in samples pretreated with control siRNA. In a clinical evaluation, the median progression-free survival was 24 and 11 weeks among patients with strong and weak intratumoral hENT1 immunohistochemical staining (P = 0.05), and the median overall survival was 52 and 26 weeks (P = 0.15), respectively. In conclusion, this study showed that increased hENT1 expression is associated with a stronger toxic effect of gemcitabine on BTC cell lines. The clinical outcomes in this study suggest that increased intratumoral hENT1 immunohistochemical staining is a possible biomarker predicting better therapeutic effects of gemcitabine on patients with advanced BTC. Further studies are needed to determine the precise role of hENT1 in BTC.

Tang Y, Cong X, Wang S, et al.
GnT-V promotes chemosensitivity to gemcitabine in bladder cancer cells through β1,6 GlcNAc branch modification of human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2018; 503(4):3142-3148 [PubMed] Related Publications
Human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (hENT1) transports nucleoside analogue drugs across cellular membranes and is necessary for the uptake of many anti-tumor drugs. Gemcitabine is a frontline agent of chemotherapy for bladder cancer despite its limited efficacy due to chemoresistance, there is an acute need to decipher mechanisms underlying chemosensitivity to gemcitabinein in bladder cancer cells. Here we report a novel role for N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase V (GnT-V) in gemcitabine chemosensitivity. In this study, we found that GnT-V expression affected cell death rate to gemcitabine in different bladder cancer cells and down-regulation of GnT-V inhibited the gemcitabine sensitivity with time and dose dependent way in T24 cells. Moreover, mechanistic investigations showed that silencing GnT-V caused dramatic decrease of β1,6 GlcNAc structure on hENT1 leading to apparently decreased accumulation of hENT1 at plasma membrane, and therefore result in less uptake of gemcitabine in T24/shRNA cells. Together, our present study indicated that GnT-V enhances gemcitabine chemosensitivity via modulation of hENT1 N-glycosylation and transport activity in T24 cells, providing new insights into how N-glycosylation drives antitumor drug sensitivity during chemotherapy for patients with cancer.

Takami Y, Yamamoto Y, Ueno M, et al.
Correlation of 4'-[methyl-
Ann Nucl Med. 2018; 32(9):634-641 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: We examined expressions of human equilibrative nucleoside transporter-1 (hENT1) and thymidine kinase-1 (TK1), the key enzyme in 4'-[methyl-
METHODS: A total of 19 patients with newly diagnosed gliomas were examined with 4DST PET. Tumor lesions were identified as areas of focally increased uptake, exceeding that of normal brain background. For semi-quantitative analysis, tumor-to-contralateral normal brain tissue (T/N) ratio was determined by dividing the maximal standardized uptake value (SUV) for tumor by that of the mean SUV for reference tissue. The expressions of hENT1, TK1 and Ki-67 in tumor specimens were examined by immunohistochemistry and compared with 4DST T/N ratio.
RESULTS: All but two gliomas showed focally increased 4DST uptake. All gliomas showed hENT1 staining, except one grade II glioma, which was also not visualized on 4DST PET. A significant correlation was observed between T/N ratio and hENT1 score (ρ = 0.90, p < 0.001). All gliomas showed TK1 staining, except two gliomas which were also not visualized on 4DST PET. There was a significant correlation between T/N ratio and TK1 score (ρ = 0.92, p < 0.001). There was a significant correlation between T/N ratio and Ki-67 index (ρ = 0.50, p < 0.03).
CONCLUSION: Results of this preliminary study indicate that expressions of hENT1 and TK1 appear to be important determinants of 4DST uptake in newly diagnosed gliomas.

Nanok C, Jearanaikoon P, Proungvitaya S, Limpaiboon T
Aberrant methylation of HTATIP2 and UCHL1 as a predictive biomarker for cholangiocarcinoma.
Mol Med Rep. 2018; 17(3):4145-4153 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is the most common primary liver cancer in Northeastern Thailand where liver fluke infection is highly endemic. Although aberrant DNA methylation in CCA has been reported by several investigators, little is known regarding the associations between them. In the present study, the results obtained from our previously published methylation array were analyzed and 10 candidate genes involved in DNA repair [protein phosphatase 4 catalytic subunit (PPP4C)], apoptosis [runt related transcription factor 3 (RUNX3), interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4), ubiquitin C‑terminal hydrolase L1 (UCHL1) and tumor protein p53 inducible protein 3 (TP53I3)], cell proliferation [cyclin D2 (CCND2) and Ras association domain family member 1 (RASSF1)], drug metabolism [aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 family member A3 (ALDH1A3) and solute carrier family 29 member 1 (SLC29A1)] and angiogenesis [human immunodeficiency virus‑1 tat interactive protein 2 (HTATIP2)] were selected for quantification of their methylation levels in 54 CCA and 19 adjacent normal tissues using methylation‑sensitive high‑resolution melting. The associations between the methylation status of the individual genes and clinical parameters were statistically analyzed. High methylation levels were observed in UCHL1, IRF4, CCND2, HTATIP2 and TP53I3. The median methylation level of UCHL1 was 57.3% (range, 3.15 to 88.7%) and HTATIP2 was 13.6% (range, 7.5 to 36.7%). By contrast, low methylation of HTATIP2 and UCHL1 was identified in adjacent normal tissues. The methylation status of HTATIP2 and UCHL1 was associated with patients' overall survival. CCA patients with high methylation of HTATIP2 and low methylation of UCHL1 exhibited longer overall survival. In addition, multivariate Cox regression analysis demonstrated that UCHL1 methylation was an independent factor for CCA with hazard ratio of 1.81 (95% confidence interval, 1.01‑3.25) in high methylation group. The combination of HTATIP2 and UCHL1 methylation status strongly supported their potential predictive biomarker in which patients with CCA who had high methylation of HTATIP2 and low methylation of UCHL1 showed longer overall survival than those with low HTATIP2 methylation and high UCHL1 methylation. In conclusion, the present study revealed the value of aberrant DNA methylation of HTATIP2 and UCHL1, which may serve as a potential predictive biomarker for CCA.

Zhao X, Wang X, Sun W, et al.
Precision design of nanomedicines to restore gemcitabine chemosensitivity for personalized pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma treatment.
Biomaterials. 2018; 158:44-55 [PubMed] Related Publications
Low chemosensitivity considerably restricts the therapeutic efficacy of gemcitabine (GEM) in pancreatic cancer treatment. Using immunohistochemical evaluation, we investigated that decreased expression of human equilibrative nucleoside transporter-1 (hENT1, which is the major GEM transporter across cell membranes) and increased expression of ribonucleotide reductase subunit 2 (RRM2, which decreases the cytotoxicity of GEM) was associated with low GEM chemosensitivity. To solve these problems, we employed a nanomedicine-based formulation of cationic liposomes for co-delivery of GEM along with siRNA targeting RRM2. Due to the specific endocytic uptake mechanism of nanocarriers and gene-silencing effect of RRM2 siRNA, this nanomedicine formulation significantly increased GEM chemosensitivity in tumor models of genetically engineered Panc1 cells with low hENT1 or high RRM2 expression. Moreover, in a series of patient-derived cancer cells, we demonstrated that the therapeutic benefits of the nanomedicine formulations were associated with the expression levels of hENT1 and RRM2. In summary, we found that the essential factors of GEM chemosensitivity were the expression levels of hENT1 and RRM2, and synthesized nanoformulations can overcome these problems. This unique design of nanomedicine not only provides a universal platform to enhance chemosensitivity but also contributes to the precision design and personalized treatment in nanomedicine.

Phua LC, Goh S, Tai DWM, et al.
Metabolomic prediction of treatment outcome in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma patients receiving gemcitabine.
Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2018; 81(2):277-289 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Resistance to gemcitabine remains a key challenge in the treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), necessitating the constant search for effective strategies for a priori prediction of clinical outcome. While the existing studies focused on aberration of drug disposition genes and proteins as molecular predictors of gemcitabine treatment outcomes, the metabolic aberration associated with chemoresistance in clinical PDAC has been neglected. This exploratory study investigated the potential role of tissue metabolomics in characterizing the clinical treatment outcome of gemcitabine therapy.
METHODS: Surgically resected tumors from PDAC patients who underwent gemcitabine-based adjuvant chemotherapy (n = 25) were subjected to metabotyping using gas chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC/TOFMS).
RESULTS: A partial least-squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) model clearly distinguished patients who had favorable survival [overall survival (OS) > 24 months] from those who exhibited poorer survival (OS < 16 months) (Q
CONCLUSION: This work established proof-of-principle for GC/TOFMS-based global metabotyping of PDAC and laid the foundation for future discovery of metabolic biomarkers predictive of gemcitabine resistance in PDAC chemotherapy.

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

Cao HX, Miao CF, Yan L, et al.
Polymorphisms at microRNA binding sites of Ara-C and anthracyclines-metabolic pathway genes are associated with outcome of acute myeloid leukemia patients.
J Transl Med. 2017; 15(1):235 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Gene polymorphisms at microRNA-binding sites (poly-miRTS) may affect gene transcription and expression through miRNA regulation, which is associated with cancer susceptibility, sensitivity to chemotherapy and prognosis. This study investigated the association between poly-miRTS of Ara-C/anthracycline metabolic pathways genes and the outcome of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in Chinese patients after Ara-C-based chemotherapy.
METHODS: A total of 17 poly-miRTS were selected from the SNPinfo Web Server and genotyped in 206 Chinese Han non-FAB-M3 AML patients using the SEQUENOM Mass-ARRAY system.
RESULTS: Among these 17 poly-miRTS, five Ara-C metabolic gene single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, NT5C2 rs10786736 and rs8139, SLC29A1 rs3734703, DCTD rs7278, and RRM1 rs1042919) were identified to significantly associate with complete AML remission and/or overall and relapse-free survival (OS and RFS, respectively), and four anthracycline-metabolic gene SNPs (ABCC1 rs3743527, rs212091, and rs212090 and CBR1 rs9024) were significantly associated with chemotherapy-related toxicities. Moreover, SLC29A1 rs3734703 was shown to associate with both chemotherapy response and survival (adjusted OR 2.561 in the overdominant model; adjusted HR 2.876 for OS and 2.357 for RFS in the dominant model).
CONCLUSIONS: The data from the current study demonstrated that the poly-miRTS of Ara-C/anthracyclines metabolic genes predicted the sensitivity and side effects of AML to Ara-C-based chemotherapy and patient survival. Further study will confirm them as biomarkers for AML patients after Ara-C-based chemotherapy.

Suenaga M, Schirripa M, Cao S, et al.
Potential role of polymorphisms in the transporter genes ENT1 and MATE1/OCT2 in predicting TAS-102 efficacy and toxicity in patients with refractory metastatic colorectal cancer.
Eur J Cancer. 2017; 86:197-206 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Trifluridine (FTD) is an active cytotoxic component of the metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) drug TAS-102, and thymidine phosphorylase inhibitor (TPI) inhibits the rapid degradation of FTD. We tested whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes involved in FTD metabolism and TPI excretion could predict outcome in patients with mCRC treated with TAS-102.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We investigated three different cohorts: a training cohort (n = 52) and a testing cohort (n = 129) both receiving TAS-102 and a control cohort (n = 52) receiving regorafenib. SNPs of TK1, ENT1, CNT1, MATE1, MATE2 and OCT2 were analysed by polymerase chain reaction-based direct DNA sequencing.
RESULTS: In the training cohort, patients with any ENT1 rs760370 G allele had a significantly longer progression-free survival (PFS; 3.5 versus 2.1 months, respectively, hazard ratio [HR] 0.44, P = 0.004) and overall survival (OS; 8.7 versus 5.3 months, respectively, HR 0.27, P = 0.003) than the A/A genotype. These findings were validated in the testing cohort (P = 0.021 and 0.009 for PFS and OS, respectively). In addition, the combination of ENT1 rs760370, MATE1 rs2289669 and OCT2 rs316019 SNPs significantly stratified patients with the risk of PFS and OS in both cohorts (P < 0.001 for PFS and OS in the training cohort; P = 0.053 and 0.025 for PFS and OS, respectively, in the testing cohort). No significant differences were observed in the control group.
CONCLUSIONS: The combination of ENT1, MATE1 and OCT2 SNPs may serve as a predictive and prognostic marker in mCRC patients treated with TAS-102.

Vincenzi B, Stacchiotti S, Collini P, et al.
Human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 gene expression is associated with gemcitabine efficacy in advanced leiomyosarcoma and angiosarcoma.
Br J Cancer. 2017; 117(3):340-346 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The expression of human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (hENT1), the major gemcitabine transporter into cells, has been thoroughly investigated as a predictive marker of response to gemcitabine in pancreatic cancer and biliary tract cancers. Since gemcitabine is widely used in the treatment of leiomyosarcoma and angiosarcoma, we investigated the correlation between hENT1 expression and gemcitabine efficacy in these sarcoma subtypes.
METHODS: We retrospectively identified 71 patients affected by advanced angiosarcoma (26) or leiomyosarcoma (45) treated within five Italian referral centres for sarcoma; among them, 49 patients (15 angiosarcoma, 34 leiomyosarcoma) were treated with gemcitabine. All tumour samples were analysed for hENT1 expression by real-time PCR. Median 2
RESULTS: We found a significant association between high hENT1 expression levels and favourable outcome in terms of PFS and OS compared to cases with low hENT1 expression in leiomyosarcoma treated with gemcitabine (PFS: 6.8 vs 3.2 months, P=0.004; OS: 14.9 vs 8.5 months, P=0.007). In addition, hENT1 overexpression correlated with a significant improvement in PFS (9.3 vs 4.5 months; P=0.02) and OS (20.6 vs 10.8 months; P=0.001) in angiosarcoma patients treated with gemcitabine.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that higher hENT1 expression are associated to gemcitabine efficacy both in patients with advanced leiomyosarcoma and angiosarcoma.

Chen S, Wang Y, Zhang WL, et al.
Sclareolide enhances gemcitabine‑induced cell death through mediating the NICD and Gli1 pathways in gemcitabine‑resistant human pancreatic cancer.
Mol Med Rep. 2017; 15(4):1461-1470 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pancreatic cancer is a type of cancer, which rapidly develops resistance to chemotherapy. Gemcitabine is the treatment used clinically, however, gemcitabine resistance leads to limited efficacy and patient survival rates of only a few months following diagnosis. The aim of the present study was to investigate the mechanisms underlying gemcitabine resistance in pancreatic cancer and to select targeted agents combined with gemcitabine to promote the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Panc‑1 and ASPC‑1 human pancreatic cancer cells (HPCCs) were used to establish the experimental model, and HPCCs were exposed to gemcitabine of serially increased concentrations to generate gemcitabine‑resistant cells (GR‑HPCCs). The anticancer effect of gemcitabine combined with sclareolide was then assessed. Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (hENT1) and ribonucleoside diphosphate reductase 1 (RRM1) were detected in the HPCCs and GR‑HPCCs, and the mechanisms were investigated. Sclareolide resensitized the GR‑HPCCs to gemcitabine. The expression levels of hENT1 and RRM1 were lower and higher, respectively, in GR‑HPCCs, compared with HPCCs. Sclareolide upregulated hENT1, downregulated RRM1 and inhibited gemcitabine‑induced EMT through the TWIST1/Slug pathway in the GR‑HPCCs. In addition, sclareolide mediated the NOTCH 1 intracellular cytoplasmic domain (NICD)/glioma‑associated oncogene 1 (Gli1) pathway, which triggered TWIST1/Slug‑hENT1/RRM1 signaling and resensitized GR‑HPCCs to gemcitabine. Finally, sclareolide resensitized GR‑HPCCs to gemcitabine through inducing apoptosis; in vivo, the co‑administraion of sclareolide and gemcitabine effectively suppressed tumor growth. Sclareolide may be a novel agent in combination with gemcitabine for the treatment of gemcitabine‑resistant pancreatic cancer, which resensitizes GR‑HPCCs to gemcitabine through mediating NICD and Gli1.

Liu Y, Zuo T, Zhu X, et al.
Differential expression of hENT1 and hENT2 in colon cancer cell lines.
Genet Mol Res. 2017; 16(1) [PubMed] Related Publications
Human equilibrative nucleoside transporters (hENT) 1 and 2, encoded by SLC29A1 and SLC29A2, permit the bidirectional passage of nucleoside analogues into cells and may correlate with clinical responses to chemotherapy in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the expression profiles of SLC29A1 and SLC29A2 in human cancer cell lines. Using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, we comprehensively profiled the transcription levels of SLC29A1 and SLC29A2 in 16 colon cancer cell lines. We validated the ubiquitous and heterogeneous distribution of SLC29A1 and SLC29A2 in human colon cancer cell lines and demonstrated that SLC29A1 was highly expressed in 25% of metastatic cell lines (Colo201 and Colo205) and 62.5% of primary cell lines (Caco2, Colo320, HCT116, RKO, and SW48). For the first time, we showed that both SLC29A1 and SLC29A2 were expressed at lower levels in colon cancer cell lines originating from metastatic sites than from primary sites. These findings indicate that most patients with metastatic CRC (mCRC) may have low hENT1 expression, and treatment with nucleoside analogues may be inefficient. However, some patients still show high hENT1 expression and have a high probability of benefiting from these drugs. Therefore, evaluating transporter expression profiles and different drug responses between primary and metastatic tumors in patients with mCRC is important. Further assessment of the association between hENTs and drug-based treatment of mCRC is required to elucidate the mechanisms of chemotherapy resistance.

Sierzega M, Pach R, Kulig P, et al.
Prognostic Implications of Expression Profiling for Gemcitabine-Related Genes (hENT1, dCK, RRM1, RRM2) in Patients With Resectable Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Receiving Adjuvant Chemotherapy.
Pancreas. 2017 May/Jun; 46(5):684-689 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to examine the relevance of expression profiling of 4 genes involved in the action of gemcitabine among patients with pancreatic ductal-cell adenocarcinoma (PDAC).
METHODS: A group of 100 patients who underwent pancreatic resections for PDAC and received adjuvant chemotherapy with gemcitabine between 2007 and 2010 was identified. Expression of mRNAs for human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (hENT1), ribonucleotide reductase subunits (RRM1, RRM2), and deoxycytidine kinase (dCK) was examined by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, normalized to glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), and dichotomized into groups of low and moderate/high expression levels grouped by tertiles.
RESULTS: Significantly better median survival times were found for high/moderate expression levels of hENT1 (27.9 vs 12.4 months, P = 0.001) and dCK (19.7 vs 10.5 months, P = 0.003), as well as low expression of RRM1 (23.4 vs 11.4 months, P = 0.027). A Cox proportional hazards model identified low expression of hENT1 (hazard ratio [HR], 3.38; 95% confidence intervals [CI], 2.28-10.50) and dCK (HR, 2.24; 95% CI, 1.63-3.39), and high/moderate levels of RRM1 (HR, 1.65; 95% CI, 1.23-2.45) as negative prognostic factors.
CONCLUSIONS: Expression of hENT, RRM1, and dCK genes provides important prognostic information for PDAC patients treated with adjuvant gemcitabine.

Snezhkina AV, Krasnov GS, Zaretsky AR, et al.
Differential expression of alternatively spliced transcripts related to energy metabolism in colorectal cancer.
BMC Genomics. 2016; 17(Suppl 14):1011 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common malignant tumors worldwide. CRC molecular pathogenesis is heterogeneous and may be followed by mutations in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, chromosomal and microsatellite instability, alternative splicing alterations, hypermethylation of CpG islands, oxidative stress, impairment of different signaling pathways and energy metabolism. In the present work, we have studied the alterations of alternative splicing patterns of genes related to energy metabolism in CRC.
RESULTS: Using CrossHub software, we analyzed The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) RNA-Seq datasets derived from colon tumor and matched normal tissues. The expression of 1014 alternative mRNA isoforms involved in cell energy metabolism was examined. We found 7 genes with differentially expressed alternative transcripts whereas overall expression of these genes was not significantly altered in CRC. A set of 8 differentially expressed transcripts of interest has been validated by qPCR. These eight isoforms encoded by OGDH, COL6A3, ICAM1, PHPT1, PPP2R5D, SLC29A1, and TRIB3 genes were up-regulated in colorectal tumors, and this is in concordance with the bioinformatics data. The alternative transcript NM_057167 of COL6A3 was also strongly up-regulated in breast, lung, prostate, and kidney tumors. Alternative transcript of SLC29A1 (NM_001078177) was up-regulated only in CRC samples, but not in the other tested tumor types.
CONCLUSIONS: We identified tumor-specific expression of alternative spliced transcripts of seven genes involved in energy metabolism in CRC. Our results bring new knowledge on alternative splicing in colorectal cancer and suggest a set of mRNA isoforms that could be used for cancer diagnosis and development of treatment methods.

Giovannetti E, Leon LG, Gómez VE, et al.
A specific inhibitor of lactate dehydrogenase overcame the resistance toward gemcitabine in hypoxic mesothelioma cells, and modulated the expression of the human equilibrative transporter-1.
Nucleosides Nucleotides Nucleic Acids. 2016; 35(10-12):643-651 [PubMed] Related Publications
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a very hypoxic malignancy, and hypoxia has been associated with resistance towards gemcitabine. The muscle-isoform of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH-A) constitutes a major checkpoint for the switch to anaerobic glycolysis. Therefore we investigated the combination of a new LDH-A inhibitor (NHI-1) with gemcitabine in MPM cell lines. Under hypoxia (O

Kurata M, Rathe SK, Bailey NJ, et al.
Using genome-wide CRISPR library screening with library resistant DCK to find new sources of Ara-C drug resistance in AML.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:36199 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) can display de novo or acquired resistance to cytosine arabinoside (Ara-C), a primary component of induction chemotherapy. To identify genes capable of independently imposing Ara-C resistance, we applied a genome-wide CRISPR library to human U937 cells and exposed to them to Ara-C. Interestingly, all drug resistant clones contained guide RNAs for DCK. To avoid DCK gene modification, gRNA resistant DCK cDNA was created by the introduction of silent mutations. The CRISPR screening was repeated using the gRNA resistant DCK, and loss of SLC29A was identified as also being capable of conveying Ara-C drug resistance. To determine if loss of Dck results in increased sensitivity to other drugs, we conducted a screen of 446 FDA approved drugs using two Dck-defective BXH-2 derived murine AML cell lines and their Ara-C sensitive parental lines. Both cell lines showed an increase in sensitivity to prednisolone. Guide RNA resistant cDNA rescue was a legitimate strategy and multiple DCK or SLC29A deficient human cell clones were established with one clone becoming prednisolone sensitive. Dck-defective leukemic cells may become prednisolone sensitive indicating prednisolone may be an effective adjuvant therapy in some cases of DCK-negative AML.

Boswell-Casteel RC, Hays FA
Equilibrative nucleoside transporters-A review.
Nucleosides Nucleotides Nucleic Acids. 2017; 36(1):7-30 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Equilibrative nucleoside transporters (ENTs) are polytopic integral membrane proteins that mediate the transport of nucleosides, nucleobases, and therapeutic analogs. The best-characterized ENTs are the human transporters hENT1 and hENT2. However, non-mammalian eukaryotic ENTs have also been studied (e.g., yeast, parasitic protozoa). ENTs are major pharmaceutical targets responsible for modulating the efficacy of more than 30 approved drugs. However, the molecular mechanisms and chemical determinants of ENT-mediated substrate recognition, binding, inhibition, and transport are poorly understood. This review highlights findings on the characterization of ENTs by surveying studies on genetics, permeant and inhibitor interactions, mutagenesis, and structural models of ENT function.

Kunicka T, Prochazka P, Krus I, et al.
Molecular profile of 5-fluorouracil pathway genes in colorectal carcinoma.
BMC Cancer. 2016; 16(1):795 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: This study addresses involvement of major 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) pathway genes in the prognosis of colorectal carcinoma patients.
METHODS: Testing set and two validation sets comprising paired tumor and adjacent mucosa tissue samples from 151 patients were used for transcript profiling of 15 5-FU pathway genes by quantitative real-time PCR and DNA methylation profiling by high resolution melting analysis. Intratumoral molecular profiles were correlated with clinical data of patients. Protein levels of two most relevant candidate markers were assessed by immunoblotting.
RESULTS: Downregulation of DPYD and upregulation of PPAT, UMPS, RRM2, and SLC29A1 transcripts were found in tumors compared to adjacent mucosa in testing and validation sets of patients. Low RRM2 transcript level significantly associated with poor response to the first-line palliative 5-FU-based chemotherapy in the testing set and with poor disease-free interval of patients in the validation set irrespective of 5-FU treatment. UPP2 was strongly methylated while its transcript absent in both tumors and adjacent mucosa. DPYS methylation level was significantly higher in tumor tissues compared to adjacent mucosa samples. Low intratumoral level of UPB1 methylation was prognostic for poor disease-free interval of the patients (P = 0.0002). The rest of the studied 5-FU genes were not methylated in tumors or adjacent mucosa.
CONCLUSIONS: The observed overexpression of several 5-FU activating genes and DPYD downregulation deduce that chemotherapy naïve colorectal tumors share favorable gene expression profile for 5-FU therapy. Low RRM2 transcript and UPB1 methylation levels present separate poor prognosis factors for colorectal carcinoma patients and should be further investigated.

Hesler RA, Huang JJ, Starr MD, et al.
TGF-β-induced stromal CYR61 promotes resistance to gemcitabine in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma through downregulation of the nucleoside transporters hENT1 and hCNT3.
Carcinogenesis. 2016; 37(11):1041-1051 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a lethal cancer in part due to inherent resistance to chemotherapy, including the first-line drug gemcitabine. Although low expression of the nucleoside transporters hENT1 and hCNT3 that mediate cellular uptake of gemcitabine has been linked to gemcitabine resistance, the mechanisms regulating their expression in the PDAC tumor microenvironment are largely unknown. Here, we report that the matricellular protein cysteine-rich angiogenic inducer 61 (CYR61) negatively regulates the nucleoside transporters hENT1 and hCNT3. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of CYR61 increased expression of hENT1 and hCNT3, increased cellular uptake of gemcitabine and sensitized PDAC cells to gemcitabine-induced apoptosis. In PDAC patient samples, expression of hENT1 and hCNT3 negatively correlates with expression of CYR61 . We demonstrate that stromal pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) are a source of CYR61 within the PDAC tumor microenvironment. Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) induces the expression of CYR61 in PSCs through canonical TGF-β-ALK5-Smad2/3 signaling. Activation of TGF-β signaling or expression of CYR61 in PSCs promotes resistance to gemcitabine in PDAC cells in an in vitro co-culture assay. Our results identify CYR61 as a TGF-β-induced stromal-derived factor that regulates gemcitabine sensitivity in PDAC and suggest that targeting CYR61 may improve chemotherapy response in PDAC patients.

Sripornsawan P, Okamoto Y, Nishikawa T, et al.
Gene expression ratio as a predictive determinant of nelarabine chemosensitivity in T-lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2017; 64(2):250-253 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Nelarabine has been used for the treatment of T-cell malignancies including T-acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL)/T-lymphoblastic lymphoma. However, the mechanisms that underlie the susceptibility or resistance to nelarabine have not been fully elucidated. The aim of this study was to determine the significance of nelarabine transport and metabolism in the context of nelarabine cytotoxicity.
PROCEDURE: The expression profiles of six genes in the nelarabine pathway were analyzed in blast cells from six patients with T-ALL as well as in three T-ALL cell lines. In vitro cytotoxicity (LC
RESULTS: The mRNA expression of ENT1, DCK, CDA, NT5C2, RRM1, and RRM2 in patients showed inter-individual variability and was not correlated with the LC
CONCLUSIONS: Chemosensitivity to nelarabine is influenced by the balance of the expression of these four genes, and the ratio of their expression predicts the response of T-cell malignancies to nelarabine.

Català A, Pastor-Anglada M, Caviedes-Cárdenas L, et al.
FLT3 is implicated in cytarabine transport by human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 in pediatric acute leukemia.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(31):49786-49799 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
FLT3 abnormalities are negative prognostic markers in acute leukemia. Infant leukemias are a subgroup with frequent MLL (KMT2A) rearrangements, FLT3 overexpression and high sensitivity to cytarabine, but dismal prognosis. Cytarabine is transported into cells by Human Equilibrative Nucleoside Transporter-1 (hENT1, SLC29A1), but the mechanisms that regulate hENT1 in acute leukemia have been scarcely studied.We explored the expression and functional link between FLT3 and main cytarabine transporters in 50 pediatric patients diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and MLL rearrangement (ALL-MLL+) and other subtypes of leukemia, and in leukemia cell lines.A significant positive correlation was found between FLT3 and hENT1 expression in patients. Cytarabine uptake into cells was mediated mainly by hENT1, hENT2 and hCNT1. hENT1-mediated uptake of cytarabine was transiently abolished by the FLT3 inhibitor PKC412, and this effect was associated with decreased hENT1 mRNA and protein levels. Noticeably, the cytotoxicity of cytarabine was lower when cells were first exposed to FLT3 inhibitors (PKC412 or AC220), probably due to decreased hENT1 activity, but we observed a higher cytotoxic effect if FLT3 inhibitors were administered after cytarabine.FLT3 regulates hENT1 activity and thereby affects cytarabine cytotoxicity. The sequence of administration of cytarabine and FLT3 inhibitors is important to maintain their efficacy.

Zhao L, Zhao Y, Schwarz B, et al.
Verapamil inhibits tumor progression of chemotherapy-resistant pancreatic cancer side population cells.
Int J Oncol. 2016; 49(1):99-110 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor side population (SP) cells display stem-like properties that can be modulated by treatment with the calcium channel blocker verapamil. Verapamil can enhance the cytotoxic effects of chemotherapeutic drugs and multidrug resistance by targeting the transport function of the P-glycoprotein (P-gp). This study focused on the therapeutic potential of verapamil on stem-like SP tumor cells, and further investigated its chemosensitizing effects using L3.6pl and AsPC-1 pancreatic carcinoma models. As compared to parental L3.6pl cells (0.9±0.22%), L3.6pl gemcitabine-resistant cells (L3.6plGres) showed a significantly higher percentage of SP cells (5.38±0.99%) as detected by Hoechst 33342/FACS assays. The L3.6plGres SP cells showed stable gemcitabine resistance, enhanced colony formation ability and increased tumorigenicity. Verapamil effectively inhibited L3.6plGres and AsPC-1 SP cell proliferation in vitro. A pro-apoptotic effect of verapamil was observed in L3.6pl cells, but not in L3.6plGres cells, which was linked to their differential expression of P-gp and equilibrative nucleoside transporter-1 (ENT-1). In an orthotopic pancreatic cancer mouse model, both low and high dose verapamil was shown to substantially reduce L3.6plGres-SP cell tumor growth and metastasis, enhance tumor apoptosis, and reduce microvascular density.

Zhao HB, Zhang XF, Shi F, et al.
Comparison of the expression of human equilibrative nucleotide transporter 1 (hENT1) and ribonucleotide reductase subunit M1 (RRM1) genes in seven non-Hodgkin lymphoma cell lines.
Genet Mol Res. 2016; 15(2) [PubMed] Related Publications
We investigated the variability in the expression of human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (hENT1) and ribonucleotide reductase subunit M1 (RRM1) in non-Hodgkin lymphoma cell lines. hENT1 and RRM1 mRNA expression levels in natural killer (NK) cells and seven non-Hodgkin lymphoma cell lines (YTS, SNK-6, Jeko-1, ly-1, Raji, Karpas, and Jurket) were studied using reverse-transcription quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and the results were compared using the Student t-test. mRNA expression of hENT1 was detectable in YTS, SNK-6, Jeko-1, ly-1, Raji, Karpas, Jurket, and NK cells, which revealed variability in gene expression. There were significant differences in the mRNA expression values of hENT1 (P = 0.021) and RRM1 (P = 0.002) compared to those in NK cells. mRNA expression of both hENT1 and RRM1 was closely associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma cell proliferation. Differential expression analysis of hENT1 and RRM1 in non-Hodgkin lymphoma cell lines may provide novel drug leads for precision medicine.

Kitao H, Morodomi Y, Niimi S, et al.
The antibodies against 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine specifically recognize trifluridine incorporated into DNA.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:25286 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Trifluridine (FTD) is a key component of the novel oral antitumor drug TAS-102 (also named TFTD), which consists of FTD and a thymidine phosphorylase inhibitor. FTD is supposed to exert its cytotoxicity via massive misincorporation into DNA, but the underlying mechanism of FTD incorporation into DNA and its correlation with cytotoxicity are not fully understood. The present study shows that several antibodies against 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) specifically cross-react with FTD, either anchored to bovine serum albumin or incorporated into DNA. These antibodies are useful for several biological applications, such as fluorescence-activated cell sorting, fluorescent immunostaining and immunogold detection for electron microscopy. These techniques confirmed that FTD is mainly incorporated in the nucleus during S phase in a concentration-dependent manner. In addition, FTD was also detected by immunohistochemical staining in paraffin-embedded HCT-116 xenograft tumors after intraperitoneal administration of FTD. Intriguingly, FTD was hardly detected in surrounding matrices, which consisted of fibroblasts with marginal expression of the nucleoside transporter genes SLC29A1 and SLC29A2. Thus, applications using anti-BrdU antibodies will provide powerful tools to unveil the underlying mechanism of FTD action and to predict or evaluate the efficacy and adverse effects of TAS-102 clinically.

Candelaria M, Corrales-Alfaro C, Gutiérrez-Hernández O, et al.
Expression Levels of Human Equilibrative Nucleoside Transporter 1 and Deoxycytidine Kinase Enzyme as Prognostic Factors in Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treated with Cytarabine.
Chemotherapy. 2016; 61(6):313-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cytarabine (Ara-C) is the primary drug in different treatment schemas for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and requires the human equilibrative nucleoside transporter (hENT1) to enter cells. The deoxycytidine kinase (dCK) enzyme limits its activation rate. Therefore, decreased expression levels of these genes may influence the response rate to this drug.
METHODS: AML patients without previous treatment were enrolled. The expression of hENT1 and dCK genes was analyzed using RT-PCR. Clinical parameters were registered. All patients received Ara-C + doxorubicin as an induction regimen (7 + 3 schema). Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data. Uni- and multivariate analyses were performed to determine factors that influenced response and survival.
RESULTS: Twenty-eight patients were included from January 2011 until December 2012. Median age was 36.5 years. All patients had an adequate performance status (43% with ECOG 1 and 57% with ECOG 2). Cytogenetic risk was considered unfavorable in 54% of the patients. Complete response was achieved in 53.8%. Cox regression analysis showed that a higher hENT1 expression level was the only factor that influenced response and survival.
CONCLUSIONS: These results highly suggest that the pharmacogenetic analyses of Ara-C influx may be decisive in AML patients.

Senyavina NV, Tonevitskaya SA
Effect of Hypoxanthine on Functional Activity of Nucleoside Transporters ENT1 and ENT2 in Caco-2 Polar Epithelial Intestinal Cells.
Bull Exp Biol Med. 2015; 160(1):160-4 [PubMed] Related Publications
We studied regulation of hypoxanthine transport depending on its concentration in the culture medium. Caco-2 cells were differentiated on membrane filters to create a model of the intestine. Different hypoxanthine uptake on the apical and basolateral cell membranes was observed. The expression of SLC29 family genes encoding passive nucleoside transporters increased upon changes in hypoxanthine concentration in the medium Localization of the transporters and their influence on the effect of pharmacological preparations are discussed.

Yoon KA, Woo SM, Hong EK, et al.
Cytidine Deaminase as a Molecular Predictor of Gemcitabine Response in Patients with Biliary Tract Cancer.
Oncology. 2015; 89(6):345-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Gemcitabine-based chemotherapy is regarded as the standard treatment for biliary tract cancer (BTC). Potential biomarkers for gemcitabine response include the activities of cytidine deaminase (CDA), human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (hENT1), deoxycytidine kinase (DCK), and ribonucleotide reductase M1 (RRM1). Here, we investigated whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in their encoding genes were associated with the efficacy of gemcitabine chemotherapy in treating BTC.
METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated 11 SNPs in the CDA, hENT1, DCK, human concentrative nucleoside transporter 3 (hCNT3), and RRM1 genes in 80 patients with unresectable, metastatic, or recurrent BTC who were treated with gemcitabine plus cisplatin.
RESULTS: After the results were adjusted for clinical predictors, the variant allele of rs1048977 in the CDA gene was associated with tumor response in a dominant model (OR, 0.23; 95% CI, 0.06-0.93; p = 0.039). No significant association was detected between the 11 SNPs and grade 3/4 toxicity.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that the polymorphism of CDA may be a potential predictive marker for the efficacy of gemcitabine-based chemotherapy in patients with BTC.

Hareedy MS, El Desoky ES, Woillard JB, et al.
Genetic variants in 6-mercaptopurine pathway as potential factors of hematological toxicity in acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients.
Pharmacogenomics. 2015; 16(10):1119-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: We investigated the associations between variants in genes coding for enzymes and transporters related to the 6-mercaptopurine pathway and clinical outcomes in pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
MATERIALS & METHODS: Statistical association between gender, age and genotypes of selected SNPs, and the risks of hematological toxicity and relapse were investigated using a Cox proportional hazard model in 70 acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients from upper Egypt.
RESULTS: We found significant associations between ITPA, IMPDH1, SLC29A1, SLC28A2, SLC28A3 and ABCC4 SNPs and one or more of the hematological toxicity manifestations (neutropenia, agranulocytosis and leukopenia); age was significantly related to relapse.
CONCLUSION: Genetic polymorphisms in enzymes and transporters involved in the 6-mercaptopurine pathway should be considered during its use to avoid hematological toxicity.

Ueda K, Hosokawa M, Iwakawa S
Cellular Uptake of Decitabine by Equilibrative Nucleoside Transporters in HCT116 Cells.
Biol Pharm Bull. 2015; 38(8):1113-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
DNA hypermethylation, an epigenetic change that silences gene expression without altering nucleotide sequences, plays a critical role in the formation and progression of colorectal cancers as well as in the acquisition of drug resistance. Decitabine (DAC), a DNA methyltransferase 1 inhibitor of nucleoside analogues, has been shown to restore gene expression silenced by hypermethylation. In the present study, the mechanisms underlying both uridine and DAC uptake were examined in the human colon cancer cell line HCT116. Real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed that ENT1 mRNA was the most abundant among the nucleoside transporters examined in HCT116 cells. The ENT1 protein was detected in the membrane fraction, as determined by Western blotting. The uptake of uridine or DAC was time- and concentration-dependent, but also Na(+)-independent. The uptake of these agents was inhibited by S-(4-nitrobenzyl)-6-thioinosine (NBMPR), an inhibitor of equilibrative nucleoside transporters (ENTs), and was also decreased in cells treated with ENT1 small interfering RNA. The uptake of both uridine and DAC was inhibited by uridine, cytidine, adenosine, or inosine, while that of DAC was also inhibited by thymidine. The expression of MAGEA1 mRNA, the DNA of which was methylated in HCT116 cells, was increased by DAC treatment, and this increment was attenuated by concomitant treatment with NBMPR. The IC50 value of DAC was also increased in the presence of NBMPR. These results suggest that DAC is mainly taken up by ENT1 and that this uptake is one of the key determinants of the activity of DAC in HCT116 cells.

D'Aronzo M, Vinciguerra M, Mazza T, et al.
Fasting cycles potentiate the efficacy of gemcitabine treatment in in vitro and in vivo pancreatic cancer models.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(21):18545-57 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Pancreatic cancer (PC) is ranked as the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Despite recent advances in treatment options, a modest impact on the outcome of the disease is observed so far. Short-term fasting cycles have been shown to potentiate the efficacy of chemotherapy against glioma. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of fasting cycles on the efficacy of gemcitabine, a standard treatment for PC patients, in vitro and in an in vivo pancreatic cancer mouse xenograft model.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: BxPC-3, MiaPaca-2 and Panc-1 cells were cultured in standard and fasting mimicking culturing condition to evaluate the effects of gemcitabine. Pancreatic cancer xenograft mice were subjected to 24h starvation prior to gemcitabine injection to assess the tumor volume and weight as compared to mice fed ad libitum.
RESULTS: Fasted pancreatic cancer cells showed increased levels of equilibrative nucleoside transporter (hENT1), the transporter of gemcitabine across the cell membrane, and decreased ribonucleotide reductase M1 (RRM1) levels as compared to those cultured in standard medium. Gemcitabine was more effective in inducing cell death on fasted cells as compared to controls. Consistently, xenograft pancreatic cancer mice subjected to fasting cycles prior to gemcitabine injection displayed a decrease of more than 40% in tumor growth.
CONCLUSIONS: Fasting cycles enhance gemcitabine effect in vitro and in the in vivo PC xenograft mouse model. These results suggest that restrictive dietary interventions could enhance the efficacy of existing cancer treatments in pancreatic cancer patients.

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