SMARCB1/INI1 genetic inactivation is responsible for tumorigenic properties of epithelioid sarcoma cell line VAESBJ

Monica Brenca, Sabrina Rossi, Erica Lorenzetto, Elena Piccinin, Sara Piccinin, Francesca Maria Rossi, Alberto Giuliano, Angelo Paolo Dei Tos, Roberta Maestro, Piergiorgio Modena

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Epithelioid sarcoma is a rare soft tissue neoplasm that usually arises in the distal extremities of young adults. Epithelioid sarcoma presents a high rate of recurrences and metastases and frequently poses diagnostic dilemmas. We previously reported loss of tumor suppressor SMARCB1 protein expression and SMARCB1 gene deletion in the majority of epithelioid sarcoma cases. Unfortunately, no appropriate preclinical models of such genetic alteration in epithelioid sarcoma are available. In the present report, we identified lack of SMARCB1 protein due to a homozygous deletion of exon 1 and upstream regulatory region in epithelioid sarcoma cell line VAESBJ. Restoration of SMARCB1 expression significantly affected VAESBJ cell proliferation, anchorage-independent growth, and cell migration properties, thus supporting the causative role of SMARCB1 loss in epithelioid sarcoma pathogenesis. We investigated the translational relevance of this genetic background in epithelioid sarcoma and showed that SMARCB1 ectopic expression significantly augmented VAESBJ sensitivity to gamma irradiation and acted synergistically with flavopiridol treatment. In VAESBJ, both activated ERBB1/EGFR and HGFR/MET impinged on AKT and ERK phosphorylation. We showed a synergistic effect of combined inhibition of these 2 receptor tyrosine kinases using selective small-molecule inhibitors on cell proliferation. These observations provide definitive support to the role of SMARCB1 inactivation in the pathogenesis of epithelioid sarcoma and disclose novel clues to therapeutic approaches tailored to SMARCB1-negative epithelioid sarcoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1060-1072
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Cancer Therapeutics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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