Epigenetic modifications of prostate-derived Ets transcription factor in breast cancer cells

Yamini Sabherwal, Nitin Mahajan, Ming Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The importance of epigenetic alterations such as DNA methylation, histone modification and nucleosome remodeling in breast cancer is well established. Epigenetic alterations are reversible, and much research has been focused on understanding these alterations with the aim of developing effective therapies. Prostate-derived Ets factor (PDEF) is a member of the Ets family of transcription factors and has long been under investigation for its key role in tumor development and progression. To date, no studies have been conducted to elucidate the epigenetic modifications of PDEF in cancer progression. Using breast and prostate cancer cells, we investigated the effect of the methylation inhibitor 5' azacytidine (AZA) on the expression of PDEF in these cells. The inhibition of methylation observed was specific to breast cancer cells as experiments with prostate cells did not exhibit any significant change. Notably, the expression of p21, a cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor 1 and also a target gene of PDEF, was found to be positively correlated with PDEF expression following 5'AZA treatment. Inhibition of methylation led to a decrease in the proliferation rate of MDA-MB-468 cells as revealed by MTT proliferation assay. Other epigenetic alterations such as histone modifications were not observed in these breast cancer cells following treatment with specific HDAC inhibitors. Our data suggest the possibility of epigenetic modification of PDEF due to DNA methylation and involvement of the cell cycle inhibitor p21. Future studies on the epigenetic alterations of PDEF in correlation with p21 or other targets may facilitate the development of effective therapies for the treatment of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1985-1988
Number of pages4
JournalOncology reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Breast cancer
  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetics
  • P21
  • Prostate-derived Ets factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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