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Oncogene. 2012 Apr 19;31(16):2090-100. doi: 10.1038/onc.2011.386. Epub 2011 Sep 5.

An integrated genomic approach identifies ARID1A as a candidate tumor-suppressor gene in breast cancer.

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Department of Oncology, Lady Davis Institute, Sir Mortimer B Davis Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, Montreal, Qu├ębec, Canada.


Tumor-suppressor genes (TSGs) have been classically defined as genes whose loss of function in tumor cells contributes to the formation and/or maintenance of the tumor phenotype. TSGs containing nonsense mutations may not be expressed because of nonsense-mediated RNA decay (NMD). We combined inhibition of the NMD process, which clears transcripts that contain nonsense mutations, with the application of high-density single-nucleotide polymorphism arrays analysis to discriminate allelic content in order to identify candidate TSGs in five breast cancer cell lines. We identified ARID1A as a target of NMD in the T47D breast cancer cell line, likely as a consequence of a mutation in exon-9, which introduces a premature stop codon at position Q944. ARID1A encodes a human homolog of yeast SWI1, which is an integral member of the hSWI/SNF complex, an ATP-dependent, chromatin-remodeling, multiple-subunit enzyme. Although we did not find any somatic mutations in 11 breast tumors, which show DNA copy-number loss at the 1p36 locus adjacent to ARID1A, we show that low ARID1A RNA or nuclear protein expression is associated with more aggressive breast cancer phenotypes, such as high tumor grade, in two independent cohorts of over 200 human breast cancer cases each. We also found that low ARID1A nuclear expression becomes more prevalent during the later stages of breast tumor progression. Finally, we found that ARID1A re-expression in the T47D cell line results in significant inhibition of colony formation in soft agar. These results suggest that ARID1A may be a candidate TSG in breast cancer.

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