Transformation resistance in a premature aging disorder identifies a tumor-protective function of BRD4
Authors listPatricia Fernandez Paola Scaffidi Elke Markert Ji-Hyeon Lee Sushil Rane Tom Misteli
Advanced age and DNA damage accumulation are prominent risk factors for cancer. The premature aging disorder Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) provides a unique opportunity for studying the interplay between DNA damage and aging-associated tumor mechanisms, given that HGPS patients do not develop tumors despite elevated levels of DNA damage. Here, we have used HGPS patient cells to identify a protective mechanism to oncogenesis. We find that HGPS cells are resistant to neoplastic transformation. Resistance is mediated by the bromodomain protein BRD4, which exhibits altered genome-wide binding patterns in transformation-resistant cells, leading to inhibition of oncogenic dedifferentiation. BRD4 also inhibits, albeit to a lower extent, the tumorigenic potential of transformed cells from healthy individuals. BRD4-mediated tumor protection is clinically relevant given that a BRD4 gene signature predicts positive clinical outcome in breast and lung cancer. Our results demonstrate a protective function for BRD4 and suggest tissue-specific roles for BRD4 in tumorigenesis.