Transformation resistance in a premature aging disorder identifies a tumor-protective function of BRD4

Abstract

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.

Journal details

Journal Cell Reports
Volume 9
Issue number 1
Pages 248-260
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Crick First author
Crick Corresponding author