Molecular Carcinogenesis 2021 April 19 [Link]

Geraldine Ezeka, Gautam Adhikary, Sivaveera Kandasamy, Joseph S Friedberg, Richard L Eckert


Mesothelioma is a highly aggressive cancer of the mesothelial lining that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Surgical resection followed by chemotherapy is the current treatment strategy, but this is marginally successful and leads to drug-resistant disease. We are interested in factors that maintain the aggressive mesothelioma cancer phenotype as therapy targets. Protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) functions in concert with the methylosome protein 50 (MEP50) cofactor to catalyze symmetric dimethylation of key arginine resides in histones 3 and 4 which modifies the chromatin environment to alter tumor suppressor and oncogene expression and enhance cancer cell survival. Our studies show that PRMT5 or MEP50 loss reduces H4R3me2s formation and that this is associated with reduced cancer cell spheroid formation, invasion, and migration. Treatment with sulforaphane (SFN), a diet-derived anticancer agent, reduces PRMT5/MEP50 level and H4R3me2s formation and suppresses the cancer phenotype. We further show that SFN treatment reduces PRMT5 and MEP50 levels and that this reduction is required for SFN suppression of the cancer phenotype. SFN treatment also reduces tumor formation which is associated with reduced PRMT5/MEP50 expression and activity. These findings suggest that SFN may be a useful mesothelioma treatment agent that operates, at least in part, via suppression of PRMT5/MEP50 function.