An in vivo genome-wide shRNA screen identifies BCL6 as a targetable biomarker of paclitaxel resistance in breast cancer

Mol Oncol. 2021 May 1. doi: 10.1002/1878-0261.12964. Online ahead of print.


Paclitaxel is a common breast cancer drug; however, some tumors are resistant. The identification of biomarkers for paclitaxel resistance or sensitivity would enable the development of strategies to improve treatment efficacy. A genome-wide in vivo shRNA screen was performed on paclitaxel-treated mice with MDA MB 231 tumors to identify genes associated with paclitaxel sensitivity or resistance. Gene expression of the top screen hits was associated with tumor response (resistance or sensitivity) among patients that received neoadjuvant chemotherapy containing paclitaxel. We focused our validation on screen hit B cell lymphoma 6 (BCL6), which is a therapeutic target in cancer but for which no effects on drug response have been reported. Knockdown of BCL6 resulted in increased tumor regression in mice treated with paclitaxel. Similarly, inhibiting BCL6 using a small molecule inhibitor enhanced paclitaxel treatment efficacy both in vitro and in vivo in breast cancer models. Mechanism studies revealed that reduced BCL6 enhances the efficacy of paclitaxel by inducing sustained G1/S arrest, concurrent with increased apoptosis and expression of target gene cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor 1A (CDKN1A). In summary, the genome-wide shRNA knockdown screen has identified BCL6 as a potential targetable resistance biomarker of paclitaxel response in breast cancer.

PMID:33932086 | DOI:10.1002/1878-0261.12964