Endonuclease FEN1 Coregulates ERα Activity and Provides a Novel Drug Interface in Tamoxifen-Resistant Breast Cancer.


Estrogen receptor α (ERα) is a key transcriptional regulator in the majority of breast cancers. ERα-positive patients are frequently treated with tamoxifen, but resistance is common. In this study, we refined a previously identified 111-gene outcome prediction-classifier, revealing FEN1 as the strongest determining factor in ERα-positive patient prognostication. FEN1 levels were predictive of outcome in tamoxifen-treated patients, and FEN1 played a causal role in ERα-driven cell growth. FEN1 impacted the transcriptional activity of ERα by facilitating coactivator recruitment to the ERα transcriptional complex. FEN1 blockade induced proteasome-mediated degradation of activated ERα, resulting in loss of ERα-driven gene expression and eradicated tumor cell proliferation. Finally, a high-throughput 465,195 compound screen identified a novel FEN1 inhibitor, which effectively blocked ERα function and inhibited proliferation of tamoxifen-resistant cell lines as well as ex vivo-cultured ERα-positive breast tumors. Collectively, these results provide therapeutic proof of principle for FEN1 blockade in tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer. SIGNIFICANCE: These findings show that pharmacologic inhibition of FEN1, which is predictive of outcome in tamoxifen-treated patients, effectively blocks ERα function and inhibits proliferation of tamoxifen-resistant tumor cells.

More about this publication

Cancer research
  • Volume 80
  • Issue nr. 10
  • Pages 1914-1926
  • Publication date 15-05-2020

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