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Am J Pathol. 2004 Aug;165(2):651-7.

Functional defects in the fanconi anemia pathway in pancreatic cancer cells.

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Department of Oncology, Rm. 464, Cancer Research Building, 1650 Orleans St., Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21231, USA.


Biallelic BRCA2-mutations can cause Fanconi anemia and are found in approximately 7% of pancreatic cancers. Recently, several sequence changes in FANCC and FANCG were reported in pancreatic cancer. Functional defects in the Fanconi pathway can result in a marked hypersensitivity to interstrand crosslinking agents, such as mitomycin C. The functional implications of mutations in the Fanconi pathway in cancer have not been fully studied yet; these studies are needed to pave the way for clinical trials of treatment with crosslinking agents of Fanconi-defective cancers. The competence of the proximal Fanconi pathway was screened in 21 pancreatic cancer cell lines by an assay of Fancd2 monoubiquitination using a Fancd2 immunoblot. The pancreatic cancer cell lines Hs766T and PL11 were defective in Fancd2 monoubiquitination. In PL11, this defect led to the identification of a large homozygous deletion in FANCC, the first cancer cell line found to be FANCC-null. The Fanconi-defective cell lines Hs766T, PL11, and CAPAN1 were hypersensitive to the crosslinking agent mitomycin C and some to cis-platin, as measured by cell survival assays and G(2)/M cell-cycle arrest. These results support the practical exploration of crosslinking agents for non-Fanconi anemia patients that have tumors defective in the Fanconi pathway.

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