Aberrant reactivation of embryonic pathways occurs commonly in cancer. The transcription factor RUNX2 plays a fundamental role during embryogenesis and is aberrantly reactivated during progression and metastasization of different types of human tumors. In this study, we attempted to dissect the molecular mechanisms governing RUNX2 expression and its aberrant reactivation. We identified a new regulatory enhancer element, located within the RUNX2 gene, which is responsible for the activation of the RUNX2 promoter and for the regulation of its expression in cancer cells. Furthermore, we have shown that treatment with the anticancer compounds histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) results in a profound inhibition of RUNX2 expression, which is determined by the disruption of the transcription-activating complex on the identified enhancer. These data envisage a possible targeting strategy to counteract the oncongenic function of RUNX2 in cancer cells and provide evidence that the cytotoxic activity of HDACi in cancer is not only dependent on the reactivation of silenced oncosuppressors but also on the repression of oncogenic factors that are necessary for survival and progression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research