• The role of histone protein modifications and mutations in histone modifiers in pediatric b-cell progenitor acute lymphoblastic leukemia

      Janczar, Szymon; Janczar, Karolina; Pastorczak, Agata; Harb, Hani; Paige, Adam J.W.; Zalewska-Szewczyk, Beata; Danilewicz, Marian; Mlynarski, Wojciech; Medical University of Lodz; Philipps University Marburg; et al. (MDPI, 2017-01-03)
      While cancer has been long recognized as a disease of the genome, the importance of epigenetic mechanisms in neoplasia was acknowledged more recently. The most active epigenetic marks are DNA methylation and histone protein modifications and they are involved in basic biological phenomena in every cell. Their role in tumorigenesis is stressed by recent unbiased large-scale studies providing evidence that several epigenetic modifiers are recurrently mutated or frequently dysregulated in multiple cancers. The interest in epigenetic marks is especially due to the fact that they are potentially reversible and thus druggable. In B-cell progenitor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL) there is a relative paucity of reports on the role of histone protein modifications (acetylation, methylation, phosphorylation) as compared to acute myeloid leukemia, T-cell ALL, or other hematologic cancers, and in this setting chromatin modifications are relatively less well studied and reviewed than DNA methylation. In this paper, we discuss the biomarker associations and evidence for a driver role of dysregulated global and loci-specific histone marks, as well as mutations in epigenetic modifiers in BCP-ALL. Examples of chromatin modifiers recurrently mutated/disrupted in BCP-ALL and associated with disease outcomes include MLL1, CREBBP, NSD2, and SETD2. Altered histone marks and histone modifiers and readers may play a particular role in disease chemoresistance and relapse. We also suggest that epigenetic regulation of B-cell differentiation may have parallel roles in leukemogenesis.
    • WWOX sensitises ovarian cancer cells to paclitaxel via modulation of the ER stress response

      Janczar, Szymon; Nautiyal, Jaya; Xiao, Yi; Curry, Edward; Sun, Mingjun; Zanini, Elisa; Paige, Adam J.W.; Gabra, Hani; Imperial College London; Medical University of Lodz; et al. (Springer Nature, 2017-07-27)
      There are clear gaps in our understanding of genes and pathways through which cancer cells facilitate survival strategies as they become chemoresistant. Paclitaxel is used in the treatment of many cancers, but development of drug resistance is common. Along with being an antimitotic agent paclitaxel also activates endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Here, we examine the role of WWOX (WW domain containing oxidoreductase), a gene frequently lost in several cancers, in mediating paclitaxel response. We examine the ER stress-mediated apoptotic response to paclitaxel in WWOX-transfected epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) cells and following siRNA knockdown of WWOX. We show that WWOX-induced apoptosis following exposure of EOC cells to paclitaxel is related to ER stress and independent of the antimitotic action of taxanes. The apoptotic response to ER stress induced by WWOX re-expression could be reversed by WWOX siRNA in EOC cells. We report that paclitaxel treatment activates both the IRE-1 and PERK kinases and that the increase in paclitaxel-mediated cell death through WWOX is dependent on active ER stress pathway. Log-rank analysis of overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) in two prominent EOC microarray data sets (Tothill and The Cancer Genome Atlas), encompassing ~800 patients in total, confirmed clinical relevance to our findings. High WWOX mRNA expression predicted longer OS and PFS in patients treated with paclitaxel, but not in patients who were treated with only cisplatin. The association of WWOX and survival was dependent on the expression level of glucose-related protein 78 (GRP78), a key ER stress marker in paclitaxel-treated patients. We conclude that WWOX sensitises EOC to paclitaxel via ER stress-induced apoptosis, and predicts clinical outcome in patients. Thus, ER stress response mechanisms could be targeted to overcome chemoresistance in cancer.