Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a heterogeneous disease with poor prognosis that lacks targeted therapies, especially in patients with chemotherapy-resistant disease. Since DNA methylation-induced silencing of tumor suppressors is common in cancer, reversal of promoter DNA hypermethylation by 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (decitabine), an FDA-approved DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) inhibitor, has proven effective in treating hematological neoplasms. However, its antitumor effect varies in solid tumors, stressing the importance of identifying biomarkers predictive of therapeutic response. Here, we focused on the identification of biomarkers to select decitabine-sensitive TNBC through increasing our understanding of the mechanism of decitabine action. We showed that protein levels of DNMTs correlated with response to decitabine in patient-derived xenograft (PDX) organoids originating from chemotherapy-sensitive and -resistant TNBCs, suggesting DNMT levels as potential biomarkers of response. Furthermore, all 3 methytransferases, DNMT1, DNMT3A, and DNMT3B, were degraded following low-concentration, long-term decitabine treatment both in vitro and in vivo. The DNMT proteins could be ubiquitinated by the E3 ligase, TNF receptor–associated factor 6 (TRAF6), leading to lysosome-dependent protein degradation. Depletion of TRAF6 blocked decitabine-induced DNMT degradation, conferring resistance to decitabine. Our study suggests a potential mechanism of regulating DNMT protein degradation and DNMT levels as response biomarkers for DNMT inhibitors in TNBCs.
Jia Yu, Bo Qin, Ann M. Moyer, Somaira Nowsheen, Tongzheng Liu, Sisi Qin, Yongxian Zhuang, Duan Liu, Shijia W. Lu, Krishna R. Kalari, Daniel W. Visscher, John A. Copland, Sarah A. McLaughlin, Alvaro Moreno-Aspitia, Donald W. Northfelt, Richard J. Gray, Zhenkun Lou, Vera J. Suman, Richard Weinshilboum, Judy C. Boughey, Matthew P. Goetz, Liewei Wang
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.