Coinhibition of topoisomerase 1 and BRD4-mediated pause release selectively kills pancreatic cancer via readthrough transcription.

Cameron DP, Grosser J, Ladigan S, Kuzin V, Iliopoulou E, Wiegard A, Benredjem H, Jackson K, Liffers ST, Lueong S, Cheung PF, Vangala D, Pohl M, Viebahn R, Teschendorf C, Wolters H, Usta S, Geng K, Kutter C, Arsenian-Henriksson M, Siveke JT, Tannapfel A, Schmiegel W, Hahn SA, Baranello L

Sci Adv 9 (41) eadg5109 [2023-10-13; online 2023-10-13]

Pancreatic carcinoma lacks effective therapeutic strategies resulting in poor prognosis. Transcriptional dysregulation due to alterations in KRAS and MYC affects initiation, development, and survival of this tumor type. Using patient-derived xenografts of KRAS- and MYC-driven pancreatic carcinoma, we show that coinhibition of topoisomerase 1 (TOP1) and bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4) synergistically induces tumor regression by targeting promoter pause release. Comparing the nascent transcriptome with the recruitment of elongation and termination factors, we found that coinhibition of TOP1 and BRD4 disrupts recruitment of transcription termination factors. Thus, RNA polymerases transcribe downstream of genes for hundreds of kilobases leading to readthrough transcription. This occurs during replication, perturbing replisome progression and inducing DNA damage. The synergistic effect of TOP1 + BRD4 inhibition is specific to cancer cells leaving normal cells unaffected, highlighting the tumor's vulnerability to transcriptional defects. This preclinical study provides a mechanistic understanding of the benefit of combining TOP1 and BRD4 inhibitors to treat pancreatic carcinomas addicted to oncogenic drivers of transcription and replication.

Claudia Kutter

SciLifeLab Fellow

PubMed 37831776

DOI 10.1126/sciadv.adg5109

Crossref 10.1126/sciadv.adg5109

pmc: PMC10575591

Publications 9.5.0