Gene Summary

Gene:SMARCA2; SWI/SNF related, matrix associated, actin dependent regulator of chromatin, subfamily a, member 2
Aliases: BRM, SNF2, SWI2, hBRM, NCBRS, Sth1p, BAF190, SNF2L2, SNF2LA, hSNF2a
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the SWI/SNF family of proteins and is highly similar to the brahma protein of Drosophila. Members of this family have helicase and ATPase activities and are thought to regulate transcription of certain genes by altering the chromatin structure around those genes. The encoded protein is part of the large ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complex SNF/SWI, which is required for transcriptional activation of genes normally repressed by chromatin. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene, which contains a trinucleotide repeat (CAG) length polymorphism. [provided by RefSeq, Jan 2014]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:probable global transcription activator SNF2L2
Source:NCBIAccessed: 15 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 15 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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

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

Specific Cancers (7)

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: SMARCA2 (cancer-related)

Kumar Mongre R, Sharma N, Singh Sodhi S, et al.
Novel phyto-derivative BRM270 inhibits hepatocellular carcinoma cells proliferation by inducing G2/M phase cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in xenograft mice model.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 87:741-754 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a major threat to human health worldwide and development of novel antineoplastic drug is demanding task. BRM270 is a proprietary combination of traditional medicinal herbs, has been shown to be effective against a wide range of stem-like cancer initiating cells (SLCICs). However, the underlying mechanism and antitumor efficacy of BRM270 in human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells have not been well elucidated till date. Here we studied the tumoricidal effect of BRM270 on human-CD133(+) expressing stem-like HepG-2 and SNU-398 cells. Gene expression profiling by qPCR and specific cellular protein expressions was measured using immunocytochemistry/western blot analysis. In vivo efficacy of BRM270 has been elucidated in the SLCICs induced xenograft model. In addition, 2DG-(2-Deoxy-d-Glucose) optical-probe guided tumor monitoring was performed to delineate the size and extent of metastasized tumor. Significant (P<0.05) induction of Annexin-V positive cell population and dose-dependent upregulation of caspase-3 confirmed apoptotic cell death by pre/late apoptosis. In addition, bright field and fluorescence microscopy of treated cells revealed apoptotic morphology and DNA fragmentation in Hoechst33342 staining. Levels of c-Myc, Bcl-2 and c-Jun as invasive potential apoptotic marker were detected using qPCR/Western blot. Moreover, BRM270 significantly (P<0.05) increased survival rate that observed by Kaplan-Meier log rank test. In conclusion, these results indicate that BRM270 can effectively inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in hepatoma cells by down-regulating CyclinD1/Bcl2 mediated c-Jun apoptotic pathway.

Chowdhury B, Porter EG, Stewart JC, et al.
PBRM1 Regulates the Expression of Genes Involved in Metabolism and Cell Adhesion in Renal Clear Cell Carcinoma.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(4):e0153718 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Polybromo-1 (PBRM1) is a component of the PBAF (Polybromo-associated-BRG1- or BRM-associated factors) chromatin remodeling complex and is the second most frequently mutated gene in clear-cell renal cell Carcinoma (ccRCC). Mutation of PBRM1 is believed to be an early event in carcinogenesis, however its function as a tumor suppressor is not understood. In this study, we have employed Next Generation Sequencing to profile the differentially expressed genes upon PBRM1 re-expression in a cellular model of ccRCC. PBRM1 re-expression led to upregulation of genes involved in cellular adhesion, carbohydrate metabolism, apoptotic process and response to hypoxia, and a downregulation of genes involved in different stages of cell division. The decrease in cellular proliferation upon PBRM1 re-expression was confirmed, validating the functional role of PBRM1 as a tumor suppressor in a cell-based model. In addition, we identified a role for PBRM1 in regulating metabolic pathways known to be important for driving ccRCC, including the regulation of hypoxia response genes, PI3K signaling, glucose uptake, and cholesterol homeostasis. Of particular novelty is the identification of cell adhesion as a major downstream process uniquely regulated by PBRM1 expression. Cytoskeletal reorganization was induced upon PBRM1 reexpression as evidenced from the increase in the number of cells displaying cortical actin, a hallmark of epithelial cells. Genes involved in cell adhesion featured prominently in our transcriptional dataset and overlapped with genes uniquely regulated by PBRM1 in clinical specimens of ccRCC. Genes involved in cell adhesion serve as tumor suppressor and maybe involved in inhibiting cell migration. Here we report for the first time genes linked to cell adhesion serve as downstream targets of PBRM1, and hope to lay the foundation of future studies focusing on the role of chromatin remodelers in bringing about these alterations during malignancies.

Nakazato H, Takeshima H, Kishino T, et al.
Early-Stage Induction of SWI/SNF Mutations during Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinogenesis.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(1):e0147372 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex is frequently inactivated by somatic mutations of its various components in various types of cancers, and also by aberrant DNA methylation. However, its somatic mutations and aberrant methylation in esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (ESCCs) have not been fully analyzed. In this study, we aimed to clarify in ESCC, what components of the SWI/SNF complex have somatic mutations and aberrant methylation, and when somatic mutations of the SWI/SNF complex occur. Deep sequencing of components of the SWI/SNF complex using a bench-top next generation sequencer revealed that eight of 92 ESCCs (8.7%) had 11 somatic mutations of 7 genes, ARID1A, ARID2, ATRX, PBRM1, SMARCA4, SMARCAL1, and SMARCC1. The SMARCA4 mutations were located in the Forkhead (85Ser>Leu) and SNF2 family N-terminal (882Glu>Lys) domains. The PBRM1 mutations were located in a bromodomain (80Asn>Ser) and an HMG-box domain (1,377Glu>Lys). For most mutations, their mutant allele frequency was 31-77% (mean 61%) of the fraction of cancer cells in the same samples, indicating that most of the cancer cells in individual ESCC samples had the SWI/SNF mutations on one allele, when present. In addition, a BeadChip array analysis revealed that a component of the SWI/SNF complex, ACTL6B, had aberrant methylation at its promoter CpG island in 18 of 52 ESCCs (34.6%). These results showed that genetic and epigenetic alterations of the SWI/SNF complex are present in ESCCs, and suggested that genetic alterations are induced at an early stage of esophageal squamous cell carcinogenesis.

Kasaian K, Wiseman SM, Walker BA, et al.
The genomic and transcriptomic landscape of anaplastic thyroid cancer: implications for therapy.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:984 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma is the most undifferentiated form of thyroid cancer and one of the deadliest of all adult solid malignancies. Here we report the first genomic and transcriptomic profile of anaplastic thyroid cancer including those of several unique cell lines and outline novel potential drivers of malignancy and targets of therapy.
METHODS: We describe whole genomic and transcriptomic profiles of 1 primary anaplastic thyroid tumor and 3 authenticated cell lines. Those profiles augmented by the transcriptomes of 4 additional and unique cell lines were compared to 58 pairs of papillary thyroid carcinoma and matched normal tissue transcriptomes from The Cancer Genome Atlas study.
RESULTS: The most prevalent mutations were those of TP53 and BRAF; repeated alterations of the epigenetic machinery such as frame-shift deletions of HDAC10 and EP300, loss of SMARCA2 and fusions of MECP2, BCL11A and SS18 were observed. Sequence data displayed aneuploidy and large regions of copy loss and gain in all genomes. Common regions of gain were however evident encompassing chromosomes 5p and 20q. We found novel anaplastic gene fusions including MKRN1-BRAF, FGFR2-OGDH and SS18-SLC5A11, all expressed in-frame fusions involving a known proto-oncogene. Comparison of the anaplastic thyroid cancer expression datasets with the papillary thyroid cancer and normal thyroid tissue transcriptomes suggested several known drug targets such as FGFRs, VEGFRs, KIT and RET to have lower expression levels in anaplastic specimens compared with both papillary thyroid cancers and normal tissues, confirming the observed lack of response to therapies targeting these pathways. Further integrative data analysis identified the mTOR signaling pathway as a potential therapeutic target in this disease.
CONCLUSIONS: Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma possessed heterogeneous and unique profiles revealing the significance of detailed molecular profiling of individual tumors and the treatment of each as a unique entity; the cell line sequence data promises to facilitate the more accurate and intentional drug screening studies for anaplastic thyroid cancer.

Watson LA, Goldberg H, Bérubé NG
Emerging roles of ATRX in cancer.
Epigenomics. 2015; 7(8):1365-78 [PubMed] Related Publications
ATRX was identified over 20 years ago as the gene responsible for a rare developmental disorder characterized by α-thalassemia and intellectual disability. Similarities to the sucrose nonfermentable SNF2 type chromatin remodelers initially suggested a role in transcriptional regulation. However, over the last years, our knowledge of the epigenetic activities of ATRX has expanded steadily. Recent exciting discoveries have propelled ATRX into the limelight of chromatin and telomere biology, development and cancer research. This review summarizes recent breakthroughs in understanding ATRX function in heterochromatin structure, genome stability and its frequent dysregulation in a variety of cancers.

Mongre RK, Sodhi SS, Sharma N, et al.
Epigenetic induction of epithelial to mesenchymal transition by LCN2 mediates metastasis and tumorigenesis, which is abrogated by NF-κB inhibitor BRM270 in a xenograft model of lung adenocarcinoma.
Int J Oncol. 2016; 48(1):84-98 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor initiating cancer stem-like cells (TICSCs) have recently become the object of intensive study. Human-Lipocalin-2 (hLCN2) acts as a biomarker for cancers. The aim of the present study was to explore new insights regarding the potential role of LCN2 in inducing epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) by transfecting LCN2 into CD133+-A549-TICSCs and its cross-talk with the NF-κB signaling pathway in adenocarcinoma of the lung. Furthermore, EMT was confirmed by transcriptomic analysis, immunoblotting and immunocyto/histochemical analyses. Tumorigenesis and metastasis were confirmed by molecular therapeutics tracer 2DG infrared optical probe in BALB/cSIc-nude mice. It was observed that the CD133+-expressing-LCN2-A549 TICSCs population increased in adenocarcinoma of the lung compared to the normal lung tissue. The expressions of genes involved in stemness, adhesion, motility and drug efflux was higher in these cells than in their non-LCN2 expressing counterparts. The present study revealed that elevated expression of LCN2 significantly induced metastasis via EMT. Overexpression of LCN2 significantly increased stemness and tumor metastasis by modulating NF-κB cellular signaling. BRM270, a novel inhibitor of NF-κB plays a significant role in the EMT reversal. BRM270, a naturaceutical induces cell shrinkage, karyorrhexis and programmed cell death (PCD) which were observed by Hoechst 33342 staining while flow cytometry analysis showed significant (P<0.05) decrease in cell population from G0-G1 phases. Also, 2DG guided in vivo model revealed that BRRM270 significantly (P<0.0003) reduced tumor metastasis and increased percent survival in real-time with complete resection. An elaborate study on the novel concept with respect to linking of naturaceutics as selective and potential anticancer agent that eliminates the elevated LCN2 induced EMT and tumor dissemination through cooperation with the NF-κB signaling as the baseline data for the planning of new therapeutic strategies was conducted for the first time. Our results also illustrate a molecular mechanistic approach for 2DG-guided molecular imaging-based cancer therapy using BRM270 as a novel cancer therapeutic drug to enhance the effect of doxorubicin (Dox)-resistant LCN2 induced metastasis of solid tumors in nude mice.

Karnezis AN, Wang Y, Ramos P, et al.
Dual loss of the SWI/SNF complex ATPases SMARCA4/BRG1 and SMARCA2/BRM is highly sensitive and specific for small cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcaemic type.
J Pathol. 2016; 238(3):389-400 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Small cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcaemic type (SCCOHT) is a lethal and sometimes familial ovarian tumour of young women and children. We and others recently discovered that over 90% of SCCOHTs harbour inactivating mutations in the chromatin remodelling gene SMARCA4 with concomitant loss of its encoded protein SMARCA4 (BRG1), one of two mutually exclusive ATPases of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodelling complex. To determine the specificity of SMARCA4 loss for SCCOHT, we examined the expression of SMARCA4 by immunohistochemistry in more than 3000 primary gynaecological tumours. Among ovarian tumours, it was only absent in clear cell carcinoma (15 of 360, 4%). In the uterus, it was absent in endometrial stromal sarcomas (4 of 52, 8%) and high-grade endometrioid carcinomas (2 of 338, 1%). Recent studies have shown that SMARCA2 (BRM), the other mutually exclusive ATPase of the SWI/SNF complex, is necessary for survival of tumour cells lacking SMARCA4. Therefore, we examined SMARCA2 expression and discovered that all SMARCA4-negative SCCOHTs also lacked SMARCA2 protein by IHC, including the SCCOHT cell lines BIN67 and SCCOHT1. Among ovarian tumours, the SMARCA4/SMARCA2 dual loss phenotype appears completely specific for SCCOHT. SMARCA2 loss was not due to mutation but rather from an absence of mRNA expression, which was restored by treatment with the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A. Re-expression of SMARCA4 or SMARCA2 inhibited the growth of BIN67 and SCCOHT1 cell lines. Our results indicate that SMARCA4 loss, either alone or with SMARCA2, is highly sensitive and specific for SCCOHT and that restoration of either SWI/SNF ATPase can inhibit the growth of SCCOHT cell lines.

Espín-Pérez A, de Kok TM, Jennen DG, et al.
Distinct genotype-dependent differences in transcriptome responses in humans exposed to environmental carcinogens.
Carcinogenesis. 2015; 36(10):1154-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
Considering genetic variability in population studies focusing on the health risk assessment of exposure to environmental carcinogens may provide improved insights in individual environmental cancer risks. Therefore, the current study aims to determine the impact of genetic polymorphisms on the relationship between exposure and gene expression, by identifying exposure-dependently coregulated genes and genetic pathways. Statistical analysis based on mixed models, was performed to relate gene expression data from 134 subjects to exposure measurements of multiple carcinogens, 28 polymorphisms, age, sex and biomarkers of cancer risk. We evaluated the combined exposure to cadmium, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls, p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene, hexachlorobenzene and 1-OH-pyrene, and the outcome was biologically interpreted by using ConsensusPathDB, thereby focusing on carcinogenesis-related pathways. We found generic and carcinogenesis-related pathways deregulated in both sexes, but males showed a stronger transcriptome response than females. We highlighted NOTCH1, CBR1, ITGB3, ITGA4, ADI1, HES1, NCOA2 and SMARCA2 in view of their direct link with cancer development. Two of these, NOTCH1 and ITGB3, are also known to respond to PCBs and cadmium chloride exposure in rodents and to lead in humans. Subjects carrying a high number of risk alleles appear more responsive to combined carcinogen exposure with respect to the induced expression of some of these cancer-related genes, which may be indicative of increased cancer risk as a consequence of environmental factors.

Vangamudi B, Paul TA, Shah PK, et al.
The SMARCA2/4 ATPase Domain Surpasses the Bromodomain as a Drug Target in SWI/SNF-Mutant Cancers: Insights from cDNA Rescue and PFI-3 Inhibitor Studies.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(18):3865-78 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The SWI/SNF multisubunit complex modulates chromatin structure through the activity of two mutually exclusive catalytic subunits, SMARCA2 and SMARCA4, which both contain a bromodomain and an ATPase domain. Using RNAi, cancer-specific vulnerabilities have been identified in SWI/SNF-mutant tumors, including SMARCA4-deficient lung cancer; however, the contribution of conserved, druggable protein domains to this anticancer phenotype is unknown. Here, we functionally deconstruct the SMARCA2/4 paralog dependence of cancer cells using bioinformatics, genetic, and pharmacologic tools. We evaluate a selective SMARCA2/4 bromodomain inhibitor (PFI-3) and characterize its activity in chromatin-binding and cell-functional assays focusing on cells with altered SWI/SNF complex (e.g., lung, synovial sarcoma, leukemia, and rhabdoid tumors). We demonstrate that PFI-3 is a potent, cell-permeable probe capable of displacing ectopically expressed, GFP-tagged SMARCA2-bromodomain from chromatin, yet contrary to target knockdown, the inhibitor fails to display an antiproliferative phenotype. Mechanistically, the lack of pharmacologic efficacy is reconciled by the failure of bromodomain inhibition to displace endogenous, full-length SMARCA2 from chromatin as determined by in situ cell extraction, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and target gene expression studies. Furthermore, using inducible RNAi and cDNA complementation (bromodomain- and ATPase-dead constructs), we unequivocally identify the ATPase domain, and not the bromodomain of SMARCA2, as the relevant therapeutic target with the catalytic activity suppressing defined transcriptional programs. Taken together, our complementary genetic and pharmacologic studies exemplify a general strategy for multidomain protein drug-target validation and in case of SMARCA2/4 highlight the potential for drugging the more challenging helicase/ATPase domain to deliver on the promise of synthetic-lethality therapy.

Mongre RK, Sodhi SS, Ghosh M, et al.
The novel inhibitor BRM270 downregulates tumorigenesis by suppression of NF-κB signaling cascade in MDR-induced stem like cancer-initiating cells.
Int J Oncol. 2015; 46(6):2573-85 [PubMed] Related Publications
The nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) contribute to multidrug resistance (MDR) in tumor chemotherapy. The essential phenomenon of oncogenic activation of NF-κB in cancer-initiating cells showing MDR resulting from increased IL-6 expression is still unclear. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been the objective of intensive study. The aim of this study was to investigate the selective and potential efficacy of BRM270 against stem-like cancer-initiating cells (SLCICs) via the molecular mechanisms of its anticancer effects. Co-regulation of NF-κB and Cdk6 might be new arena to mitigate tumorigenesis. In the present study phyto-drug based approach provides a new avenue in understanding the amelioration and regulatory mechanisms in CSCs. In the present study, an in vivo tumor metastasis model of osteosarcoma was established by injecting Cal72 and SaOS-2 SLCICs into the right lower flank of nude mice. Later the development of tumor was analyzed by LICOR Biosciences (Pearl image analyzer). Significant suppression of activation of NF-κB and LPS-induced gene expression and apoptosis by BRM270 was confirmed by FACS, western blotting and qPCR. Further, both p65 and Cdk6 were significantly (P<0.05) overexpressed in BRM270 non-treated Cal72 SLCICs compared to treated group. BRM270 directly dephosphorylated RelA and selectively inhibited NF-κB transcriptional activity, resulting in decreased expression of interleukin-6, a cytokine implicated in cancer metastasis. BRM270-mediated cell shrinkage, pyknosis, karyorrhexis and programmed cell death (PCD) were observed by Hoechst 33342 staining while flow cytometry analysis showed significant (P<0.05) decrease in cell population from G0-G1 phases. These findings suggest that activation of the oncogenic Cdk6-NF-κB pathway, resulting from increased IL-6 expression, plays a central role in CD133 expressing SLCICs augmented MDR and neoplasia. This study proposes targeting of NF-κB, and Cdk6 with IL-6 as potential targets for PCD and treatment of chemotherapeutic resistance of CSCs to design novel therapies for their elimination.

Wu Q, Madany P, Akech J, et al.
The SWI/SNF ATPases Are Required for Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation.
J Cell Physiol. 2015; 230(11):2683-94 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The Brahma (BRM) and Brahma-related Gene 1 (BRG1) ATPases are highly conserved homologs that catalyze the chromatin remodeling functions of the multi-subunit human SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling enzymes in a mutually exclusive manner. SWI/SNF enzyme subunits are mutated or missing in many cancer types, but are overexpressed without apparent mutation in other cancers. Here, we report that both BRG1 and BRM are overexpressed in most primary breast cancers independent of the tumor's receptor status. Knockdown of either ATPase in a triple negative breast cancer cell line reduced tumor formation in vivo and cell proliferation in vitro. Fewer cells in S phase and an extended cell cycle progression time were observed without any indication of apoptosis, senescence, or alterations in migration or attachment properties. Combined knockdown of BRM and BRG1 showed additive effects in the reduction of cell proliferation and time required for completion of cell cycle, suggesting that these enzymes promote cell cycle progression through independent mechanisms. Knockout of BRG1 or BRM using CRISPR/Cas9 technology resulted in the loss of viability, consistent with a requirement for both enzymes in triple negative breast cancer cells.

Prasad P, Lennartsson A, Ekwall K
The roles of SNF2/SWI2 nucleosome remodeling enzymes in blood cell differentiation and leukemia.
Biomed Res Int. 2015; 2015:347571 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Here, we review the role of sucrose nonfermenting (SNF2) family enzymes in blood cell development. The SNF2 family comprises helicase-like ATPases, originally discovered in yeast, that can remodel chromatin by changing chromatin structure and composition. The human genome encodes 30 different SNF2 enzymes. SNF2 family enzymes are often part of multisubunit chromatin remodeling complexes (CRCs), which consist of noncatalytic/auxiliary subunit along with the ATPase subunit. However, blood cells express a limited set of SNF2 ATPases that are necessary to maintain the pool of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and drive normal blood cell development and differentiation. The composition of CRCs can be altered by the association of specific auxiliary subunits. Several auxiliary CRC subunits have specific functions in hematopoiesis. Aberrant expressions of SNF2 ATPases and/or auxiliary CRC subunit(s) are often observed in hematological malignancies. Using large-scale data from the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) we observed frequent mutations in genes encoding SNF2 helicase-like enzymes and auxiliary CRC subunits in leukemia. Hence, orderly function of SNF2 family enzymes is crucial for the execution of normal blood cell developmental program, and defects in chromatin remodeling caused by mutations or aberrant expression of these proteins may contribute to leukemogenesis.

Twa DD, Mottok A, Chan FC, et al.
Recurrent genomic rearrangements in primary testicular lymphoma.
J Pathol. 2015; 236(2):136-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
Primary testicular diffuse large B cell lymphoma (PTL) is an aggressive malignancy that occurs in the immune-privileged anatomical site of the testis. We have previously shown that structural genomic rearrangements involving the MHC class II transactivator CIITA and programmed death ligands (PDLs) 1 and 2 are frequent across multiple B cell lymphoma entities. Specifically in PTL, we found rearrangements in the PDL locus by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). However, breakpoint anatomy and rearrangement partners were undetermined, while CIITA rearrangements had not been reported previously in PTL. Here, we performed bacterial artificial chromosome capture sequencing on three archival, formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue biopsies, interrogating 20 known rearrangement hotspots in B cell lymphomas. We report novel CIITA, FOXP1 and PDL rearrangements involving IGHG4, FLJ45248, RFX3, SMARCA2 and SNX29. Moreover, we present immunohistochemistry data supporting the association between PDL rearrangements and increased protein expression. Finally, using FISH, we show that CIITA (8/82; 10%) and FOXP1 (5/74; 7%) rearrangements are recurrent in PTL. In summary, we describe rearrangement frequencies and novel rearrangement partners of the CIITA, FOXP1 and PDL loci at base-pair resolution in a rare, aggressive lymphoma. Our data suggest immune-checkpoint inhibitor therapy as a promising intervention for PTL patients harbouring PDL rearrangements.

Kobayashi K, Sakurai K, Hiramatsu H, et al.
The miR-199a/Brm/EGR1 axis is a determinant of anchorage-independent growth in epithelial tumor cell lines.
Sci Rep. 2015; 5:8428 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In epithelial cells, miRNA-199a-5p/-3p and Brm, a catalytic subunit of the SWI/SNF complex were previously shown to form a double-negative feedback loop through EGR1, by which human cancer cell lines tend to fall into either of the steady states, types 1 [miR-199a(-)/Brm(+)/EGR1(-)] and 2 [miR-199a(+)/Brm (-)/EGR1(+)]. We show here, that type 2 cells, unlike type 1, failed to form colonies in soft agar, and that CD44, MET, CAV1 and CAV2 (miR-199a targets), all of which function as plasma membrane sensors and can co-localize in caveolae, are expressed specifically in type 1 cells. Single knockdown of any of them suppressed anchorage-independent growth of type 1 cells, indicating that the miR-199a/Brm/EGR1 axis is a determinant of anchorage-independent growth. Importantly, two coherent feedforward loops are integrated into this axis, supporting the robustness of type 1-specific gene expression and exemplifying how the miRNA-target gene relationship can be stably sustained in a variety of epithelial tumors.

Wei J, Kok LF, Byrne SN, Halliday GM
Photodamage: all signs lead to actinic keratosis and early squamous cell carcinoma.
Curr Probl Dermatol. 2015; 46:14-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is likely to drive the initiation and progression of skin cancer from actinic keratosis to squamous cell carcinoma. Signs of photodamage occur at multiple steps. UV radiation damages many cellular constituents, including lipids, proteins and DNA, all of which are likely to contribute to UV-induced skin cancer. Two biological events culminating from photodamage are mutations in the genes critical to the control of cell division, differentiation and invasion and immunosuppression. DNA photodamage, if unrepaired prior to cell division, can result in the incorporation of an incorrect nucleotide into newly synthesised DNA. Mutations in critical genes contribute to carcinogenesis. Photodamage to proteins such as those involved in DNA repair or proteins or lipids involved in cellular signalling can interfere with this repair process and contribute to mutagenesis. Mutations in key genes, including TP53, BRM, PTCH1, and HRAS, contribute to skin carcinogenesis. UV also damages immunity. Photodamage to DNA and signalling lipids as well as other molecular changes are detrimental to the key cells that regulate immunity. Photodamaged dendritic cells and altered responses by mast cells lead to the activation of T and B regulatory cells that suppress immunity to the protein products of UV-mutated genes. This stops the immune response from its protective function of destroying mutated cells, enabling the transformed cells to progress to skin cancer. UV appears to play a pivotal role at each of these steps, and therefore, signs of photodamage point to the development of skin cancer.

Smith-Roe SL, Nakamura J, Holley D, et al.
SWI/SNF complexes are required for full activation of the DNA-damage response.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(2):732-45 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
SWI/SNF complexes utilize BRG1 (also known as SMARCA4) or BRM (also known as SMARCA2) as alternative catalytic subunits with ATPase activity to remodel chromatin. These chromatin-remodeling complexes are required for mammalian development and are mutated in ~20% of all human primary tumors. Yet our knowledge of their tumor-suppressor mechanism is limited. To investigate the role of SWI/SNF complexes in the DNA-damage response (DDR), we used shRNAs to deplete BRG1 and BRM and then exposed these cells to a panel of 6 genotoxic agents. Compared to controls, the shRNA knockdown cells were hypersensitive to certain genotoxic agents that cause double-strand breaks (DSBs) associated with stalled/collapsed replication forks but not to ionizing radiation-induced DSBs that arise independently of DNA replication. These findings were supported by our analysis of DDR kinases, which demonstrated a more prominent role for SWI/SNF in the activation of the ATR-Chk1 pathway than the ATM-Chk2 pathway. Surprisingly, γH2AX induction was attenuated in shRNA knockdown cells exposed to a topoisomerase II inhibitor (etoposide) but not to other genotoxic agents including IR. However, this finding is compatible with recent studies linking SWI/SNF with TOP2A and TOP2BP1. Depletion of BRG1 and BRM did not result in genomic instability in a tumor-derived cell line but did result in nucleoplasmic bridges in normal human fibroblasts. Taken together, these results suggest that SWI/SNF tumor-suppressor activity involves a role in the DDR to attenuate replicative stress and genomic instability. These results may also help to inform the selection of chemotherapeutics for tumors deficient for SWI/SNF function.

Rao Q, Xia QY, Wang ZY, et al.
Frequent co-inactivation of the SWI/SNF subunits SMARCB1, SMARCA2 and PBRM1 in malignant rhabdoid tumours.
Histopathology. 2015; 67(1):121-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS: Malignant rhabdoid tumours (MRTs) are highly aggressive malignancies of early infancy characterized by inactivation of SMARCB1, a core member of the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodelling complex. The aim of this study was to explore the status of multiple key subunits of the SWI/SNF complex in MRTs.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We screened the key subunits of the SWI/SNF complex, including SMARCB1, SMARCA2, PBRM1, SMARCA4, and ARID1A, in four MRTs by immunohistochemistry, sequencing, and fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH). Complete loss of SMARCB1, SMARCA2 and PBRM1 expression and corresponding mutations in the same genes were observed in all cases. The mutations included seven missense, three same-sense, four frameshift and two truncating mutations. FISH revealed heterozygous deletion of SMARCB1 in one case, and monoploidy of chromosome 22, which harbours SMARCB1, in another case. Furthermore, trisomy of chromosome 9, which harbours SMARCA2, was observed in two cases. Abnormality of PBRM1 was not found in any case.
CONCLUSIONS: We report, for the first time, co-inactivation and frequent mutations of SMARCB1, SMARCA2 and PBRM1 in MRTs. Multiple subunit abnormalities of the SWI/SNF complex potentially act together to contribute to the tumorigenesis of MRTs, which provides unique insights into this disease.

Takeshima H, Niwa T, Takahashi T, et al.
Frequent involvement of chromatin remodeler alterations in gastric field cancerization.
Cancer Lett. 2015; 357(1):328-38 [PubMed] Related Publications
A field for cancerization, or a field defect, is formed by the accumulation of genetic and epigenetic alterations in normal-appearing tissues, and is involved in various cancers, especially multiple cancers. Epigenetic alterations are frequently present in chronic inflammation-exposed tissues, but information on individual genes involved in the formation of a field defect is still fragmental. Here, using non-cancerous gastric tissues of cancer patients, we isolated 16 aberrantly methylated genes, and identified chromatin remodelers ACTL6B and SMARCA1 as novel genes frequently methylated in non-cancerous tissues. SMARCA1 was expressed at high levels in normal gastric tissues, but was frequently silenced by aberrant methylation in gastric cancer cells. Moreover, somatic mutations of additional chromatin remodelers, such as ARID1A, SMARCA2, and SMARCA4, were found in 30% of gastric cancers. Mutant allele frequency suggested that the majority of cancer cells harbored a mutation when present. Depletion of a chromatin remodeler, SMARCA1 or SMARCA2, in cancer cell lines promoted their growth. These results showed that epigenetic and genetic alterations of chromatin remodelers are induced at an early stage of carcinogenesis and are frequently involved in the formation of a field defect.

Coira IF, Rufino-Palomares EE, Romero OA, et al.
Expression inactivation of SMARCA4 by microRNAs in lung tumors.
Hum Mol Genet. 2015; 24(5):1400-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
SMARCA4 is the catalytic subunit of the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex, which alters the interactions between DNA and histones and modifies the availability of the DNA for transcription. The latest deep sequencing of tumor genomes has reinforced the important and ubiquitous tumor suppressor role of the SWI/SNF complex in cancer. However, although SWI/SNF complex plays a key role in gene expression, the regulation of this complex itself is poorly understood. Significantly, an understanding of the regulation of SMARCA4 expression has gained in importance due to recent proposals incorporating it in therapeutic strategies that use synthetic lethal interactions between SMARCA4-MAX and SMARCA4-SMARCA2. In this report, we found that the loss of expression of SMARCA4 observed in some primary lung tumors, whose mechanism was largely unknown, can be explained, at least partially by the activity of microRNAs (miRNAs). We reveal that SMARCA4 expression is regulated by miR-101, miR-199 and especially miR-155 through their binding to two alternative 3'UTRs. Importantly, our experiments suggest that the oncogenic properties of miR-155 in lung cancer can be largely explained by its role inhibiting SMARCA4. This new discovered functional relationship could explain the poor prognosis displayed by patients that independently have high miR-155 and low SMARCA4 expression levels. In addition, these results could lead to application of incipient miRNA technology to the aforementioned synthetic lethal therapeutic strategies.

Skulte KA, Phan L, Clark SJ, Taberlay PC
Chromatin remodeler mutations in human cancers: epigenetic implications.
Epigenomics. 2014; 6(4):397-414 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chromatin remodeler complexes exhibit the ability to alter nucleosome composition and positions, with seemingly divergent roles in the regulation of chromatin architecture and gene expression. The outcome is directed by subunit variation and interactions with accessory factors. Recent studies have revealed that subunits of chromatin remodelers display an unexpectedly high mutation rate and/or are inactivated in a number of cancers. Consequently, a repertoire of epigenetic processes are likely to be affected, including interactions with histone modifying factors, as well as the ability to precisely modulate nucleosome positions, DNA methylation patterns and potentially, higher-order genome structure. However, the true significance of chromatin remodeler genetic aberrations in promoting a cascade of epigenetic changes, particularly during initiation and progression of cancer, remains largely unknown.

Kosho T, Miyake N, Carey JC
Coffin-Siris syndrome and related disorders involving components of the BAF (mSWI/SNF) complex: historical review and recent advances using next generation sequencing.
Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2014; 166C(3):241-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
This issue of Seminars in Medical Genetics, American Journal of Medical Genetics Part C investigates the human diseases caused by mutations in the BAF complex (also known as the mammalian SWI/SNF complex) genes, particularly focusing on Coffin-Siris syndrome (CSS). CSS is a rare congenital malformation syndrome characterized by developmental delay or intellectual disability (ID), coarse facial appearance, feeding difficulties, frequent infections, and hypoplasia/aplasia of the fifth fingernails and fifth distal phalanges. In 2012, 42 years after the first description of CSS in 1970, five causative genes (SMARCB1, SMARCE1, SMARCA4, ARID1A, ARID1B), all encoding components of the BAF complex, were identified as being responsible for CSS through whole exome sequencing and pathway-based genetic screening. The identification of two additional causative genes (PHF6, SOX11) followed. Mutations in another BAF complex gene (SMARCA2) and (TBC1D24) were found to cause clinically similar conditions with ID, Nicolaides-Baraitser syndrome and DOORS syndrome, respectively. Also, ADNP was found to be mutated in an autism/ID syndrome. Furthermore, there is growing evidences for germline or somatic mutations in the BAF complex genes to be causal for cancer/cancer predisposition syndromes. These discoveries have highlighted the role of the BAF complex in the human development and cancer formation. The biology of BAF is very complicated and much remains unknown. Ongoing research is required to reveal the whole picture of the BAF complex in human development, and will lead to the development of new targeted therapies for related disorders in the future.

Mehrotra A, Saladi SV, Trivedi AR, et al.
Modulation of Brahma expression by the mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal regulated kinase pathway is associated with changes in melanoma proliferation.
Arch Biochem Biophys. 2014; 563:125-35 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Brahma (BRM) and Brahma-related gene 1(BRG1) are catalytic subunits of SWItch/sucrose non-fermentable (SWI/SNF) chromatin remodeling complexes. BRM is epigenetically silenced in a wide-range of tumors. Mutations in the v-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B1 (BRAF) gene occur frequently in melanoma and lead to constitutive activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK1/2) pathway. We tested the hypothesis that BRM expression is modulated by oncogenic BRAF and phosphorylation of ERK1/2 in melanocytes and melanoma cells. Expression of oncogenic BRAF in melanocytes and melanoma cells that are wild-type for BRAF decreased BRM expression and increased BRG1 expression. Inhibition of mitogen-activated protein/extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase (MEK) or selective inhibition of BRAF in melanoma cells that harbor oncogenic BRAF increased BRM expression and decreased BRG1 expression. Increased BRM expression was associated with increased histone acetylation on the BRM promoter. Over-expression of BRM in melanoma cells that harbor oncogenic BRAF promoted changes in cell cycle progression and apoptosis consistent with a tumor suppressive role. Upon inhibition of BRAF(V600E) with PLX4032, BRM promoted survival. PLX4032 induced changes in BRM function were correlated with increased acetylation of the BRM protein. This study provides insights into the epigenetic consequences of inhibiting oncogenic BRAF in melanoma through modulation of SWI/SNF subunit expression and function.

Delongchamps NB, Younes P, Denjean L, et al.
TMPRSS2-ERG fusion transcripts expression in patients referred for prostate biopsy: combining detection in urine and needle rinse material.
World J Urol. 2015; 33(6):807-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to combine urine and prostate biopsy rinse material (BRM) assays to increase sensitivity for fusion gene detection.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 194 patients with suspicion of prostate cancer were prospectively included. Urine samples were collected before or after prostate biopsy, as well as BRM. RT-qPCR was used for the detection of fusion transcripts. A microfocal cancer on biopsy was defined by a single core involved with less than 3 mm of Gleason score 3 + 3 cancer. The association between RT-qPCR and biopsy results was statistically assessed.
RESULTS: Seven patients were excluded because of insufficient material. Cancer was detected on biopsy in 100 (53%) patients. Urine alone, BRM alone and both samples were obtained in 155, 164 and 132 patients, respectively. In patients with evidence of cancer on biopsy, a fusion transcript was detected in 63, 55 and 73% of the cases on urine alone, BRM alone and paired samples, respectively. Fusion gene detection on BRM was only associated with the amount of cancer on biopsy. Urine fusion score had a larger area under the curve than serum PSA (p = 0.002) and was significantly higher in patients with high Gleason score and significant cancer on biopsy. Assays of paired samples allowed increasing sensitivity in all subgroups of patients.
CONCLUSIONS: TMPRSS2-ERG fusion gene detection may be performed both in the urine and BRM to increase sensitivity. However, only T-E urine score was associated with adverse pathological features.

Kahali B, Yu J, Marquez SB, et al.
The silencing of the SWI/SNF subunit and anticancer gene BRM in Rhabdoid tumors.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(10):3316-32 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Rhabdoid sarcomas are highly malignant tumors that usually occur in young children. A key to the genesis of this tumor is the mutational loss of the BAF47 gene as well as the widespread epigenetic suppression of other key anticancer genes. The BRM gene is one such epigenetically silenced gene in Rhabdoid tumors. This gene codes for an ATPase catalytic subunit that shifts histones and opens the chromatin. We show that BRM is an epigenetically silenced gene in 10/11 Rhabdoid cell lines and in 70% of Rhabdoid tumors. Moreover, BRM can be induced by BAF47 re-expression and by Flavopiridol. By selective shRNAi knockdown of BRM, we show that BRM re-expression is necessary for growth inhibition by BAF47 re-expression or Flavopiridol application. Similar to lung cancer cell lines, we found that HDAC3, HDAC9, MEF2D and GATA3 controlled BRM silencing and that HDAC9 was overexpressed in Rhabdoid cancer cell lines. In primary BRM-deficient Rhabdoid tumors, HDAC9 was also found to be highly overexpressed. Two insertional BRM promoter polymorphisms contribute to BRM silencing, but only the -1321 polymorphism correlated with BRM silencing in Rhabdoid cell lines. To determine how these polymorphisms were tied to BRM silencing, we conducted ChIP assays and found that both HDAC9 and MEF2D bound to the BRM promoter at or near these polymorphic sites. Using BRM promoter swap experiments, we indirectly showed that both HDAC9 and MEF2D bound to these polymorphic sites. Together, these data show that the mechanism of BRM silencing contributes to the pathogenesis of Rhabdoid tumors and appears to be conserved among tumor types.

Morales-Oyarvide V, Mino-Kenudson M
High-grade lung adenocarcinomas with micropapillary and/or solid patterns: a review.
Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2014; 20(4):317-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The purpose of review is to discuss the most recent research findings on lung adenocarcinomas with solid and micropapillary patterns.
RECENT FINDINGS: Multiple recent studies have confirmed that both patterns are associated with adverse clinicopathologic features such as lymphovascular and pleural invasion, as well as lymph node metastasis, and consequently with poor disease-free survival, overall survival, or both. Radiologic characteristics such as high F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) uptake, a solid nodule, and size ≥2 cm have been found to be useful to detect solid and micropapillary patterns. A seminal study has shown that the presence of a micropapillary component (≥5%) is a risk factor for early locoregional recurrence in patients undergoing limited resection for small (<2 cm) adenocarcinomas, but not for patients undergoing lobectomy. Several studies have demonstrated that micropapillary-predominant tumors are associated with EGFR mutations, whereas solid-predominant tumors are negatively associated with mutations of this gene and positively associated with KRAS mutations, indicative of the lack of response to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors. The possible role of molecular events such as loss of BRG1/BRM and activation of c-Met has been identified in solid pattern and micropapillary pattern, respectively.
SUMMARY: Micropapillary and solid patterns are markers for early recurrence and poor survival in lung adenocarcinomas. In order to overcome the unfavorable outcomes, the preoperative detection of these patterns, development of targeted therapy for KRAS mutants, and discovery of biomarkers that play a significant role in development or progression or both of these patterns are warranted to help in treating lung adenocarcinoma patients with micropapillary or solid patterns or both effectively.

Rao Q, Xia QY, Shen Q, et al.
Coexistent loss of INI1 and BRG1 expression in a rhabdoid renal cell carcinoma (RCC): implications for a possible role of SWI/SNF complex in the pathogenesis of RCC.
Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2014; 7(4):1782-7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In this study, we analyzed the immunohistochemical and molecular profiles of an unusual RCC showed coexistent absence of INI1 and BRG1 expression, rhabdoid morphology, and poor prognosis. Histologically, the tumor had rhabdoid features, which were demonstrated by large round to polygonal cells with eccentric nuclei, prominent nucleoli, and eosinophilic cytoplasm varying from abundant to scanty. Immunohistochemically, the tumor were positive for BRM, PBRM1, ARID1A, CD10, CKpan, Vimentin, carbonic anhydrase IX (CA-IX), and P504S (AMACR) but negative for INI1, BRG1, HMB45, melan A, CK7, CD117, Ksp-cadherin, TFEB, TFE3, and Cathepsin K. We detected all three exons status of the VHL gene of the tumor and observed 1 somatic mutations in 1st exon. Chromosome 3p deletion, coupled with polysomy of chromosome 3 was also found. Based on these findings, it is further indicated that in some cases, rhabdoid RCC may arise from clear cell RCC. SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex may be an attractive candidate for being the "second hit" in RCCs and may play an important role during tumor progression. The role of SWI/SNF complex in rhabdoid RCC should be further studied on a larger number of cases.

Le Loarer F, Zhang L, Fletcher CD, et al.
Consistent SMARCB1 homozygous deletions in epithelioid sarcoma and in a subset of myoepithelial carcinomas can be reliably detected by FISH in archival material.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2014; 53(6):475-86 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epithelioid sarcomas (ES) are mesenchymal neoplasms subclassified into distal and proximal subtypes based on their distinct clinical presentations and histologic features. Consistent loss of SMARCB1 nuclear expression has been considered as the hallmark abnormality for both subtypes, a feature shared with atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor of infancy (ATRT). While virtually all ATRTs harbor underlying SMARCB1 somatic or germline alterations, mechanisms of SMARCB1 inactivation in ES are less well defined. To further define mechanisms of SMARCB1 inactivation a detailed molecular analysis was performed on 40 ES (25 proximal and 15 distal ES, with classic morphology and negative SMARCB1 expression) for their genomic status of SMARCB1 and related genes encoding the SWI/SNF subunits (PBRM1, BRG1, BRM, SMARCC1/2 and ARID1A) by FISH using custom BAC probes. An additional control group was included spanning a variety of 41 soft tissue neoplasms with either rhabdoid/epithelioid features or selected histotypes previously shown to lack SMARCB1 by IHC. Furthermore, 12 ES were studied by array CGH (aCGH) and an independent TMA containing 50 additional ES cases was screened for Aurora Kinase A (AURKA) and cyclin D1 immunoexpression. Homozygous SMARCB1 deletions were found by FISH in 36/40 ES (21/25 proximal-type). One of the distal-type ES displayed homozygous SMARCB1 deletion in the tumor cells, along with a heterozygous deletion within normal tissue, finding confirmed by array CGH. None of the proximal ES lacking homozygous SMARCB1 deletions displayed alterations in other SWI/SNF subunits gene members. Among controls, only the SMARCB1-immunonegative myoepithelial carcinomas displayed SMARCB1 homozygous deletions in 3/5 cases, while no gene specific abnormalities were seen among all other histologic subtypes of sarcomas tested regardless of the SMARCB1 protein status. There was no consistent pattern of AURKA and Cyclin D1 expression. The array CGH was successful in 9/12 ES, confirming the SMARCB1 and other SWI/SNF genes copy numbers detected by FISH. Our study confirms the shared pathogenesis of proximal and distal ES, showing consistent SMARCB1 homozygous deletions. Additionally we report the first ES case associated with a SMARCB1 constitutional deletion, establishing a previously undocumented link with ATRT. Alternative mechanisms of SMARCB1 inactivation in SMARCB1-disomic ES remain to be identified, but appear unrelated to large genomic abnormalities in other SWI/SNF subunits.

Oike T, Ogiwara H, Amornwichet N, et al.
Chromatin-regulating proteins as targets for cancer therapy.
J Radiat Res. 2014; 55(4):613-28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Chromatin-regulating proteins represent a large class of novel targets for cancer therapy. In the context of radiotherapy, acetylation and deacetylation of histones by histone acetyltransferases (HATs) and histone deacetylases (HDACs) play important roles in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks generated by ionizing irradiation, and are therefore attractive targets for radiosensitization. Small-molecule inhibitors of HATs (garcinol, anacardic acid and curcumin) and HDACs (vorinostat, sodium butyrate and valproic acid) have been shown to sensitize cancer cells to ionizing irradiation in preclinical models, and some of these molecules are being tested in clinical trials, either alone or in combination with radiotherapy. Meanwhile, recent large-scale genome analyses have identified frequent mutations in genes encoding chromatin-regulating proteins, especially in those encoding subunits of the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex, in various human cancers. These observations have driven researchers toward development of targeted therapies against cancers carrying these mutations. DOT1L inhibition in MLL-rearranged leukemia, EZH2 inhibition in EZH2-mutant or MLL-rearranged hematologic malignancies and SNF5-deficient tumors, BRD4 inhibition in various hematologic malignancies, and BRM inhibition in BRG1-deficient tumors have demonstrated promising anti-tumor effects in preclinical models, and these strategies are currently awaiting clinical application. Overall, the data collected so far suggest that targeting chromatin-regulating proteins is a promising strategy for tomorrow's cancer therapy, including radiotherapy and molecularly targeted chemotherapy.

Hoffman GR, Rahal R, Buxton F, et al.
Functional epigenetics approach identifies BRM/SMARCA2 as a critical synthetic lethal target in BRG1-deficient cancers.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014; 111(8):3128-33 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Defects in epigenetic regulation play a fundamental role in the development of cancer, and epigenetic regulators have recently emerged as promising therapeutic candidates. We therefore set out to systematically interrogate epigenetic cancer dependencies by screening an epigenome-focused deep-coverage design shRNA (DECODER) library across 58 cancer cell lines. This screen identified BRM/SMARCA2, a DNA-dependent ATPase of the mammalian SWI/SNF (mSWI/SNF) chromatin remodeling complex, as being essential for the growth of tumor cells that harbor loss of function mutations in BRG1/SMARCA4. Depletion of BRM in BRG1-deficient cancer cells leads to a cell cycle arrest, induction of senescence, and increased levels of global H3K9me3. We further demonstrate the selective dependency of BRG1-mutant tumors on BRM in vivo. Genetic alterations of the mSWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes are the most frequent among chromatin regulators in cancers, with BRG1/SMARCA4 mutations occurring in ∼10-15% of lung adenocarcinomas. Our findings position BRM as an attractive therapeutic target for BRG1 mutated cancers. Because BRG1 and BRM function as mutually exclusive catalytic subunits of the mSWI/SNF complex, we propose that such synthetic lethality may be explained by paralog insufficiency, in which loss of one family member unveils critical dependence on paralogous subunits. This concept of "cancer-selective paralog dependency" may provide a more general strategy for targeting other tumor suppressor lesions/complexes with paralogous subunits.

Wong KM, Qiu X, Cheng D, et al.
Two BRM promoter insertion polymorphisms increase the risk of early-stage upper aerodigestive tract cancers.
Cancer Med. 2014; 3(2):426-33 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Brahma (BRM) has a key function in chromatin remodeling. Two germline BRM promoter insertion-deletion polymorphisms, BRM-741 and BRM-1321, have been previously associated with an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers and head and neck cancer. To further evaluate their role in cancer susceptibility particularly in early disease, we conducted a preplanned case-control study to investigate the association between the BRM promoter variants and stage I/II upper aerodigestive tract (UADT) cancers (i.e., lung, esophageal, head and neck), a group of early-stage malignancies in which molecular and genetic etiologic factors are poorly understood. The effects of various clinical factors on this association were also studied. We analyzed 562 cases of early-stage UADT cancers and 993 matched healthy controls. The double homozygous BRM promoter variants were associated with a significantly increased risk of early stage UADT cancers (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.46; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.7-3.8). This association was observed in lung (aOR, 2.61; 95% CI, 1.5-4.9) and head and neck (aOR, 2.75; 95% CI, 1.4-5.6) cancers, but not significantly in esophageal cancer (aOR, 1.66; 95% CI, 0.7-5.8). There was a nonsignificant trend for increased risk in the heterozygotes or single homozygotes. The relationship between the BRM polymorphisms and early-stage UADT cancers was independent of age, sex, smoking status, histology, and clinical stage. These findings suggest that the BRM promoter double insertion homozygotes may be associated with an increased risk of early-stage UADT cancers independent of smoking status and histology, which must be further validated in other populations.

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