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Cancer Res. 2016 Dec 1;76(23):7012-7023. Epub 2016 Oct 10.

Genetic Polymorphisms in the Long Noncoding RNA MIR2052HG Offer a Pharmacogenomic Basis for the Response of Breast Cancer Patients to Aromatase Inhibitor Therapy.

Author information

Division of Medical Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
Baylor Breast Center, Houston, Texas.
Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts.
Canadian Cancer Trials Group, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Science, Yokohama, Japan.
University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
Sunnybrook Odette Regional Cancer Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics, Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
Division of Medical Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.


Genetic risks in breast cancer remain only partly understood. Here, we report the results of a genome-wide association study of germline DNA from 4,658 women, including 252 women experiencing a breast cancer recurrence, who were entered on the MA.27 adjuvant trial comparing the aromatase inhibitors (AI) anastrozole and exemestane. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) of top significance were identified in the gene encoding MIR2052HG, a long noncoding RNA of unknown function. Heterozygous or homozygous individuals for variant alleles exhibited a ∼40% or ∼63% decrease, respectively, in the hazard of breast cancer recurrence relative to homozygous wild-type individuals. Functional genomic studies in lymphoblastoid cell lines and ERα-positive breast cancer cell lines showed that expression from MIR2052HG and the ESR1 gene encoding estrogen receptor-α (ERα) was induced by estrogen and AI in a SNP-dependent manner. Variant SNP genotypes exhibited increased ERα binding to estrogen response elements, relative to wild-type genotypes, a pattern that was reversed by AI treatment. Further, variant SNPs were associated with lower expression of MIR2052HG and ERα. RNAi-mediated silencing of MIR2052HG in breast cancer cell lines decreased ERα expression, cell proliferation, and anchorage-independent colony formation. Mechanistic investigations revealed that MIR2052HG sustained ERα levels both by promoting AKT/FOXO3-mediated ESR1 transcription and by limiting ubiquitin-mediated, proteasome-dependent degradation of ERα. Taken together, our results define MIR2052HS as a functionally polymorphic gene that affects risks of breast cancer recurrence in women treated with AI. More broadly, our results offer a pharmacogenomic basis to understand differences in the response of breast cancer patients to AI therapy. Cancer Res; 76(23); 7012-23.

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