Collections > UNC Scholarly Publications > BioMed Central > Identification of Jun loss promotes resistance to histone deacetylase inhibitor entinostat through Myc signaling in luminal breast cancer

Abstract Background Based on promising phase II data, the histone deacetylase inhibitor entinostat is in phase III trials for patients with metastatic estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. Predictors of sensitivity and resistance, however, remain unknown. Methods A total of eight cell lines and nine mouse models of breast cancer were treated with entinostat. Luminal cell lines were treated with or without entinostat at their IC50 doses, and MMTV/Neu luminal mouse tumors were untreated or treated with entinostat until progression. We investigated these models using their gene expression profiling by microarray and copy number by arrayCGH. We also utilized the network-based DawnRank algorithm that integrates DNA and RNA data to identify driver genes of resistance. The impact of candidate drivers was investigated in The Cancer Genome Atlas and METABRIC breast cancer datasets. Results Luminal models displayed enhanced sensitivity to entinostat as compared to basal-like or claudin-low models. Both in vitro and in vivo luminal models showed significant downregulation of Myc gene signatures following entinostat treatment. Myc gene signatures became upregulated on tumor progression in vivo and overexpression of Myc conferred resistance to entinostat in vitro. Further examination of resistance mechanisms in MMTV/Neu tumors identified a portion of mouse chromosome 4 that had DNA copy number loss and low gene expression. Within this region, Jun was computationally identified to be a driver gene of resistance. Jun knockdown in cell lines resulted in upregulation of Myc signatures and made these lines more resistant to entinostat. Jun-deleted samples, found in 17–23% of luminal patients, had significantly higher Myc signature scores that predicted worse survival. Conclusions Entinostat inhibited luminal breast cancer through Myc signaling, which was upregulated by Jun DNA loss to promote resistance to entinostat in our models. Jun DNA copy number loss, and/or high MYC signatures, might represent biomarkers for entinostat responsiveness in luminal breast cancer.