Gene Summary

Gene:WRN; WRN RecQ like helicase
Aliases: RECQ3, RECQL2, RECQL3
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the RecQ subfamily of DNA helicase proteins. The encoded nuclear protein is important in the maintenance of genome stability and plays a role in DNA repair, replication, transcription and telomere maintenance. This protein contains a N-terminal 3' to 5' exonuclease domain, an ATP-dependent helicase domain and RQC (RecQ helicase conserved region) domain in its central region, and a C-terminal HRDC (helicase RNase D C-terminal) domain and nuclear localization signal. Defects in this gene are the cause of Werner syndrome, an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by accelerated aging and an elevated risk for certain cancers. [provided by RefSeq, Aug 2017]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:Werner syndrome ATP-dependent helicase
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 31 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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

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

Specific Cancers (6)

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: WRN (cancer-related)

Cha Y, Kim SY, Yeo HY, et al.
Association of CHFR Promoter Methylation with Treatment Outcomes of Irinotecan-Based Chemotherapy in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer.
Neoplasia. 2019; 21(1):146-155 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aberrant promoter methylation plays a vital role in colorectal carcinogenesis. However, its role in treatment responses is unclear, especially for metastatic disease. Here, we investigated the association between promoter methylation and treatment outcomes of irinotecan-based chemotherapy in 102 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. Promoter methylation was examined by methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction for three loci (CHFR, WRN, and SULF2) associated with chemotherapy response and five CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP)-specific markers (CACNA1G, IGF2, NEUROG1, RUNX3, and SOCS1). Association between CHFR methylation and in vitro sensitivity to irinotecan was also evaluated. Promoter methylation of CHFR, WRN, and SULF2 was identified in 16 (15.7%), 24 (23.5%), and 33 (32.4%) patients, respectively. CIMP status was positive in 22 (21.6%) patients. CHFR methylation was associated with a significantly longer time to progression (TTP) (median: 8.77 vs. 4.43 months, P = .019), with trends favoring higher overall survival (OS) (median: 22.83 vs. 20.17 months, P = .300) and response rates (31.3% vs. 17.4%, P = .300). For patients with unmethylated CHFR, TTP (median: 5.60 vs. 3.53, P = .020) and OS (median: 20.57 vs. 9.23, P = .006) were significantly different according to CIMP status. Colorectal cancer cell lines with CHFR methylation demonstrated increased sensitivity to irinotecan. Both CHFR overexpression and combination with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine reversed irinotecan sensitivity in CHFR-methylated cell lines, whereas CHFR knockdown in unmethylated cells restored sensitivity to irinotecan. These data suggest that CHFR methylation may be associated with favorable treatment outcomes of irinotecan-based chemotherapy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

Huang G, Feng J, Hao S, et al.
CASP8, XRCC1, WRN, NF2, and BRIP1 Polymorphisms Analysis Shows Their Genetic Susceptibility for Meningioma Risk and the Association with Tumor-Related Phenotype in a Chinese Population.
World Neurosurg. 2018; 114:e883-e891 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To investigate 10 candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 5 genes (CASP8, XRCC1, WRN, NF2, and BRIP1) to confirm the association between the 5 genes and the meningioma risk in a Chinese population.
METHODS: We examined 10 candidate SNPs in 5 genes (CASP8, XRCC1, WRN, NF2, and BRIP1) to confirm the association between the 5 genes and the meningioma risk and tumor-related phenotype in 433 individuals, including 215 patients with meningioma and 218 controls.
RESULTS: The polymorphisms rs4968451T>G in BRIP1 were significantly associated with the risk of meningioma (TT vs. TG vs. GG additive, P = 0.005; TT+TG vs. GG dominant, P = 0.015; TT/GT+GG recessive, P = 0.034). The significant association was found only in females for BRIP1 rs4968451T>G (TT+TG vs. GG dominant, P = 0.001; TT/GT+GG recessive, P = 0.044). We observed no significant association between genotypes and the meningioma risk for the other 9 SNPs. Through genotype-phenotype analysis, the genotype of BRIP1 rs4968451T>G was also strongly associated with tumor-related phenotypes, including the tumor grade and tumor subtypes. BRIP1 rs4968451T>G was associated with markedly grade I meningioma risk (TT+TG vs. GG dominant, P = 0.008; TT/GT+GG recessive, P = 0.020). In addition, BRIP1 rs4968451T>G was associated with markedly meningothelial and transitional meningioma risk. Furthermore, the genotype of CAPS8, XRCC1, and NF2 was associated with different subtype of meningioma risk.
CONCLUSIONS: This study indicated a role for BRIP1 gene variations in meningioma and may be informative for future genetic or biological studies of meningioma. These findings will assist in further understanding the genetic cause for meningiomas and guide more effective biological interventions to facilitate meningiomas.

Yu MC, Lee CW, Lee YS, et al.
Prediction of early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma using OncoScan chromosomal copy number aberration data.
World J Gastroenterol. 2017; 23(44):7818-7829 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
AIM: To identify chromosomal copy number aberrations (CNAs) in early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and analyze whether they are correlated with patient prognosis.
METHODS: One hundred and twenty patients with early-stage HCC were enrolled in our study, with the collection of formalin fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) specimens and clinicopathological data. Tumor areas were marked by certified pathologists on a hematoxylin and eosin-stained slide, and cancer and adjacent non-cancerous tissues underwent extraction of DNA, which was analyzed with the Affymetrix OncoScan platform to assess CNAs and loss of heterozygosity (LOH). Ten individuals with nonmalignant disease were used as the control group. Another cohort consisting of 40 patients with stage I/II HCC were enrolled to analyze gene expression and to correlate findings with the OncoScan data.
RESULTS: Copy number amplifications occurred at chromosomes 1q21.1-q44 and 8q12.3-24.3 and deletions were found at 4q13.1-q35.2, 8p 23.2-21.1, 16q23.3-24.3, and 17p13.3-12, while LOH commonly occurred at 1p32.3, 3p21.31, 8p23.2-21.1, 16q22.1-24.3, and 17p 13.3-11 in early-stage HCC. Using Cox regression analysis, we also found that a higher percentage of genome change (≥ 60%) was an independent factor for worse prognosis in early-stage HCC (
CONCLUSION: Patients with early-stage HCC and increased genome change or CNAs involving

Lebel M, Monnat RJ
Werner syndrome (WRN) gene variants and their association with altered function and age-associated diseases.
Ageing Res Rev. 2018; 41:82-97 [PubMed] Related Publications
Werner syndrome (WS) is a heritable autosomal recessive human disorder characterized by the premature onset of several age-associated pathologies including cancer. The protein defective in WS patients, WRN, is encoded by a member of the human RECQ gene family that contains both a DNA exonuclease and a helicase domain. WRN has been shown to participate in several DNA metabolic pathways including DNA replication, recombination and repair, as well as telomere maintenance and transcription modulation. Here we review base pair-level genetic variation that has been documented in WRN, with an emphasis on non-synonymous coding single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and their associations with anthropomorphic features, longevity and disease risk. These associations have been challenging to identify, as many reported WRN SNP associations appear to be further conditioned upon ethnic, age, gender or other environmental co-variables. The WRN variant phenotypic associations identified to date are intriguing, and several are of clear clinical import. Consequently, it will be important to extend these initial associations and to identify the mechanisms and conditions under which specific WRN variants may compromise WRN function to drive cellular and organismal phenotypes as well as disease risk.

Mo D, Zhao Y, Balajee AS
Human RecQL4 helicase plays multifaceted roles in the genomic stability of normal and cancer cells.
Cancer Lett. 2018; 413:1-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
Human RecQ helicases that share homology with E. coli RecQ helicase play critical roles in diverse biological activities such as DNA replication, transcription, recombination and repair. Mutations in three of the five human RecQ helicases (RecQ1, WRN, BLM, RecQL4 and RecQ5) result in autosomal recessive syndromes characterized by accelerated aging symptoms and cancer incidence. Mutational inactivation of Werner (WRN) and Bloom (BLM) genes results in Werner syndrome (WS) and Bloom syndrome (BS) respectively. However, mutations in RecQL4 result in three human disorders: (I) Rothmund-Thomson syndrome (RTS), (II) RAPADILINO and (III) Baller-Gerold syndrome (BGS). Cells from WS, BS and RTS are characterized by a unique chromosomal anomaly indicating that each of the RecQ helicases performs specialized function(s) in a non-redundant manner. Elucidating the biological functions of RecQ helicases will enable us to understand not only the aging process but also to determine the cause for age-associated human diseases. Recent biochemical and molecular studies have given new insights into the multifaceted roles of RecQL4 that range from genomic stability to carcinogenesis and beyond. This review summarizes some of the existing and emerging knowledge on diverse biological functions of RecQL4 and its significance as a potential molecular target for cancer therapy.

Doherty A, Kernogitski Y, Kulminski AM, Pedro de Magalhães J
Identification of polymorphisms in cancer patients that differentially affect survival with age.
Aging (Albany NY). 2017; 9(10):2117-2136 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The World Health Organization predicts that the proportion of the world's population over 60 will almost double from 12% to 22% between 2015 and 2050. Ageing is the biggest risk factor for cancer, which is a leading cause of deaths worldwide. Unfortunately, research describing how genetic variants affect cancer progression commonly neglects to account for the ageing process. Herein is the first systematic analysis that combines a large longitudinal data set with a targeted candidate gene approach to examine the effect of genetic variation on survival as a function of age in cancer patients. Survival was significantly decreased in individuals with heterozygote or rare homozygote (i.e. variant) genotypes compared to those with a common homozygote genotype (i.e. wild type) for two single nucleotide polymorphisms (rs11574358 and rs4147918), one gene (

Kawakubo-Yasukochi T, Morioka M, Hazekawa M, et al.
miR-200c-3p spreads invasive capacity in human oral squamous cell carcinoma microenvironment.
Mol Carcinog. 2018; 57(2):295-302 [PubMed] Related Publications
Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) constitutes over 90% of all cancers in the oral cavity. The prognosis for patients with invasive OSCC is poor; therefore, it is important to understand the molecular mechanisms of invasion and subsequent metastasis not only to prevent cancer progression but also to detect new therapeutic targets against OSCC. Recently, extracellular vesicles-particularly exosomes-have been recognized as intercellular communicators in the tumor microenvironment. As exosomic cargo, deregulated microRNAs (miRNAs) can shape the surrounding microenvironment in a cancer-dependent manner. Previous studies have shown inconsistent results regarding miR-200c-3p expression levels in OSCC cell lines, tissues, or serum-likely because of the heterogeneous characters of the specimen materials. For this reason, single-cell clone analyses are necessary to effectively assess the role of exosome-derived miRNAs on cells within the tumor microenvironment. The present study utilized integrated microarray profiling to compare exosome-derived miRNA and exosome-treated cell-derived mRNA expression. Data were acquired from noninvasive SQUU-A and highly invasive SQUU-B tongue cancer cell clones derived from a single patient to determine candidate miRNAs that promote OSCC invasion. Matrigel invasion assays confirmed that hsa-miR-200c-3p was a key pro-invasion factor among six miRNA candidates. Consistently, silencing of the miR-200c-3p targets, CHD9 and WRN, significantly accelerated the invasive potential of SQUU-A cells. Thus, our data indicate that miR-200c-3p in exosomes derived from a highly invasive OSCC line can induce a similar phenotype in non-invasive counterparts.

Pawłowska E, Szczepanska J, Blasiak J
DNA2-An Important Player in DNA Damage Response or Just Another DNA Maintenance Protein?
Int J Mol Sci. 2017; 18(7) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The human DNA2 (DNA replication helicase/nuclease 2) protein is expressed in both the nucleus and mitochondria, where it displays ATPase-dependent nuclease and helicase activities. DNA2 plays an important role in the removing of long flaps in DNA replication and long-patch base excision repair (LP-BER), interacting with the replication protein A (RPA) and the flap endonuclease 1 (FEN1). DNA2 can promote the restart of arrested replication fork along with Werner syndrome ATP-dependent helicase (WRN) and Bloom syndrome protein (BLM). In mitochondria, DNA2 can facilitate primer removal during strand-displacement replication. DNA2 is involved in DNA double strand (DSB) repair, in which it is complexed with BLM, RPA and MRN for DNA strand resection required for homologous recombination repair. DNA2 can be a major protein involved in the repair of complex DNA damage containing a DSB and a 5' adduct resulting from a chemical group bound to DNA 5' ends, created by ionizing radiation and several anticancer drugs, including etoposide, mitoxantrone and some anthracyclines. The role of DNA2 in telomere end maintenance and cell cycle regulation suggests its more general role in keeping genomic stability, which is impaired in cancer. Therefore DNA2 can be an attractive target in cancer therapy. This is supported by enhanced expression of DNA2 in many cancer cell lines with oncogene activation and premalignant cells. Therefore, DNA2 can be considered as a potential marker, useful in cancer therapy. DNA2, along with PARP1 inhibition, may be considered as a potential target for inducing synthetic lethality, a concept of killing tumor cells by targeting two essential genes.

Serakinci N, Cankaya T, Kølvraa S
Localization of the Werner Protein Together with H2AX in γ-Irradiation-Induced Neoplastic Transformed Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells.
Crit Rev Eukaryot Gene Expr. 2017; 27(1):91-97 [PubMed] Related Publications
The H2A histone family, member X (H2AX), and Werner (WRN) are important proteins for genome and telomere maintenance. WRN has a major role in genome stability, particularly during DNA replication, transcription, recombination, and repair of DNA double-stranded breaks (DSBs) via base excision repair, homologous recombination, or nonhomologous end joining. H2AX plays a part in the rapid, sensitive, cellular response to the ionizing radiation or DNA-damaging chemotherapeutic agents that cause DSBs. This occurs when radiation-induced DSBs trigger the activation of H2AX and begin the damage-repair process. In this study, we investigate the role and localization of WRN together with DNA damage marker H2AX at the radiation-induced damaged sides of both the telomere-immortalized human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) and hMSC-telomere 1 (hMSC-telo1) and in control primary hMSCs. Phosphorylated H2AX and WRN immune staining enabled evaluation of overall genomic integrity and damage/repair. We used peptide nucleic acid-fluorescent in situ hybridization to visualize telomeric damage as a short-term effect. A high-level WRN signal was observed in both primary hMSCs and telomerase-immortalized hMSCs after the cells had been subjected to infrared radiation. Afterward, the irradiation level of the WRN signals decreased considerably, especially in later passages, and WRN was nondetectable in the latest passages of the hMSC Telo1 cells. Contrary to this finding, we found that levels of H2AX phosphorylation in hMSC-telo1 cells increased with time, especially at telomere sides, suggesting that cells with long telomeres and high telomerase activity have the advantage of maintaining genomic integrity. Evaluation of localization of WRN signals demonstrated that WRN does not leave the nucleolus after irradiation. We did not detect the WRN signal at the telomere sides, but we could detect H2AX at the telomeric sides. Thus, our overall data suggest that the WRN protein is not involved in irradiationinduced DNA damage/repair, even at telomeric sides in hMSC and hMSC-telo1.

Martinez AR, Kaul Z, Parvin JD, Groden J
Differential requirements for DNA repair proteins in immortalized cell lines using alternative lengthening of telomere mechanisms.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2017; 56(8):617-631 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer cells require telomere maintenance to enable uncontrolled growth. Most often telomerase is activated, although a subset of human cancers are telomerase-negative and depend on recombination-based mechanisms known as ALT (Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres). ALT depends on proteins that are essential for homologous recombination, including BLM and the MRN complex, to extend telomeres. This study surveyed the requirement for requisite homologous recombination proteins, yet to be studied in human ALT cell lines, by protein depletion using RNA interference. Effects on ALT were evaluated by measuring C-circle abundance, a marker of ALT. Surprisingly, several proteins essential for homologous recombination, BARD1, BRCA2, and WRN, were dispensable for C-circle production, while PALB2 had varying effects on C-circles among ALT cell lines. Depletion of homologous recombination proteins BRCA1 and BLM, which have been previously studied in ALT, decreased C-circles in all ALT cell lines. Depletion of the non-homologous end joining proteins 53BP1 and LIG4 had no effect on C-circles in any ALT cell line. Proteins such as chromatin modifiers that recruit double-strand break proteins, RNF8 and RNF168, and other proteins loosely grouped into excision DNA repair processes, XPA, MSH2, and MPG, reduced C-circles in some ALT cell lines. MSH2 depletion also reduced recombination at telomeres as measured by intertelomeric exchanges. Collectively, the requirement for DNA repair proteins varied between the ALT cell lines compared. In sum, our study suggests that ALT proceeds by multiple mechanisms that differ between cell lines and that some of these depend on DNA repair proteins not associated with homologous recombination pathways.

Green AR, Aleskandarany MA, Ali R, et al.
Clinical Impact of Tumor DNA Repair Expression and T-cell Infiltration in Breast Cancers.
Cancer Immunol Res. 2017; 5(4):292-299 [PubMed] Related Publications
Impaired DNA repair drives mutagenicity, which increases neoantigen load and immunogenicity. We investigated the expression of proteins involved in the DNA damage response (ATM, Chk2), double-strand break repair (BRCA1, BLM, WRN, RECQL4, RECQL5, TOPO2A, DNA-PKcs, Ku70/Ku80), nucleotide excision repair (ERCC1), base excision repair (XRCC1, pol β, FEN1, PARP1), and immune responses (CD8, PD-1, PD-L1, FOXP3) in 1,269 breast cancers and validated our findings in an independent estrogen receptor-negative (ER

Moles R, Bai XT, Chaib-Mezrag H, Nicot C
WRN-targeted therapy using inhibitors NSC 19630 and NSC 617145 induce apoptosis in HTLV-1-transformed adult T-cell leukemia cells.
J Hematol Oncol. 2016; 9(1):121 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection is associated with adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL), a lymphoproliferative malignancy with a dismal prognosis and limited therapeutic options. Recent evidence shows that HTLV-1-transformed cells present defects in both DNA replication and DNA repair, suggesting that these cells might be particularly sensitive to treatment with a small helicase inhibitor. Because the "Werner syndrome ATP-dependent helicase" encoded by the WRN gene plays important roles in both cellular proliferation and DNA repair, we hypothesized that inhibition of WRN activity could be used as a new strategy to target ATLL cells.
METHODS: Our analysis demonstrates an apoptotic effect induced by the WRN helicase inhibitor in HTLV-1-transformed cells in vitro and ATL-derived cell lines. Inhibition of cellular proliferation and induction of apoptosis were demonstrated with cell cycle analysis, XTT proliferation assay, clonogenic assay, annexin V staining, and measurement of mitochondrial transmembrane potential.
RESULTS: Targeted inhibition of the WRN helicase induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in HTLV-1-transformed leukemia cells. Treatment with NSC 19630 (WRN inhibitor) induces S-phase cell cycle arrest, disruption of the mitochondrial membrane potential, and decreased expression of anti-apoptotic factor Bcl-2. These events were associated with activation of caspase-3-dependent apoptosis in ATL cells. We identified some ATL cells, ATL-55T and LMY1, less sensitive to NSC 19630 but sensitive to another WRN inhibitor, NSC 617145.
CONCLUSIONS: WRN is essential for survival of ATL cells. Our studies suggest that targeting the WRN helicase with small inhibitors is a novel promising strategy to target HTLV-1-transformed ATL cells.

Patterson K, Arya L, Bottomley S, et al.
Altered RECQL5 expression in urothelial bladder carcinoma increases cellular proliferation and makes RECQL5 helicase activity a novel target for chemotherapy.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(46):76140-76150 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
RECQ helicases are a family of enzymes with both over lapping and unique functions. Functional autosomal recessive loss of three members of the family BLM, WRN and RECQL4, results in hereditary human syndromes characterized by cancer predisposition and premature aging, but despite the finding that RECQL5 deficient mice are cancer prone, no such link has been made to human RECQL5. Here we demonstrate that human urothelial carcinoma of the bladder (UCC) has increased expression of RECQL5 compared to normal bladder tissue and that increasing RECQL5 expression can drive proliferation of normal bladder cells and is associated with poor prognosis. Further, by expressing a helicase dead RECQL5 and by depleting bladder cancer cells of RECQL5 we show that inhibition of RECQL5 activity has potential as a new target for treatment of UCC.

Li Z, Heng J, Yan J, et al.
Integrated analysis of gene expression and methylation profiles of 48 candidate genes in breast cancer patients.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2016; 160(2):371-383 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Gene-specific methylation and expression have shown biological and clinical importance for breast cancer diagnosis and prognosis. Integrated analysis of gene methylation and gene expression may identify genes associated with biology mechanism and clinical outcome of breast cancer and aid in clinical management.
METHODS: Using high-throughput microfluidic quantitative PCR, we analyzed the expression profiles of 48 candidate genes in 96 Chinese breast cancer patients and investigated their correlation with gene methylation and associations with breast cancer clinical parameters.
RESULTS: Breast cancer-specific gene expression alternation was found in 25 genes with significant expression difference between paired tumor and normal tissues. A total of 9 genes (CCND2, EGFR, GSTP1, PGR, PTGS2, RECK, SOX17, TNFRSF10D, and WIF1) showed significant negative correlation between methylation and gene expression, which were validated in the TCGA database. Total 23 genes (ACADL, APC, BRCA2, CADM1, CAV1, CCND2, CST6, EGFR, ESR2, GSTP1, ICAM5, NPY, PGR, PTGS2, RECK, RUNX3, SFRP1, SOX17, SYK, TGFBR2, TNFRSF10D, WIF1, and WRN) annotated with potential TFBSs in the promoter regions showed negative correlation between methylation and expression. In logistics regression analysis, 31 of the 48 genes showed improved performance in disease prediction with combination of methylation and expression coefficient.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrated the complex correlation and the possible regulatory mechanisms between DNA methylation and gene expression. Integration analysis of methylation and expression of candidate genes could improve performance in breast cancer prediction. These findings would contribute to molecular characterization and identification of biomarkers for potential clinical applications.

Romanowicz H, Pyziak Ł, Jabłoński F, et al.
Analysis of DNA Repair Genes Polymorphisms in Breast Cancer.
Pathol Oncol Res. 2017; 23(1):117-123 [PubMed] Related Publications
Genetic polymorphisms in the DNA repair genes may be associated with increased cancer risk. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association of the DNA repair genes polymorphisms with the risk of breast cancer development. The study included 200 breast cancer patients and 200 healthy controls. The following polymorphisms were studied: C/G (Ser326Cys, rs1052133) of the hOGG1, A/C (IVS5 + 33, rs3212961) of the ERCC1, A/C (Lys939Gln, rs2228001) of the XPC, C/T (Thr241Met, rs861539) of the XRCC3, G/T (Leu787Leu, rs1800392) of the WRN and G/T (Ser307Ser, rs1056503) of the XRCC4 gene. Presented study showed statistically significant increase in the breast cancer development risk of the G/G hOGG1 genotype (OR 8.13; 95 % CI, 4.37-15.14; p < 0.001) and for the G hOGG1 allele (OR 5.11; 95 % CI, 3.69-7.06; p < 0.001), as well as for the C/C ERCC1 genotype (OR 10.61; 95 % CI, 5.72-19.69; p < 0.001) and the C ERCC1 allele (OR 4.66; 95 % CI, 3.43-6.34; p < 0.001) in patients with breast cancer in comparison with healthy control group. We also observed positive association of the C/C XPC genotype (OR 3.80; 95 % CI, 2.27-6.38; p < 0.001) as well as the C XPC allele occurrence with an increased breast cancer development risk (OR 2.65; 95 % CI, 1.98-3.55; p < 0.001). Furthermore, we found an association of the G/T WRN gene polymorphism with increased risk of carcinoma. The hOGG1, ERCC1, XPC and WRN genes polymorphisms may be related to development of breast cancer.

Li Z, Guo X, Tang L, et al.
Methylation analysis of plasma cell-free DNA for breast cancer early detection using bisulfite next-generation sequencing.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(10):13111-13119 [PubMed] Related Publications
Circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) has been considered as a potential biomarker for non-invasive cancer detection. To evaluate the methylation levels of six candidate genes (EGFR, GREM1, PDGFRB, PPM1E, SOX17, and WRN) in plasma cfDNA as biomarkers for breast cancer early detection, quantitative analysis of the promoter methylation of these genes from 86 breast cancer patients and 67 healthy controls was performed by using microfluidic-PCR-based target enrichment and next-generation bisulfite sequencing technology. The predictive performance of different logistic models based on methylation status of candidate genes was investigated by means of the area under the ROC curve (AUC) and odds ratio (OR) analysis. Results revealed that EGFR, PPM1E, and 8 gene-specific CpG sites showed significantly hypermethylation in cancer patients' plasma and significantly associated with breast cancer (OR ranging from 2.51 to 9.88). The AUC values for these biomarkers were ranging from 0.66 to 0.75. Combinations of multiple hypermethylated genes or CpG sites substantially improved the predictive performance for breast cancer detection. Our study demonstrated the feasibility of quantitative measurement of candidate gene methylation in cfDNA by using microfluidic-PCR-based target enrichment and bisulfite next-generation sequencing, which is worthy of further validation and potentially benefits a broad range of applications in clinical oncology practice. Quantitative analysis of methylation pattern of plasma cfDNA by next-generation sequencing might be a valuable non-invasive tool for early detection of breast cancer.

Rusz O, Pál M, Szilágyi É, et al.
The Expression of Checkpoint and DNA Repair Genes in Head and Neck Cancer as Possible Predictive Factors.
Pathol Oncol Res. 2017; 23(2):253-264 [PubMed] Related Publications
DNA damage response failure may influence the efficacy of DNA-damaging treatments. We determined the expression of 16 genes involved in distinct DNA damage response pathways, in association with the response to standard therapy. Twenty patients with locoregionally advanced, squamous cell head and neck carcinoma were enrolled. The treatment included induction chemotherapy (iChT) with docetaxel, cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil followed by concomitant chemoradiotherapy (ChRT) or radiotherapy (RT) alone. The volumetric metabolic therapeutic response was determined by [18F]FDG-PET/CT. In the tumor and matched normal tissues collected before treatment, the gene expressions were examined via the quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). The down-regulation of TP53 was apparently associated with a poor response to iChT, its up-regulation with complete regression in 2 cases. 7 cases with down-regulated REV1 expression showed complete regression after ChRT/RT, while 1 case with REV1 overexpression was resistant to RT. The overexpression of WRN was an independent predictor of tumor relapse. Our results suggest that an altered expression of REV1 predicts sensitivity to RT, while WRN overexpression is an unfavorable prognostic factor.

Bosch LJ, Luo Y, Lao VV, et al.
WRN Promoter CpG Island Hypermethylation Does Not Predict More Favorable Outcomes for Patients with Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Treated with Irinotecan-Based Therapy.
Clin Cancer Res. 2016; 22(18):4612-22 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: WRN promoter CpG island hypermethylation in colorectal cancer has been reported to increase sensitivity to irinotecan-based therapies. We aimed to characterize methylation of the WRN promoter, determine the effect of WRN promoter hypermethylation upon expression, and validate a previous report that WRN promoter hypermethylation predicts improved outcomes for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) treated with irinotecan-based therapy.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: WRN methylation status was assessed using methylation-specific PCR and bisulfite sequencing assays. WRN expression was determined using qRT-PCR and Western blotting. WRN methylation status was correlated with overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) in 183 patients with mCRC. Among these patients, 90 received capecitabine monotherapy as first-line therapy, and 93 received capecitabine plus irinotecan (CAPIRI) therapy as part of the CAIRO phase III clinical trial.
RESULTS: WRN mRNA and WRN protein expression levels were low in colorectal cancer cell lines and in primary colorectal cancer and were largely independent of WRN methylation status. Patients with methylated WRN colorectal cancer had a shorter OS compared with patients who had unmethylated WRN colorectal cancer (HR = 1.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2-2.2; P = 0.003). Patients with unmethylated WRN showed a significantly longer PFS when treated with CAPIRI compared with capecitabine alone (HR = 0.48; 95% CI, 0.32-0.70; P = 0.0001). In contrast, patients did not benefit from adding irinotecan to capecitabine when WRN was methylated (HR = 1.1; 95% CI, 0.69-1.77; P = 0.7).
CONCLUSIONS: WRN expression is largely independent of WRN promoter hypermethylation in colorectal cancer. Moreover, we could not validate the previous finding that WRN promoter hypermethylation predicts improved clinical outcomes of mCRC treated with irinotecan-based therapy and found instead the opposite result. Clin Cancer Res; 22(18); 4612-22. ©2016 AACR.

Castaño J, Herrero AB, Bursen A, et al.
Expression of MLL-AF4 or AF4-MLL fusions does not impact the efficiency of DNA damage repair.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(21):30440-52 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The most frequent rearrangement of the human MLL gene fuses MLL to AF4 resulting in high-risk infant B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). MLL fusions are also hallmark oncogenic events in secondary acute myeloid leukemia. They are a direct consequence of mis-repaired DNA double strand breaks (DNA-DSBs) due to defects in the DNA damage response associated with exposure to topoisomerase-II poisons such as etoposide. It has been suggested that MLL fusions render cells susceptible to additional chromosomal damage upon exposure to etoposide. Conversely, the genome-wide mutational landscape in MLL-rearranged infant B-ALL has been reported silent. Thus, whether MLL fusions compromise the recognition and/or repair of DNA damage remains unanswered. Here, the fusion proteins MLL-AF4 (MA4) and AF4-MLL (A4M) were CRISPR/Cas9-genome edited in the AAVS1 locus of HEK293 cells as a model to study MLL fusion-mediated DNA-DSB formation/repair. Repair kinetics of etoposide- and ionizing radiation-induced DSBs was identical in WT, MA4- and A4M-expressing cells, as revealed by flow cytometry, by immunoblot for γH2AX and by comet assay. Accordingly, no differences were observed between WT, MA4- and A4M-expressing cells in the presence of master proteins involved in non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ; i.e.KU86, KU70), alternative-NHEJ (Alt-NHEJ; i.e.LigIIIa, WRN and PARP1), and homologous recombination (HR, i.e.RAD51). Moreover, functional assays revealed identical NHEJ and HR efficiency irrespective of the genotype. Treatment with etoposide consistently induced cell cycle arrest in S/G2/M independent of MA4/A4M expression, revealing a proper activation of the DNA damage checkpoints. Collectively, expression of MA4 or A4M does neither influence DNA signaling nor DNA-DSB repair.

Lu X, Parvathaneni S, Li XL, et al.
Transcriptome guided identification of novel functions of RECQ1 helicase.
Methods. 2016; 108:111-7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Gene expression changes in the functional absence of a specific RecQ protein, and how that relates to disease outcomes including cancer predisposition and premature aging in RecQ helicase associated syndromes, are poorly understood. Here we describe detailed experimental strategy for identification of RECQ1-regulated transcriptome that led us to uncover a novel association of RECQ1 in regulation of cancer cell migration and invasion. We initiated a focused study to determine whether RECQ1, the most abundant RecQ protein in humans, alters gene expression and also investigated whether RECQ1 binds with G4 motifs predicted to form G-quadruplex structures in the target gene promoters. Rescue of mRNA expression of select RECQ1-downregulated genes harboring G4 motifs required wild-type RECQ1 helicase. However, some RECQ1-regulated genes are also regulated by BLM and WRN proteins regardless of the presence or absence of G4 motifs. The approach described here is applicable for systematic comparison of gene expression signatures of individual RecQ proteins in isogenic background, and to elucidate their participation in transcription regulation through G-quadruplex recognition and/or resolution. Such strategies might also reveal molecular pathways that drive the pathogenesis of cancer and other diseases in specific RecQ deficiency.

Hart SN, Ellingson MS, Schahl K, et al.
Determining the frequency of pathogenic germline variants from exome sequencing in patients with castrate-resistant prostate cancer.
BMJ Open. 2016; 6(4):e010332 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: To determine the frequency of pathogenic inherited mutations in 157 select genes from patients with metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC).
DESIGN: Observational.
SETTING: Multisite US-based cohort.
PARTICIPANTS: Seventy-one adult male patients with histological confirmation of prostate cancer, and had progressive disease while on androgen deprivation therapy.
RESULTS: Twelve patients (17.4%) showed evidence of carrying pathogenic or likely pathogenic germline variants in the ATM, ATR, BRCA2, FANCL, MSR1, MUTYH, RB1, TSHR and WRN genes. All but one patient opted in to receive clinically actionable results at the time of study initiation. We also found that pathogenic germline BRCA2 variants appear to be enriched in mCRPC compared to familial prostate cancers.
CONCLUSIONS: Pathogenic variants in cancer-susceptibility genes are frequently observed in patients with mCRPC. A substantial proportion of patients with mCRPC or their family members would derive clinical utility from mutation screening.

Tang W, Robles AI, Beyer RP, et al.
The Werner syndrome RECQ helicase targets G4 DNA in human cells to modulate transcription.
Hum Mol Genet. 2016; 25(10):2060-2069 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The Werner syndrome (WS) is a prototypic adult Mendelian progeroid syndrome in which signs of premature aging are associated with genomic instability and an elevated risk of cancer. The WRN RECQ helicase protein binds and unwinds G-quadruplex (G4) DNA substrates in vitro, and we identified significant enrichment in G4 sequence motifs at the transcription start site and 5' ends of first introns (false discovery rate < 0.001) of genes down-regulated in WS patient fibroblasts. This finding provides strong evidence that WRN binds G4 DNA structures at many chromosomal sites to modulate gene expression. WRN appears to bind a distinct subpopulation of G4 motifs in human cells, when compared with the related Bloom syndrome RECQ helicase protein. Functional annotation of the genes and miRNAs altered in WS provided new insight into WS disease pathogenesis. WS patient fibroblasts displayed altered expression of multiple, mechanistically distinct, senescence-associated gene expression programs, with altered expression of disease-associated miRNAs, and dysregulation of canonical pathways that regulate cell signaling, genome stability and tumorigenesis. WS fibroblasts also displayed a highly statistically significant and distinct gene expression signature, with coordinate overexpression of nearly all of the cytoplasmic tRNA synthetases and associated ARS-interacting multifunctional protein genes. The 'non-canonical' functions of many of these upregulated tRNA charging proteins may together promote WS disease pathogenesis. Our results identify the human WRN RECQ protein as a G4 helicase that modulates gene expression in G4-dependent fashion at many chromosomal sites and provide several new and unexpected mechanistic insights into WS disease pathogenesis.

Shamanna RA, Lu H, Croteau DL, et al.
Camptothecin targets WRN protein: mechanism and relevance in clinical breast cancer.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(12):13269-84 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Werner syndrome protein (WRN) is a RecQ helicase that participates in DNA repair, genome stability and cellular senescence. The five human RecQ helicases, RECQL1, Bloom, WRN, RECQL4 and RECQL5 play critical roles in DNA repair and cell survival after treatment with the anticancer drug camptothecin (CPT). CPT derivatives are widely used in cancer chemotherapy to inhibit topoisomerase I and generate DNA double-strand breaks during replication. Here we studied the effects of CPT on the stability and expression dynamics of human RecQ helicases. In the cells treated with CPT, we observed distinct effects on WRN compared to other human RecQ helicases. CPT altered the cellular localization of WRN and induced its degradation by a ubiquitin-mediated proteasome pathway. WRN knockdown cells as well as CPT treated cells became senescent and stained positive for senescence-associated β-galactosidase at a higher frequency compared to control cells. However, the senescent phenotype was attenuated by ectopic expression of WRN suggesting functional implication of WRN degradation in CPT treated cells. Approximately 5-23% of breast cancer tumors are known to respond to CPT-based chemotherapy. Interestingly, we found that the extent of CPT-induced WRN degradation correlates with increasing sensitivity of breast cancer cells to CPT. The abundance of WRN decreased in CPT-treated sensitive cells; however, WRN remained relatively stable in CPT-resistant breast cancer cells. In a large clinical cohort of breast cancer patients, we find that WRN and topoisomerase I expression correlate with an aggressive tumor phenotype and poor prognosis. Our novel observations suggest that WRN abundance along with CPT-induced degradation could be a promising strategy for personalizing CPT-based cancer chemotherapeutic regimens.

Zins K, Frech B, Taubenschuss E, et al.
Association of the rs1346044 Polymorphism of the Werner Syndrome Gene RECQL2 with Increased Risk and Premature Onset of Breast Cancer.
Int J Mol Sci. 2015; 16(12):29643-53 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Like other RECQ helicases, WRN/RECQL2 plays a crucial role in DNA replication and the maintenance of genome stability. Inactivating mutations in RECQL2 lead to Werner syndrome, a rare autosomal disease associated with premature aging and an increased susceptibility to multiple cancer types. We analyzed the association of two coding single-nucleotide polymorphisms in WRN, Cys1367Arg (rs1346044), and Arg834Cys (rs3087425), with the risk, age at onset, and clinical subclasses of breast cancer in a hospital-based case-control study of an Austrian population of 272 breast cancer patients and 254 controls. Here we report that the rare homozygous CC genotype of rs1346044 was associated with an approximately two-fold elevated breast cancer risk. Moreover, patients with the CC genotype exhibited a significantly increased risk of developing breast cancer under the age of 55 in both recessive and log-additive genetic models. CC patients developed breast cancer at a mean age of 55.2 ± 13.3 years and TT patients at 60.2 ± 14.7 years. Consistently, the risk of breast cancer was increased in pre-menopausal patients in the recessive model. These findings suggest that the CC genotype of WRN rs1346044 may contribute to an increased risk and a premature onset of breast cancer.

Wu J, Zhi L, Dai X, et al.
Decreased RECQL5 correlated with disease progression of osteosarcoma.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015; 467(4):617-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
Human RecQ helicase family, consisting of RECQL, RECQL4, RECQL5, BLM and WRN, has critical roles in genetic stability and tumorigenesis. Although RECQL5 has been reported to correlate with the susceptibility to malignances including osteosarcoma, the specific effect on tumor genesis and progression is not yet clarified. Here we focused on the relationship between RECQL5 expression and osteosarcoma disease progression, and further investigated the function of RECQL5 on MG-63 cell proliferation and apoptosis. By immunohistochemical analysis, qRT-PCR and western blot, we found that RECQL5 expression was downregulated in osteosarcoma tissues and cells. Patients with advanced tumor stage and low grade expressed lower RECQL5. To construct a stable RECQL5 overexpression osteosarcoma cell line (MG-63-RECQL5), RECQL5 gene was inserted into the human AAVS1 safe harbor by CRISPR/Cas9 system. The overexpression of RECQL5 was verified by qRT-PCR and western blot. Cell proliferation, cell cycle and apoptosis assay revealed that RECQL5 overexpression inhibited proliferation, induced G1-phase arrest and promoted apoptosis in MG-63 cells. Collectively, our results suggested RECQL5 as a tumor suppressor in osteosarcoma and may be a potential therapeutic target for osteosarcoma treatment.

Alsubhi N, Middleton F, Abdel-Fatah TM, et al.
Chk1 phosphorylated at serine345 is a predictor of early local recurrence and radio-resistance in breast cancer.
Mol Oncol. 2016; 10(2):213-23 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Radiation-induced DNA damage activates the DNA damage response (DDR). DDR up-regulation may predict radio-resistance and increase the risk of early local recurrence despite radiotherapy in early stage breast cancers. In 1755 early stage breast cancers, DDR signalling [ATM, ATR, total Ckh1, Chk1 phosphorylated at serine(345) (pChk1), Chk2, p53], base excision repair [PARP1, POLβ, XRCC1, FEN1, SMUG1], non-homologous end joining (Ku70/Ku80, DNA-PKcs) and homologous recombination [RAD51, BRCA1, γH2AX, BLM, WRN, RECQL5, PTEN] protein expression was correlated to time to early local recurrence. Pre-clinically, radio-sensitization by inhibition of Chk1 activation by ATR inhibitor (VE-821) and inhibition of Chk1 (V158411) were investigated in MDA-MB-231 (p53 mutant) and MCF-7 (p53 wild-type) breast cancer cells. In the whole cohort, 208/1755 patients (11.9%) developed local recurrence of which 126 (61%) developed local recurrence within 5 years of initiation of primary therapy. Of the 20 markers tested, only pChk1 and p53 significantly associated with early local recurrence (p value = 0.015 and 0.010, respectively). When analysed together, high cytoplasmic pChk1-nuclear pChk1 (p = 0.039), high cytoplasmic pChk1-p53 (p = 0.004) and high nuclear pChk1-p53 (p = 0.029) co-expression remain significantly linked to early local recurrence. In multivariate analysis, cytoplasmic pChk1 level independently predicted early local recurrence (p = 0.025). In patients who received adjuvant local radiotherapy (n = 949), p53 (p = 0.014) and high cytoplasmic pChk1-p53 (p = 0.017) remain associated with early local recurrence. Pre-clinically, radio-sensitisation by VE-821 or V158411 was observed in both MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells and was more pronounced in MCF-7 cells. We conclude that pChk1 is a predictive biomarker of radiotherapy resistance and early local recurrence.

Arora S, Yan H, Cho I, et al.
Genetic Variants That Predispose to DNA Double-Strand Breaks in Lymphocytes From a Subset of Patients With Familial Colorectal Carcinomas.
Gastroenterology. 2015; 149(7):1872-1883.e9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: DNA structural lesions are prevalent in sporadic colorectal cancer. Therefore, we proposed that gene variants that predispose to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) would be found in patients with familial colorectal carcinomas of an undefined genetic basis (UFCRC).
METHODS: We collected primary T cells from 25 patients with UFCRC and matched patients without colorectal cancer (controls) and assayed for DSBs. We performed exome sequence analyses of germline DNA from 20 patients with UFCRC and 5 undiagnosed patients with polyposis. The prevalence of identified variants in genes linked to DNA integrity was compared with that of individuals without a family history of cancer. The effects of representative variants found to be associated with UFCRC was confirmed in functional assays with HCT116 cells.
RESULTS: Primary T cells from most patients with UFCRC had increased levels of the DSB marker γ(phosphorylated)histone2AX (γH2AX) after treatment with DNA damaging agents, compared with T cells from controls (P < .001). Exome sequence analysis identified a mean 1.4 rare variants per patient that were predicted to disrupt functions of genes relevant to DSBs. Controls (from public databases) had a much lower frequency of variants in the same genes (P < .001). Knockdown of representative variant genes in HCT116 CRC cells increased γH2AX. A detailed analysis of immortalized patient-derived B cells that contained variants in the Werner syndrome, RecQ helicase-like gene (WRN, encoding T705I), and excision repair cross-complementation group 6 (ERCC6, encoding N180Y) showed reduced levels of these proteins and increased DSBs, compared with B cells from controls. This phenotype was rescued by exogenous expression of WRN or ERCC6. Direct analysis of the recombinant variant proteins confirmed defective enzymatic activities.
CONCLUSIONS: These results provide evidence that defects in suppression of DSBs underlie some cases of UFCRC; these can be identified by assays of circulating lymphocytes. We specifically associated UFCRC with variants in WRN and ERCC6 that reduce the capacity for repair of DNA DSBs. These observations could lead to a simple screening strategy for UFCRC, and provide insight into the pathogenic mechanisms of colorectal carcinogenesis.

Ellingson MS, Hart SN, Kalari KR, et al.
Exome sequencing reveals frequent deleterious germline variants in cancer susceptibility genes in women with invasive breast cancer undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2015; 153(2):435-43 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
When sequencing blood and tumor samples to identify targetable somatic variants for cancer therapy, clinically relevant germline variants may be uncovered. We evaluated the prevalence of deleterious germline variants in cancer susceptibility genes in women with breast cancer referred for neoadjuvant chemotherapy and returned clinically actionable results to patients. Exome sequencing was performed on blood samples from women with invasive breast cancer referred for neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Germline variants within 142 hereditary cancer susceptibility genes were filtered and reviewed for pathogenicity. Return of results was offered to patients with deleterious variants in actionable genes if they were not aware of their result through clinical testing. 124 patients were enrolled (median age 51) with the following subtypes: triple negative (n = 43, 34.7%), HER2+ (n = 37, 29.8%), luminal B (n = 31, 25%), and luminal A (n = 13, 10.5%). Twenty-eight deleterious variants were identified in 26/124 (21.0%) patients in the following genes: ATM (n = 3), BLM (n = 1), BRCA1 (n = 4), BRCA2 (n = 8), CHEK2 (n = 2), FANCA (n = 1), FANCI (n = 1), FANCL (n = 1), FANCM (n = 1), FH (n = 1), MLH3 (n = 1), MUTYH (n = 2), PALB2 (n = 1), and WRN (n = 1). 121/124 (97.6%) patients consented to return of research results. Thirteen (10.5%) had actionable variants, including four that were returned to patients and led to changes in medical management. Deleterious variants in cancer susceptibility genes are highly prevalent in patients with invasive breast cancer referred for neoadjuvant chemotherapy undergoing exome sequencing. Detection of these variants impacts medical management.

Yang L, Wang G, Zhao X, et al.
A Novel WRN Frameshift Mutation Identified by Multiplex Genetic Testing in a Family with Multiple Cases of Cancer.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(8):e0133020 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Next-generation sequencing technology allows simultaneous analysis of multiple susceptibility genes for clinical cancer genetics. In this study, multiplex genetic testing was conducted in a Chinese family with multiple cases of cancer to determine the variations in cancer predisposition genes. The family comprises a mother and her five daughters, of whom the mother and the eldest daughter have cancer and the secondary daughter died of cancer. We conducted multiplex genetic testing of 90 cancer susceptibility genes using the peripheral blood DNA of the mother and all five daughters. WRN frameshift mutation is considered a potential pathogenic variation according to the guidelines of the American College of Medical Genetics. A novel WRN frameshift mutation (p.N1370Tfs*23) was identified in the three cancer patients and in the youngest unaffected daughter. Other rare non-synonymous germline mutations were also detected in DICER and ELAC2. Functional mutations in WRN cause Werner syndrome, a human autosomal recessive disease characterized by premature aging and associated with genetic instability and increased cancer risk. Our results suggest that the WRN frameshift mutation is important in the surveillance of other members of this family, especially the youngest daughter, but the pathogenicity of the novel WRN frameshift mutation needs to be investigated further. Given its extensive use in clinical genetic screening, multiplex genetic testing is a promising tool in clinical cancer surveillance.

Li Z, Guo X, Wu Y, et al.
Methylation profiling of 48 candidate genes in tumor and matched normal tissues from breast cancer patients.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2015; 149(3):767-79 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gene-specific methylation alterations in breast cancer have been suggested to occur early in tumorigenesis and have the potential to be used for early detection and prevention. The continuous increase in worldwide breast cancer incidences emphasizes the urgent need for identification of methylation biomarkers for early cancer detection and patient stratification. Using microfluidic PCR-based target enrichment and next-generation bisulfite sequencing technology, we analyzed methylation status of 48 candidate genes in paired tumor and normal tissues from 180 Chinese breast cancer patients. Analysis of the sequencing results showed 37 genes differentially methylated between tumor and matched normal tissues. Breast cancer samples with different clinicopathologic characteristics demonstrated distinct profiles of gene methylation. The methylation levels were significantly different between breast cancer subtypes, with basal-like and luminal B tumors having the lowest and the highest methylation levels, respectively. Six genes (ACADL, ADAMTSL1, CAV1, NPY, PTGS2, and RUNX3) showed significant differential methylation among the 4 breast cancer subtypes and also between the ER +/ER- tumors. Using unsupervised hierarchical clustering analysis, we identified a panel of 13 hypermethylated genes as candidate biomarkers that performed a high level of efficiency for cancer prediction. These 13 genes included CST6, DBC1, EGFR, GREM1, GSTP1, IGFBP3, PDGFRB, PPM1E, SFRP1, SFRP2, SOX17, TNFRSF10D, and WRN. Our results provide evidence that well-defined DNA methylation profiles enable breast cancer prediction and patient stratification. The novel gene panel might be a valuable biomarker for early detection of breast cancer.

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