Gene Summary

Gene:DHFR; dihydrofolate reductase
Aliases: DYR, DHFRP1
Summary:Dihydrofolate reductase converts dihydrofolate into tetrahydrofolate, a methyl group shuttle required for the de novo synthesis of purines, thymidylic acid, and certain amino acids. While the functional dihydrofolate reductase gene has been mapped to chromosome 5, multiple intronless processed pseudogenes or dihydrofolate reductase-like genes have been identified on separate chromosomes. Dihydrofolate reductase deficiency has been linked to megaloblastic anemia. Several transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Mar 2014]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:dihydrofolate reductase
Source:NCBIAccessed: 01 September, 2019


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

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 01 September, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

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: DHFR (cancer-related)

Wińska P, Widło Ł, Skierka K, et al.
Simultaneous Inhibition of Protein Kinase CK2 and Dihydrofolate Reductase Results in Synergistic Effect on Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Cells.
Anticancer Res. 2019; 39(7):3531-3542 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: Recently, we demonstrated the ability of inhibitors of protein kinase 2 (casein kinase II; CK2) to enhance the efficacy of 5-fluorouracil, a thymidylate synthase (TYMS)-directed drug for anticancer treatment. The present study aimed to investigate the antileukemic effect of simultaneous inhibition of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), another enzyme involved in the thymidylate biosynthesis cycle, and CK2 in CCRF-CEM acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The influence of combined treatment on apoptosis and cell-cycle progression, as well as the endocellular level of DHFR protein and inhibition of CK2 were determined using flow cytometry and western blot analysis, respectively. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to examine the influence of silmitasertib (CX-4945), a selective inhibitor of CK2 on the expression of DHFR and TYMS genes.
RESULTS: The synergistic effect was correlated with the increase of annexin V-binding cell fraction, caspase 3/7 activation and a significant reduce in the activity of CK2. An increase of DHFR protein level was observed in CCRF-CEM cells after CX-4945 treatment, with the mRNA level remaining relatively constant.
CONCLUSION: The obtained results demonstrate a possibility to improve methotrexate-based anti-leukemia therapy by simultaneous inhibition of CK2. The effect of CK2 inhibition on DHFR expression suggests the important regulatory role of CK2-mediated phosphorylation of DHFR inside cells.

Wang C, Lu D, Ling Q, et al.
Donor one‑carbon metabolism gene single nucleotide polymorphisms predict the susceptibility of cancer recurrence after liver transplantation.
Gene. 2019; 689:97-101 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Many enzymes involved in one‑carbon metabolism (OCM) are considered to have important roles in carcinogenesis, especially in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the influence of polymorphisms in OCM genes on recurrence in HCC patients with liver transplantation has yet not been reported. The aim of this study was to explore the impact of donor liver graft OCM gene polymorphism on the prognosis of liver transplant recipients with HCC.
METHODS: This study enrolled 100 liver transplantation patients from a Chinese Han population to detect the association between donor OCM genes polymorphisms and post-transplant HCC recurrence. Nine SNPs from seven OCM genes (MTHFD1, MTR, MTRR, DHFR, ALDH1L1, SHMT1, and CBS) were evaluated by Chi-square test and Kaplan-Meier survival analysis.
RESULT: None of the nine SNPs were significantly associated with cancer recurrence after liver transplantation. However, tumor-free survival for recipients with the AA genotype of rs1801394 polymorphism was significantly shorter than patients with AG/GG genotype (1097 ± 155 vs. 1657 ± 173 days, P < 0.05) among patients with alpha-fetoprotein < 400 ng/ml. Kaplan-Meier survival curves showed that recipients with donor rs1127717 homozygous TT had a significantly longer tumor-free survival and overall survival than heterozygous CT/CC recipients (tumor-free survival 1395 ± 128 vs. 671 ± 233 days, P < 0.05; overall survival 1540 ± 114 vs. 925 ± 242 days, P < 0.05) in the patient subgroup with well or moderately differentiated HCC.
CONCLUSION: This is the first genetic study to examine the relation between donor liver graft OCM gene polymorphisms and the risk of HCC recurrence after liver transplantation. Our findings support the hypothesis that polymorphisms of donor genes related to OCM play important roles in post-transplant HCC recurrence. Furthermore, donor rs1801394 and rs1127717 polymorphism may serve as promising prognostic biomarkers for HCC recurrence in liver transplant recipients.

Oosterom N, Berrevoets M, den Hoed MAH, et al.
The role of genetic polymorphisms in the thymidylate synthase (TYMS) gene in methotrexate-induced oral mucositis in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2018; 28(10):223-229 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Methotrexate (MTX) is an important drug in the treatment of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). MTX is cytotoxic as it impairs DNA and RNA synthesis by inhibiting the enzymes dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) and thymidylate synthase (TYMS). The association between genetic variants within the TYMS gene and MTX-induced toxicity has been studied, but results are inconsistent. We determined the role of three previously described variants within the TYMS gene and MTX-induced oral mucositis in a prospective cohort of Dutch children with ALL and performed a meta-analysis of the previous results.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We analyzed the presence of a 28-base pair tandem repeat (rs34743033; 2R3R), a single nucleotide polymorphism present within the 28-base pair repeat on the 3R allele (rs2853542; 3RG>C) and a 6-base pair deletion (rs15126436; TTAAAG) within the TYMS gene in germline DNA of 117 pediatric patients with ALL. Oral mucositis was defined as grade≥3 according to the National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) v.3.0. Data were analyzed for the individual rs34743033 (2R3R) and rs151264360 (6 bp deletion) polymorphisms, whereas rs2853542 (3RG>C) was combined with rs34743033 (2R3R) and analyzed according to predicted expression levels of TYMS: low expression (2R/2R, 2R/3RC and 3RC/3RC), median expression (2R/3RG and 3RC/3RG) and high expression (3RG/3RG). We performed a meta-analysis of the current literature on these polymorphisms in relation to oral mucositis using a fixed effects model.
RESULTS: The 2R2R genotype (rs34743033) was not significantly associated with developing MTX-induced oral mucositis compared with the 2R3R/3R3R genotypes, which was confirmed in a meta-analysis [odds ratio (OR): 1.17 (0.62-2.19)]. Patients carrying the low-expression TYMS genotype (2R2R, 2R3RC, 3RC3RC) had an increased odds of developing MTX-induced oral mucositis [OR: 2.42 (0.86-6.80)], which did not reach statistical significance. The 6-bp deletion [rs151264360, OR: 0.79 (0.20-3.19)] was not associated with the development of MTX-induced oral mucositis.
CONCLUSION: The TYMS 6-bp deletion and 2R3R polymorphism were not associated with MTX-induced oral mucositis. Validation studies in prospective cohorts are necessary to assess the possible role of the low-expression TYMS genotypes in relation to MTX-induced oral mucositis.

Zawiah M, Yousef AM, Kadi T, et al.
Early disease relapse in a patient with colorectal cancer who harbors genetic variants of DPYD, TYMS, MTHFR and DHFR after treatment with 5-fluorouracil-based chemotherapy.
Drug Metab Pers Ther. 2018; 33(4):201-205 [PubMed] Related Publications
Background Early relapse in colorectal cancer (CRC) after curative resection is mainly attributed to the key determinants such as tumor histology, stage, lymphovascular invasion, and the response to chemotherapy. Case presentation Interindividual variability in the efficacy of adjuvant chemotherapy between patients receiving the same treatment may be ascribed to the patients' genetic profile. In this report, we highlight a clinical case of a patient with stage II CRC who relapsed within a short period after starting adjuvant chemotherapy and was later found to have multiple genetic polymorphisms in the DPYD, TYMS, MTHFR, and DHFR genes. Conclusions Based on the clinical data of the patient and the key role of these genes in 5-fluorouracil pathway, we hypothesize that these variants may contribute to the drug response and early relapse in CRC.

Ali EMM, Elashkar AA, El-Kassas HY, Salim EI
Methotrexate loaded on magnetite iron nanoparticles coated with chitosan: Biosynthesis, characterization, and impact on human breast cancer MCF-7 cell line.
Int J Biol Macromol. 2018; 120(Pt A):1170-1180 [PubMed] Related Publications
Methotrexate (MTX) is effective therapeutic agent treated many tumors and autoimmune diseases. The aim of our study was to design an effective delivery nanocarrier for methotrexate to improve stability and biodistribution, reduce adverse effects and maximize clinical efficacy. Magnetite nanoparticles (Fe

Shiao SPK, Grayson J, Lie A, Yu CH
Personalized Nutrition-Genes, Diet, and Related Interactive Parameters as Predictors of Cancer in Multiethnic Colorectal Cancer Families.
Nutrients. 2018; 10(6) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
To personalize nutrition, the purpose of this study was to examine five key genes in the folate metabolism pathway, and dietary parameters and related interactive parameters as predictors of colorectal cancer (CRC) by measuring the healthy eating index (HEI) in multiethnic families. The five genes included

Yousef AM, Zawiah M, Al-Yacoub S, et al.
The association of polymorphisms in folate-metabolizing genes with response to adjuvant chemotherapy of colorectal cancer.
Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2018; 82(2):237-243 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the major health issues worldwide. 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is a cornerstone of chemotherapy for CRC and the major targets of 5-FU are folate-metabolizing enzymes.
METHODS: A total of 103 CRC patients with complete clinical data were included in this prospective cohort study. Genotyping was performed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) followed by sequencing. Using Kaplan-Meier curves, log-rank tests, and Cox proportional hazard models, we evaluated associations between functional polymorphisms in four genes MTHFR (1298A>C and 677C>T), DPYD (496A>G and 85T>C), DHFR 19 bp del, and MTR (2756 A>G) with disease-free survival (DFS).
RESULTS: The minor allele frequencies of MTHFR 1298A>C, MTHFR 677C>T, DPYD 496A>G, DPYD 85T>C, DHFR 19 bp del, and MTR 2756 A>G were 0.364, 0.214, 0.116, 0.209, 0.383, and 0.097, respectively. CRC patients carrying the homozygous GG genotype in DPYD 496A>G had 4.36 times shorter DFS than wild-type AA carriers, (DFS
CONCLUSION: Genetic polymorphism in DPYD seems to be associated with DFS in CRC patients receiving an adjuvant regimen of 5-FU/capecitabine-based chemotherapy. Further studies are needed to verify these findings.

Gutierrez-Camino A, Umerez M, Santos B, et al.
Pharmacoepigenetics in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia: involvement of miRNA polymorphisms in hepatotoxicity.
Epigenomics. 2018; 10(4):409-417 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: Hepatotoxicity is one of the most common drug-related toxicities during the treatment of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Many genes involved in liver-specific signaling pathways are tightly controlled by miRNAs, and miRNA function could be modulated by SNPs. As a consequence, we hypothesized that variants in miRNAs could be associated with drug-induced hepatotoxicity.
METHODS: We analyzed 213 SNPs in 206 miRNAs in a cohort of 179 children with ALL homogeneously treated.
RESULTS: rs2648841 in miR-1208 was the most significant SNP during consolidation phase after false discovery rate correction, probably through an effect on its target genes DHFR, MTR and MTHFR.
CONCLUSION: These results point out the possible involvement of SNPs in miRNAs in toxicity to chemotherapy in children with ALL.

Ceppi F, Gagné V, Douyon L, et al.
DNA variants in DHFR gene and response to treatment in children with childhood B ALL: revisited in AIEOP-BFM protocol.
Pharmacogenomics. 2018; 19(2):105-112 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: We have previously reported an association of dihydrofolate reductase promoter polymorphisms with reduced event-free survival in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients treated with Dana Farber Cancer Institute protocol. Here, we assessed whether these associations are applicable to other protocol, based on different methotrexate doses.
METHODS: Genotypes for six tag polymorphisms and resulting haplotypes were analyzed for an association with ALL outcome.
RESULTS: The association was found with the polymorphisms A-680C, A-317G and C-35T in high-risk group patients. Carriers of haplotype *1 had a remarkably higher risk of events compared with noncarriers and a lower probability of event-free survival (21.4 vs 81.3%).
CONCLUSION: The role of DHFR variants in predicting the outcome of childhood ALL extends beyond single-treatment protocol and can be useful biomarker in personalizing treatment.

Moruzzi S, Guarini P, Udali S, et al.
One-carbon genetic variants and the role of MTHFD1 1958G>A in liver and colon cancer risk according to global DNA methylation.
PLoS One. 2017; 12(10):e0185792 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Several polymorphic gene variants within one-carbon metabolism, an essential pathway for nucleotide synthesis and methylation reactions, are related to cancer risk. An aberrant DNA methylation is a common feature in cancer but whether the link between one-carbon metabolism variants and cancer occurs through an altered DNA methylation is yet unclear. Aims of the study were to evaluate the frequency of one-carbon metabolism gene variants in hepatocellular-carcinoma, cholangiocarcinoma and colon cancer, and their relationship to cancer risk together with global DNA methylation status. Genotyping for BHMT 716A>G, DHFR 19bp ins/del, MTHFD1 1958G>A, MTHFR 677C>T, MTR 2756A>G, MTRR 66A>G, RFC1 80G>A, SHMT1 1420C>T, TCII 776C>G and TS 2rpt-3rpt was performed in 102 cancer patients and 363 cancer-free subjects. Methylcytosine (mCyt) content was measured by LC/MS/MS in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) DNA. The MTHFD1 1958AA genotype was significantly less frequent among cancer patients as compared to controls (p = 0.007) and related to 63% reduction of overall cancer risk (p = 0.003) and 75% of colon cancer risk (p = 0.006). When considering PBMCs mCyt content, carriers of the MTHFD1 1958GG genotype showed a lower DNA methylation as compared to carriers of the A allele (p = 0.048). No differences were highlighted by evaluating a possible relationship between the other polymorphisms analyzed with cancer risk and DNA methylation. The MTHFD1 1958AA genotype is linked to a significantly reduced cancer risk. The 1958GG genotype is associated to PBMCs DNA hypomethylation as compared to the A allele carriership that may exert a protective effect for cancer risk by preserving from DNA hypomethylation.

Giletti A, Vital M, Lorenzo M, et al.
Methotrexate pharmacogenetics in Uruguayan adults with hematological malignant diseases.
Eur J Pharm Sci. 2017; 109:480-485 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Individual variability is among the causes of toxicity and interruption of treatment in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and severe non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) patients under protocols including Methotrexate (MTX): 2,4-diamino-N10-methyl propyl-glutamic acid.
METHODS: 41 Uruguayan patients were recruited. Gene polymorphisms involved in MTX pathway were analyzed and their association with treatment toxicities and outcome was evaluated.
RESULTS: Genotype distribution and allele frequency were determined for SLC19A1 G
CONCLUSIONS: The associations found between gene polymorphisms and toxicities in this small cohort are encouraging for a more extensive research to gain a better dose individualization in adult ALL and NHL patients. Besides, genotype distribution showed to be different from other populations, reinforcing the idea that genotype data from other populations should not be extrapolated to ours.

Gervasini G, de Murillo SG, Jiménez M, et al.
Dihydrofolate Reductase Genetic Polymorphisms Affect Methotrexate Dose Requirements in Pediatric Patients With Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on Maintenance Therapy.
J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2017; 39(8):589-595 [PubMed] Related Publications
We have aimed to determine the effect of polymorphisms in regulatory regions of the DHFR gene in relation to methotrexate (MTX) dose adjustments and drug-induced toxicity in children on maintenance therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). In total, 41 children diagnosed with ALL were screened for 3 tag-single nucleotide polymorphisms in the DHFR promoter (C-1610G, C-680G/T, A-317G) and an intronic 19-bp insertion/deletion. Genotypes were analyzed in relation to dose requirements and toxicity. The percentage of MTX dose administered (with respect to protocol-recommended values) was affected by DHFR polymorphisms. Carriers of the -680AA genotype displayed a median percentage of 44.08 (interquartile range=34.69), compared with 77.98 (interquartile range=33.90) for CC and CA carriers (P=0.01). The number of counts within white blood cell therapeutic range (2.0 to 3.0×10/L) was higher for -680AA carriers than for CC/CA carriers (P=0.003). With regard to toxicity, carriers of the -680AA genotype displayed more treatment interruptions than CC/CG carriers (P=0.03), as well as more episodes of severe neutropenia (P=0.04) and higher number of blood counts with elevated levels (>400 mg/dL) of lactate dehidrogenase (P=0.04). Overall, our findings suggest that the identification of DHFR polymorphisms in the promoter region of the gene may be helpful in tailoring MTX doses for ALL pediatric patients on maintenance therapy.

Rudin S, Marable M, Huang RS
The Promise of Pharmacogenomics in Reducing Toxicity During Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Maintenance Treatment.
Genomics Proteomics Bioinformatics. 2017; 15(2):82-93 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) affects a substantial number of children every year and requires a long and rigorous course of chemotherapy treatments in three stages, with the longest phase, the maintenance phase, lasting 2-3years. While the primary drugs used in the maintenance phase, 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP) and methotrexate (MTX), are necessary for decreasing risk of relapse, they also have potentially serious toxicities, including myelosuppression, which may be life-threatening, and gastrointestinal toxicity. For both drugs, pharmacogenomic factors have been identified that could explain a large amount of the variance in toxicity between patients, and may serve as effective predictors of toxicity during the maintenance phase of ALL treatment. 6-MP toxicity is associated with polymorphisms in the genes encoding thiopurine methyltransferase (TPMT), nudix hydrolase 15 (NUDT15), and potentially inosine triphosphatase (ITPA), which vary between ethnic groups. Moreover, MTX toxicity is associated with polymorphisms in genes encoding solute carrier organic anion transporter family member 1B1 (SLCO1B1) and dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR). Additional polymorphisms potentially associated with toxicities for MTX have also been identified, including those in the genes encoding solute carrier family 19 member 1 (SLC19A1) and thymidylate synthetase (TYMS), but their contributions have not yet been well quantified. It is clear that pharmacogenomics should be incorporated as a dosage-calibrating tool in pediatric ALL treatment in order to predict and minimize the occurrence of serious toxicities for these patients.

Park JA, Shin HY
ATIC Gene Polymorphism and Histologic Response to Chemotherapy in Pediatric Osteosarcoma.
J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2017; 39(5):e270-e274 [PubMed] Related Publications
Accumulating evidence indicates that polymorphisms in folate pathway genes play a role in response to methotrexate (MTX) treatment in various diseases. This study explored the influence of these genetic polymorphisms on treatment outcome in pediatric osteosarcoma. Blood and tissue samples from 48 osteosarcoma patients were obtained, and the following polymorphisms were analyzed; SLC19A1 80G>A, DHFR 829C>T, MTHFR 677C>T, MTHFR 1298A>C, and ATIC 347C>G. We evaluated associations between these candidate gene polymorphisms and treatment outcome, including histologic response and event-free and overall survival, of patients treated with high-dose MTX. Patients with ATIC 347C>G exhibited a good histologic response to chemotherapy (odds ratio, 0.13; 95% confidence interval, 0.017-0.978; P=0.048). However, none of these single nucleotide polymorphisms we examined affected event-free survival or overall survival rates of the patients. Even though the role of single nucleotide polymorphisms of ATIC in chemotherapy-induced tumor necrosis has not been investigated yet, the ATIC 347C>G polymorphism may influence the levels of adenosine after MTX treatment, which may affect the histologic response of osteosarcoma. This relationship warrants validation in a larger, prospective cohort study.

Ciudad CJ, Rodríguez L, Villalobos X, et al.
Polypurine Reverse Hoogsteen Hairpins as a Gene Silencing Tool for Cancer.
Curr Med Chem. 2017; 24(26):2809-2826 [PubMed] Related Publications
Polypurine reverse Hoogsteen (PPRH) molecules are DNA hairpins formed by two polypurine strands running in an antiparallel orientation and containing no nucleotide modifications. The two strands, linked by a pentathymidine loop, are bound through intramolecular reverse Hoogsteen bonds. Then, PPRHs can bind by Watson-Crick bonds to their corresponding polypyrimidine target in the dsDNA provoking a displacement of the polypurine strand of the duplex. We described the effect and mechanisms of action of PPRHs in cells using PPRHs designed against the template and coding strands of the dhfr gene. The proof of principle of PPRHs as a therapeutic tool was established using a PPRH against survivin in a xenograft prostate cancer tumor model. To improve the PPRHs effect, the influence of the length was studied obtaining a higher efficiency with longer molecules. To decrease the possible offtarget effect, when a purine interruption is found in the pyrimidine target, the PPRH sequence should contain both strands of the complementary base opposite to the interruption. Furthermore, the stability of PPRHs is higher than that of siRNAs, as evidenced by the longer halflife of the former in different types of serum and in PC3 cells. PPRHs do not induce the levels of the transcription factors nor the proinflammatory cytokines involved in the Toll-like Receptor pathway and they do not trigger the formation of the inflammasome complex. PPRHs can be used as therapeutic tools to target genes related to cancer progression, resistance to drugs or immunotherapy approaches.

Nakano M, Fukami T, Gotoh S, Nakajima M
A-to-I RNA Editing Up-regulates Human Dihydrofolate Reductase in Breast Cancer.
J Biol Chem. 2017; 292(12):4873-4884 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) plays a key role in folate metabolism and is a target molecule of methotrexate. An increase in the cellular expression level of DHFR is one of the mechanisms of tumor resistance to methotrexate. The present study investigated the possibility that adenosine-to-inosine RNA editing, which causes nucleotide conversion by adenosine deaminase acting on RNA (ADAR) enzymes, might modulate DHFR expression. In human breast adenocarcinoma-derived MCF-7 cells, 26 RNA editing sites were identified in the 3'-UTR of DHFR. Knockdown of ADAR1 decreased the RNA editing levels of DHFR and resulted in a decrease in the DHFR mRNA and protein levels, indicating that ADAR1 up-regulates DHFR expression. Using a computational analysis, miR-25-3p and miR-125a-3p were predicted to bind to the non-edited 3'-UTR of DHFR but not to the edited sequence. The decrease in DHFR expression by the knockdown of ADAR1 was restored by transfection of antisense oligonucleotides for these miRNAs, suggesting that RNA editing mediated up-regulation of DHFR requires the function of these miRNAs. Interestingly, we observed that the knockdown of ADAR1 decreased cell viability and increased the sensitivity of MCF-7 cells to methotrexate. ADAR1 expression levels and the RNA editing levels in the 3'-UTR of DHFR in breast cancer tissues were higher than those in adjacent normal tissues. Collectively, the present study demonstrated that ADAR1 positively regulates the expression of DHFR by editing the miR-25-3p and miR-125a-3p binding sites in the 3'-UTR of DHFR, enhancing cellular proliferation and resistance to methotrexate.

Moruzzi S, Udali S, Ruzzenente A, et al.
The RFC1 80G>A, among Common One-Carbon Polymorphisms, Relates to Survival Rate According to DNA Global Methylation in Primary Liver Cancers.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(12):e0167534 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Polymorphisms within one-carbon metabolism genes have been largely studied in relation to cancer risk for the function of this pathway in nucleotide synthesis and DNA methylation. Aims of this study were to explore the possible link among several common functional gene polymorphisms within one-carbon metabolism and survival rate in primary liver cancers, i.e., hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma, and to assess the additional effect of global DNA methylation on survival rate and mortality risk. Forty-seven primary liver cancer patients were genotyped for ten polymorphisms: DHFR 19bp ins/del, TS 2rpt-3rpt, MTHFD1 1958G>A, MTHFR 677C>T, MTR 2756A>G, MTRR 66A>G, RFC1 80G>A, SHMT1 1420C>T, BHMT 716 A>G, TC II 776C>G. Methylation was determined in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) DNA as methylcytosine (mCyt) content using LC/MS/MS. Among the polymorphisms analysed, the RFC1 80G>A (rs1051266) influenced the survival rate in primary liver cancers. The RFC1 80AA was associated to a significantly reduced survival rate (22.2%) as compared to both GG and GA genotypes (61.5% and 76% respectively, p = 0.005). When the cancer patients were stratified according to the mCyt median value as high (>5.34%) or low (≤5.34%), the concomitant presence of AA genotype and low mCyt level led to a significantly worse survival rate as compared to the G allele carriership (p<0.0001) with a higher Hazard Ratio (HR = 6.62, p = 0.001). The subjects carrying the AA genotype in association with high mCyt did not show a significant difference in survival rate as compared with the G allele carriers (p = 0.919). The RFC1 80G>A polymorphism influenced the survival rate, and the presence of RFC1 80AA genotype with low global methylation in PBMCs DNA was associated with poorer prognosis and higher mortality risk, therefore highlighting novel molecular signatures potentially helpful to define prognostic markers for primary liver cancers.

Selhub J, Rosenberg IH
Excessive folic acid intake and relation to adverse health outcome.
Biochimie. 2016; 126:71-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The recent increase in the intake of folic acid by the general public through fortified foods and supplements, has raised safety concern based on early reports of adverse health outcome in elderly with low B12 status who took high doses of folic acid. These safety concerns are contrary to the 2015 WHO statement that "high folic acid intake has not reliably been shown to be associated with negative healeffects". In the folic acid post-fortification era, we have shown that in elderly participants in NHANES 1999-2002, high plasma folate level is associated with exacerbation of both clinical (anemia and cognitive impairment) and biochemical (high MMA and high Hcy plasma levels) signs of vitamin B12 deficiency. Adverse clinical outcomes in association with high folate intake were also seen among elderly with low plasma B12 levels from the Framingham Original Cohort and in a study from Australia which combined three elderly cohorts. Relation between high folate and adverse biochemical outcomes were also seen in the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging (High Hcy, high MMA and lower TC2) and at an outpatient clinic at Yale University where high folate is associated with higher MMA in the elderly but not in the young. Potential detrimental effects of high folic acid intake may not be limited to the elderly nor to those with B12 deficiency. A study from India linked maternal high RBC folate to increased insulin resistance in offspring. Our study suggested that excessive folic acid intake is associated with lower natural killer cells activity in elderly women. In a recent study we found that the risk for unilateral retinoblastoma in offspring is 4 fold higher in women that are homozygotes for the 19 bp deletion in the DHFR gene and took folic acid supplement during pregnancy. In the elderly this polymorphism is associated with lower memory and executive scores, both being significantly worse in those with high plasma folate. These and other data strongly imply that excessive intake of folic acid is not always safe in certain populations of different age and ethnical/genetic background.

Choi JH, Yates Z, Martin C, et al.
Gene-Nutrient Interaction between Folate and Dihydrofolate Reductase in Risk for Adenomatous Polyp Occurrence: A Preliminary Report.
J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2015; 61(6):455-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Folate and related gene variants are significant risk factors in the aetiology of colorectal cancer. Dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) is critical in the metabolism of synthetic folic acid (pteroylmonoglutamatamic, PteGlu) to tetrahydrofolate following absorption. Therefore, the 19bp deletion variant of DHFR may lead to the alteration of folate-related colorectal disease susceptibility. This study examined the association between PteGlu and 19bp del-DHFR, and adenomatous polyp (AP) occurrence, an antecedent of colorectal cancer. A total of 199 subjects (162 controls and 37 AP cases) were analysed to determine dietary intake of total folate, natural methylfolate and synthetic PteGlu, level of erythrocyte folate and plasma homocysteine (tHcy), and genotype of 19bp del-DHFR. Dietary folate intake, erythrocyte folate, tHcy and 19bp del-DHFR variants did not independently predict the occurrence of AP. However, a gene-nutrient interaction was observed when subjects were stratified according to dietary folate intake. In subjects with a folate intake above the median value due to significant dietary PteGlu content, the presence of the 19bp-deletion allele decreased the risk for AP (OR=0.35, 95% CI: 0.13-0.97). However, such association was not evident in individuals with a folate intake below the median value. In conclusion, the finding suggests that folate nutrition and 19bp del-DHFR variation may interact to modify AP risk.

Shimamoto Y, Nukatsuka M, Takechi T, Fukushima M
Association between mRNA expression of chemotherapy-related genes and clinicopathological features in colorectal cancer: A large-scale population analysis.
Int J Mol Med. 2016; 37(2):319-28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
To establish the individualized treatment of patients with colorectal cancer, factors associated with chemotherapeutic effects should be identified. However, to the best of our knowledge, few studies are available on this topic, although it is known that the prognosis of patients and sensitivity to chemotherapy depend on the location of the tumor and that the tumor location is important for individualized treatment. In this study, primary tumors obtained from 1,129 patients with colorectal cancer were used to measure the mRNA expression levels of the following genes associated with the effects of standard chemotherapy for colorectal cancer: 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)-related thymidylate synthase (TYMS), dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPYD) and thymidine phosphorylase (TYMP); folate-related dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), folylpolyglutamate synthase (FPGS) and gamma-glutamyl hydrolase (GGH); irinotecan-related topoisomerase I (TOP1); oxaliplatin-related excision repair cross-complementing 1 (ERCC1); biologic agent-related vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Large-scale population analysis was performed to determine the association of gene expression with the clinicopathological features, in particular, the location of the colorectal cancer. From the results of our analysis of the mRNA expression of these 10 genes, we noted the strongest correlation between DPYD and TYMP, followed by TYMS and DHFR. The location of the colorectal cancer was classified into 4 regions (the right‑ and left-sided colon, rectosigmoid and rectum) and was compared with gene expression. A significant difference in all genes, apart from VEGF, was noted. Of the remaining 9 genes, the highest expression of TYMS and DPYD was observed in the right‑sided colon; the highest expression of GGH and EGFR was noted in the left-sided colon; the highest expression of DHFR, FPGS, TOP1 and ERCC1 was noted in the rectosigmoid, whereas TYMP expression was approximately equivalent in the right-sided colon and rectum, and higher than that in other locations. The data generated from this study may prove to be useful for the development of individualized chemotherapeutic treatments for patients with colorectal cancer, and will mean that the tumor location is taken into account.

Ravegnini G, Zolezzi Moraga JM, Maffei F, et al.
Simultaneous Analysis of SEPT9 Promoter Methylation Status, Micronuclei Frequency, and Folate-Related Gene Polymorphisms: The Potential for a Novel Blood-Based Colorectal Cancer Biomarker.
Int J Mol Sci. 2015; 16(12):28486-97 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
One challenge in colorectal cancer (CRC) is identifying novel biomarkers to be introduced in screening programs. The present study investigated the promoter methylation status of the SEPT9 gene in peripheral blood samples of subjects' positive fecal occult blood test (FOBT). In order to add new insights, we investigated the association between SEPT9 promoter methylation and micronuclei frequency, and polymorphisms in the folate-related pathway genes. SEPT9 promoter methylation, micronuclei frequency, and genotypes were evaluated on 74 individuals' FOBT positive. Individuals were subjected to a colonoscopy that provided written informed consent for study participation. SEPT9 promoter methylation status was significantly lower in the CRC group than controls (p = 0.0006). In contrast, the CaCo2 cell-line, analyzed as a tissue specific model of colon adenocarcinoma, showed a significantly higher percentage of SEPT9 promoter methylation compared to the CRC group (p < 0.0001). Linear regression analysis showed an inverse correlation between micronuclei frequency and the decrease in the methylation levels of SEPT9 promoter region among CRC patients (β = -0.926, p = 0.0001). With regard to genotype analysis, we showed the involvement of the DHFR polymorphism (rs70991108) in SEPT9 promoter methylation level in CRC patients only. In particular, the presence of at least one 19 bp del allele significantly correlates with decreased SEPT9 promoter methylation, compared to the 19 bp ins/ins genotype (p = 0.007). While remaining aware of the strengths and limitations of the study, this represents the first evidence of a novel approach for the early detection of CRC, using SEPT9 promoter methylation, micronuclei frequency and genotypes, with the potential to improve CRC risk assessment.

Yang SY, Choi SA, Lee JY, et al.
miR-192 suppresses leptomeningeal dissemination of medulloblastoma by modulating cell proliferation and anchoring through the regulation of DHFR, integrins, and CD47.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(41):43712-30 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The main cause of death in medulloblastoma is recurrence associated with leptomeningeal dissemination. During this process, the role of microRNAs (miRs) in the acquisition of metastatic phenotype remains poorly understood. This study aimed to identify the miR involved in leptomeningeal dissemination and to elucidate its biological functional mechanisms.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We analyzed the miR expression profiles of 29 medulloblastomas according to the presence of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) seeding. Differentially expressed miRs (DEmiRs) were validated in 29 medulloblastoma tissues and three medulloblastoma cell lines. The biological functions of the selected miRs were evaluated using in vitro and in vivo studies.
RESULTS: A total of 12 DEmiRs were identified in medulloblastoma with seeding, including miR-192. The reduced expression of miR-192 was confirmed in the tumor seeding group and in the medulloblastoma cells. Overexpression of miR-192 inhibited cellular proliferation by binding DHFR. miR-192 decreased cellular anchoring via the repression of ITGAV, ITGB1, ITGB3, and CD47. Animals in the miR-192-treated group demonstrated a reduction of spinal seeding (P < 0.05) and a significant survival benefit (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Medulloblastoma with seeding showed specific DEmiRs compared with those without. miR-192 suppresses leptomeningeal dissemination of medulloblastoma by modulating cell proliferation and anchoring ability.

Kodidela S, Pradhan SC, Dubashi B, Basu D
Influence of dihydrofolate reductase gene polymorphisms rs408626 (-317A>G) and rs442767 (-680C>A) on the outcome of methotrexate-based maintenance therapy in South Indian patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2015; 71(11):1349-58 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: The most common cause of treatment failure in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is the relapse. Genetic polymorphisms of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) enzyme affect the response to methotrexate (MTX) treatment. Inter-individual variability exists in the distribution of DHFR variants, and they influence MTX treatment outcome. To the best of our knowledge, there are no genetic studies reported from India, which have explored the influence of DHFR variants on the outcome of MTX treatment. Therefore, we aim to study the influence of DHFR rs408626 (-317A>G) and rs442767 (-680C>A) variants on ALL outcome in South Indian patients.
METHODS: A total of 70 ALL patients who were on MTX-based maintenance therapy were recruited for the study. DNA was extracted from leukocytes, and genotyping was done by real-time PCR.
RESULTS: The DHFR-317GG genotype was associated with the increased risk of relapse in patients with ALL (relative risk 2.25, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.38 to 3.6, p = 0.02). DHFR-317AA and -680CA genotypes were found to be associated with severe leucopenia (p < 0.05). In Cox regression model, -317GG genotype was found to have lower relapse-free survival (hazard ratio (HR) 2.56, 95% CI 1.06 to 6.19, p = 0.03) and overall survival (HR 3.72, 95% CI 1.44 to 9.65, p = 0.007). Similarly, patients with white blood cell (WBC) count >50,000 cells/mm(3) were also found to have lower relapse-free survival (HR 2.20, 95% CI 1.10 to 4.79, p = 0.04) and overall survival (HR 3.30, 95% CI 1.45 to 7.53, p = 0.004).
CONCLUSION: The GG genotype of DHFR-317A>G variant is associated with increased risk of ALL relapse and lower overall survival in South Indian population. Both variants of DHFR (-317 AA and -680 CA) are found to be associated with severe leucopenia caused by MTX.

Kucharczyk T, Krawczyk P, Powrózek T, et al.
The Effectiveness of Pemetrexed Monotherapy Depending on Polymorphisms in TS and MTHFR Genes as Well as Clinical Factors in Advanced NSCLC Patients.
Pathol Oncol Res. 2016; 22(1):49-56 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In NSCLC, second-line chemotherapy using pemetrexed or docetaxel has limited efficacy and should be dedicated to selected groups of patients. Pemetrexed is an antifolate compound with the ability to inhibit enzymes (TS, DHFR and GARFT) involved in pyrimidine and purine synthesis. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between polymorphisms of TS and MHFR genes and clinical outcomes in NSCLC patients treated with pemetrexed monotherapy. DNA was isolated from peripheral blood of 72 non-squamous NSCLC patients treated with pemetrexed. Using PCR and RFLP methods, the variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR), the G > C SNP in these repeats and insertion/deletion polymorphism of TS gene as well as 677C > T SNP in MTHFR gene were analyzed and correlated with disease control rate, progression-free survival and overall survival (OS) of NSCLC patients. Carriers of 2R/3R(G), 3R(C)/3R(G), 3R(G)/3R(G) genotypes showed significantly more frequent early progression than carriers of 2R/2R, 2R/3R(C), 3R(C)/3R(C) genotypes of TS gene (p < 0.05). Among carriers of triple 28 bp tandem repeats (3R) in TS gene and C/C genotype of MTHFR gene a significantly shorter OS was observed (HR = 3.07; p = 0.003). In multivariate analysis, significantly higher risk of death was observed in carriers of both 3R/3R genotype in TS and C/C genotype in 677C > T SNP in MTHFR (HR = 3.85; p < 0.005) as well as in patients with short duration of response to first-line chemotherapy (HR = 2.09; p < 0.005). Results of our study suggested that genetic factors may have a high predictive and prognostic value (even greater than clinical factors) for patients treated with pemetrexed monotherapy.

Wang L, Wang YM, Xu S, et al.
MicroRNA-215 is upregulated by treatment with Adriamycin and leads to the chemoresistance of hepatocellular carcinoma cells and tissues.
Mol Med Rep. 2015; 12(4):5274-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
Non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs), involved in post-transcriptional control, are widely involved in the mechanism of cellular resistance to antitumor chemotherapy. Ectopic expression of one of these miRNAs, miRNA‑215 (miR‑215), leads to chemoresistance by directly targeting dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) and thymidylate synthase (TS), which are two of the most important targets of chemotherapeutic agents. This indicates the possible upregulation of endogenous miR‑215 in the process of chemoresistance by interfering with important transcripts. In the present study, the upregulation of miR‑215 was examined in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) subcell lines, Adriamycin (ADM)‑resistant HepG2 (HepG2/AR), Hep3B (Hep3B/AR) cell lines, and in ADM‑treated patients with HCC. Upregulated miR‑215 directly targeted DHFR and TS mRNA and reduced their protein expression levels, without altering mRNA levels. The ectopic expression of miR‑215 anti‑sense oligo‑nucleotides in HepG2/AR and Hep3B/AR cells enhanced chemosensitivity, whereas the expression of the miR‑215 mimics led to chemoresistance. Notably, the upregulation of miR‑215 indirectly increased the protein levels of P53 and P21 levels in the HepG2 cells, which contain functional P53, which is expected to result in the inhibition of proliferation and colony formation. Taken together, the present study demonstrated that the upregulation of miR‑215 resulting from ADM treatment in HCC cells leads to the development of insensitivity to ADM and worsens the prognosis of patients with HCC exhibiting mutated P53.

Cheng TY, Makar KW, Neuhouser ML, et al.
Folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism genes and interactions with nutritional factors on colorectal cancer risk: Women's Health Initiative Observational Study.
Cancer. 2015; 121(20):3684-91 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Investigations of folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism (FOCM) genes and gene-nutrient interactions with respect to colorectal cancer (CRC) risk are limited to candidate polymorphisms and dietary folate. This study comprehensively investigated associations between genetic variants in FOCM and CRC risk and whether the FOCM nutrient status modified these associations.
METHODS: Two hundred eighty-eight candidate and tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 30 FOCM genes were genotyped for 821 incident CRC case-control matched pairs in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study cohort. FOCM biomarkers (red blood cell [RBC] folate, plasma folate, pyridoxal-5'-phosphate [PLP], vitamin B12, and homocysteine) and self-reported alcohol consumption were measured at the baseline. Conditional logistic regression was implemented; effect modification was examined on the basis of known enzyme-nutrient relations.
RESULTS: Statistically significant associations were observed between CRC risk and functionally defined candidate SNPs of methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase 1 (MTHFD1; K134R), 5-methyltetrahydrofolate-homocysteine methyltransferase reductase (MTRR; P450R), and PR domain containing 2 with ZNF domain (PRDM2; S450N) and a literature candidate SNP of thymidylate synthase (TYMS; g.676789A>T; nominal P < .05). In addition, suggestive associations were noted for tagging SNPs in cystathionine-β-synthase (CBS), dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), DNA (cytosine-5-)-methyltransferase 3β (DNMT3B), methionine adenosyltransferase I α (MAT1A), MTHFD1, and MTRR (nominal P < .05; adjusted P, not significant). Significant interactions between nutrient biomarkers and candidate polymorphisms were observed for 1) plasma/RBC folate and folate hydrolase 1 (FOLH1), paraoxonase 1 (PON1), transcobalamin II (TCN2), DNMT1, and DNMT3B; 2) plasma PLP and TYMS TS3; 3) plasma B12 and betaine-homocysteine S-methyltransferase 2 (BHMT2); and 4) homocysteine and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) and alanyl-transfer RNA synthetase (AARS).
CONCLUSIONS: Genetic variants in FOCM genes are associated with CRC risk among postmenopausal women. FOCM nutrients continue to emerge as effect modifiers of genetic influences on CRC risk.

Jabeen S, Holmboe L, Alnæs GI, et al.
Impact of genetic variants of RFC1, DHFR and MTHFR in osteosarcoma patients treated with high-dose methotrexate.
Pharmacogenomics J. 2015; 15(5):385-90 [PubMed] Related Publications
Osteosarcoma patients are commonly treated with high doses of methotrexate (MTX). MTX is an analog of folate, which is essential for DNA synthesis. Genetic polymorphism at single nucleotide can be indicative to the prognostic outcome in patients. Germ-line variants in candidate genes, coding for enzymes active in the metabolism of MTX, were studied in 62 osteosarcoma patients. Patients harboring the GG genotype in reduced folate carrier 1 (RFC1) rs1051266 had significantly better survival in comparison with patients having the AA genotype (P=0.046). These patients also had a lower frequency of metastasis (15%, P=0.029). Also patients homozygous for the G allele of rs1053129 in the dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) gene were more likely to have a metastasis (45%, P= 0.005), and the methylenetetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) 677C allele was associated with higher degree of liver toxicity (88%, P=0.007). The study suggests that germ-line variants in the MTX metabolic pathway are associated with survival and side effects in patients treated with MTX.

Neradil J, Pavlasova G, Sramek M, et al.
DHFR-mediated effects of methotrexate in medulloblastoma and osteosarcoma cells: the same outcome of treatment with different doses in sensitive cell lines.
Oncol Rep. 2015; 33(5):2169-75 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Although methotrexate (MTX) is the most well-known antifolate included in many standard therapeutic regimens, substantial toxicity limits its wider use, particularly in pediatric oncology. Our study focused on a detailed analysis of MTX effects in cell lines derived from two types of pediatric solid tumors: medulloblastoma and osteosarcoma. The main aim of this study was to analyze the effects of treatment with MTX at concentrations comparable to MTX plasma levels in patients treated with high-dose or low-dose MTX. The results showed that treatment with MTX significantly decreased proliferation activity, inhibited the cell cycle at S-phase and induced apoptosis in Daoy and Saos-2 reference cell lines, which were found to be MTX-sensitive. Furthermore, no difference in these effects was observed following treatment with various doses of MTX ranging from 1 to 40 µM. These findings suggest the possibility of achieving the same outcome with the application of low-dose MTX, an extremely important result, particularly for clinical practice. Another important aspect of treatment with high-dose MTX in clinical practice is the administration of leucovorin (LV) as an antidote to reduce MTX toxicity in normal cells. For this reason, the combined application of MTX and LV was also included in our experiments; however, this application of MTX together with LV did not elicit any detectable effect. The expression analysis of genes involved in the mechanisms of resistance to MTX was a final component of our study, and the results helped us to elucidate the mechanisms of the various responses to MTX among the cell lines included in our study.

Meng X, Qi X, Guo H, et al.
Novel role for non-homologous end joining in the formation of double minutes in methotrexate-resistant colon cancer cells.
J Med Genet. 2015; 52(2):135-44 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Gene amplification is a frequent manifestation of genomic instability that plays a role in tumour progression and development of drug resistance. It is manifested cytogenetically as extrachromosomal double minutes (DMs) or intrachromosomal homogeneously staining regions (HSRs). To better understand the molecular mechanism by which HSRs and DMs are formed and how they relate to the development of methotrexate (MTX) resistance, we used two model systems of MTX-resistant HT-29 colon cancer cell lines harbouring amplified DHFR primarily in (i) HSRs and (ii) DMs.
RESULTS: In DM-containing cells, we found increased expression of non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) proteins. Depletion or inhibition of DNA-PKcs, a key NHEJ protein, caused decreased DHFR amplification, disappearance of DMs, increased formation of micronuclei or nuclear buds, which correlated with the elimination of DHFR, and increased sensitivity to MTX. These findings indicate for the first time that NHEJ plays a specific role in DM formation, and that increased MTX sensitivity of DM-containing cells depleted of DNA-PKcs results from DHFR elimination. Conversely, in HSR-containing cells, we found no significant change in the expression of NHEJ proteins. Depletion of DNA-PKcs had no effect on DHFR amplification and resulted in only a modest increase in sensitivity to MTX. Interestingly, both DM-containing and HSR-containing cells exhibited decreased proliferation upon DNA-PKcs depletion.
CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate a novel specific role for NHEJ in the formation of DMs, but not HSRs, in MTX-resistant cells, and that NHEJ may be targeted for the treatment of MTX-resistant colon cancer.

Oberst MD, Fuhrmann S, Mulgrew K, et al.
CEA/CD3 bispecific antibody MEDI-565/AMG 211 activation of T cells and subsequent killing of human tumors is independent of mutations commonly found in colorectal adenocarcinomas.
MAbs. 2014; 6(6):1571-84 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Individual or combinations of somatic mutations found in genes from colorectal cancers can redirect the effects of chemotherapy and targeted agents on cancer cell survival and, consequently, on clinical outcome. Novel therapeutics with mechanisms of action that are independent of mutational status would therefore fulfill a current unmet clinical need. Here the CEA and CD3 bispecific single-chain antibody MEDI-565 (also known as MT111 and AMG 211) was evaluated for its ability to activate T cells both in vitro and in vivo and to kill human tumor cell lines harboring various somatic mutations commonly found in colorectal cancers. MEDI-565 specifically bound to normal and malignant tissues in a CEA-specific manner, and only killed CEA positive cells. The BiTE® antibody construct mediated T cell-directed killing of CEA positive tumor cells within 6 hours, at low effector-to-target ratios which were independent of high concentrations of soluble CEA. The potency of in vitro lysis was dependent on CEA antigen density but independent of the mutational status in cancer cell lines. Importantly, individual or combinations of mutated KRAS and BRAF oncogenes, activating PI3KCA mutations, loss of PTEN expression, and loss-of-function mutations in TP53 did not reduce the activity in vitro. MEDI-565 also prevented growth of human xenograft tumors which harbored various mutations. These findings suggest that MEDI-565 represents a potential treatment option for patients with CEA positive tumors of diverse origin, including those with individual or combinations of somatic mutations that may be less responsive to chemotherapy and other targeted agents.

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