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Cancer Res. 2010 Apr 15;70(8):3351-60. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-4235.

Cancer inhibition through circadian reprogramming of tumor transcriptome with meal timing.

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INSERM U776, Rythmes Biologiques et Cancers, Hôpital Paul Brousse, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Unité de Chronothérapie, Département d'Oncologie Médicale, Hôpital Paul Brousse, Villejuif, France.


Circadian disruption accelerates cancer progression, whereas circadian reinforcement could halt it. Mice with P03 pancreatic adenocarcinoma (n = 77) were synchronized and fed ad libitum (AL) or with meal timing (MT) from Zeitgeber time (ZT) 2 to ZT6 with normal or fat diet. Tumor gene expression profiling was determined with DNA microarrays at endogenous circadian time (CT) 4 and CT16. Circadian mRNA expression patterns were determined for clock genes Rev-erbalpha, Per2, and Bmal1, cellular stress genes Hspa8 and Cirbp, and cyclin A2 gene Ccna2 in liver and tumor. The 24-hour patterns in telemetered rest-activity and body temperature and plasma corticosterone and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) were assessed. We showed that MT inhibited cancer growth by approximately 40% as compared with AL (P = 0.011) irrespective of calorie intake. Clock gene transcription remained arrhythmic in tumors irrespective of feeding schedule or diet. Yet, MT upregulated or downregulated the expression of 423 tumor genes, according to CT. Moreover, 36 genes involved in cellular stress, cell cycle, and metabolism were upregulated at one CT and downregulated 12 h apart. MT induced >10-fold circadian expression of Hspa8, Cirbp, and Ccna2 in tumors. Corticosterone or IGF-I patterns played no role in tumor growth inhibition. In contrast, MT consistently doubled the circadian amplitude of body temperature. Peak and trough respectively corresponded to peak expressions of Hspa8 and Cirbp in tumors. The reinforcement of the host circadian timing system with MT induced 24-hour rhythmic expression of critical genes in clock-deficient tumors, which translated into cancer growth inhibition. Targeting circadian clocks represents a novel potential challenge for cancer therapeutics.

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