Genome-wide siRNA screens identify RBBP9 function as a potential target in Fanconi anaemia-deficient head-and-neck squamous cell carcinoma.


Fanconi anaemia (FA) is a rare chromosomal-instability syndrome caused by mutations of any of the 22 known FA DNA-repair genes. FA individuals have an increased risk of head-and-neck squamous-cell-carcinomas (HNSCC), often fatal. Systemic intolerance to standard cisplatin-based protocols due to somatic-cell hypersensitivity underscores the urgent need to develop novel therapies. Here, we performed unbiased siRNA screens to unveil genetic interactions synthetic-lethal with FA-pathway deficiency in FA-patient HNSCC cell lines. We identified based on differential-lethality scores between FA-deficient and FA-proficient cells, next to common-essential genes such as PSMC1, PSMB2, and LAMTOR2, the otherwise non-essential RBBP9 gene. Accordingly, low dose of the FDA-approved RBBP9-targeting drug Emetine kills FA-HNSCC. Importantly both RBBP9-silencing as well as Emetine spared non-tumour FA cells. This study provides a minable genome-wide analyses of vulnerabilities to address treatment challenges in FA-HNSCC. Our investigation divulges a DNA-cross-link-repair independent lead, RBBP9, for targeted treatment of FA-HNSCCs without systemic toxicity.

More about this publication

Communications biology
  • Volume 6
  • Issue nr. 1
  • Pages 37
  • Publication date 13-01-2023

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