Genetic and epigenetic variants contributing to clofarabine cytotoxicity

Michael T. Eadon, Heather E. Wheeler, Amy L. Stark, Xu Zhang, Erika L. Moen, Shannon M. Delaney, Hae Kyung Im, Patrick N. Cunningham, Wei Zhang, Eileen E. Dolan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


2-chloro-2-fluoro-deoxy-9-D-arabinofuranosyladenine (Clofarabine), a purine nucleoside analog, is used in the treatment of hematologic malignancies and as induction therapy for stem cell transplantation. The discovery of pharmacogenomic markers associated with chemotherapeutic efficacy and toxicity would greatly benefit the utility of this drug. Our objective was to identify genetic and epigenetic variants associated with clofarabine toxicity using an unbiased, whole genome approach. To this end, we employed International HapMap lymphoblastoid cell lines (190 LCLs) of European (CEU) or African (YRI) ancestry with known genetic information to evaluate cellular sensitivity to clofarabine. We measured modified cytosine levels to ascertain the contribution of genetic and epigenetic factors influencing clofarabine-mediated cytotoxicity. Association studies revealed 182 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 143 modified cytosines associated with cytotoxicity in both populations at the threshold P ≤ 0.0001. Correlation between cytotoxicity and baseline gene expression revealed 234 genes at P ≤ 3.98 × 10-6. Six genes were implicated as: (i) their expression was directly correlated to cytotoxicity, (ii) they had a targeting SNP associated with cytotoxicity, and (iii) they had local modified cytosines associated with gene expression and cytotoxicity.We identified a set of three SNPs and three CpG sites targeting these six genes explaining 43.1% of the observed variation in phenotype. siRNA knockdown of the top three genes (SETBP1, BAG3, KLHL6) in LCLs revealed altered susceptibility to clofarabine, confirming relevance. As clofarabine's toxicity profile includes acute kidney injury, we examined the effect of siRNA knockdown in HEK293 cells. siSETBP1 led to a significant change in HEK293 cell susceptibility to clofarabine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4007-4020
Number of pages14
JournalHuman molecular genetics
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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