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Neoplasia. 2007 Jul;9(7):601-13.

The ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2-EPF is overexpressed in primary breast cancer and modulates sensitivity to topoisomerase II inhibition.

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Department of Cancer Research, Berlex Biosciences, Richmond, CA 94804, USA.


We identified the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2-EPF mRNA as differentially expressed in breast tumors relative to normal tissues and performed studies to elucidate its putative role in cancer. We demonstrated that overexpression of E2-EPF protein correlated with estrogen receptor (ER) negativity in breast cancer specimens and that its expression is cell cycle-regulated, suggesting a potential function for E2-EPF in cell cycle progression. However, reduction of E2-EPF protein levels by > 80% using RNAi had no significant effects on the proliferation of HeLa cervical cancer cells or ER(-) MDA-MB-231 or MDA-MB-453 breast cancer cells. Because E2-EPF protein levels were elevated during the G(2)/M phase of the cell cycle and because E2-EPF mRNA in tumor specimens was frequently coexpressed with genes involved in cell cycle control, spindle assembly, and mitotic surveillance, the possibility that E2-EPF might have a function in the cellular response to agents that induce a G(2) checkpoint or an M checkpoint was investigated. E2-EPF knockdown sensitized HeLa cells to the topoisomerase (topo) II inhibitors etoposide and doxorubicin and also increased topo IIalpha protein levels. These data suggest that combined administration of topo II-directed drugs and E2-EPF inhibitors may enhance their clinical effectiveness.

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