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Nicotinamide N-methyltransferase enhances chemoresistance in breast cancer through SIRT1 protein stabilization.

Breast cancer research : BCR (2019-05-19)
Yanzhong Wang, Jin Zeng, Weiping Wu, Shuduo Xie, Haitao Yu, Guoli Li, Tao Zhu, Fengying Li, Jie Lu, Gavin Y Wang, Xinyou Xie, Jun Zhang

Nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT) is overexpressed in various human tumors and involved in the development and progression of several carcinomas. In breast cancer, NNMT was found to be overexpressed in several cell lines. However, the clinical relevance of NNMT in breast cancer is not yet clear. NNMT expression in breast carcinoma was examined by immunohistochemistry, and then, its relationship with patient clinicopathological characteristics was analyzed. The effects of NNMT on chemoresistance in breast cancer cells were assessed by cell viability, colony formation, and apoptosis assay. The NNMT, SIRT1, p53, and acetyl-p53 proteins, which are involved in NNMT-related chemoresistance, were examined by Western blotting. The SIRT1 mRNA was examined by real-time PCR, and its activity was measured by using the SIRT1 deacetylase fluorometric reagent kit. NNMT expression was significantly higher (53.9%) in breast carcinoma than in paracancerous tissues (10.0%) and breast hyperplasia (13.3%). A high level of NNMT expression correlated with poor survival and chemotherapy response in breast cancer patients who received chemotherapy. Ectopic overexpression of NNMT significantly inhibited the apoptotic cell death and suppression of colony formation induced by adriamycin and paclitaxel. Mechanistic studies revealed that NNMT overexpression increased SIRT1 expression and promoted its activity. Either inhibition of SIRT1 by EX527 or knockdown of SIRT1 by siRNA could reverse NNMT-mediated resistance to adriamycin and paclitaxel, which suggests that SIRT1 plays a critical role in NNMT-related chemoresistance in breast cancer. The results of this study demonstrate a novel correlation between the NNMT expression level and patient survival, suggesting that NNMT has the potential to become a new prognostic biomarker to predict the treatment outcomes of the clinical chemotherapy in breast cancer. Moreover, targeting NNMT or downstream SIRT1 may represent a new therapeutic approach to improve the efficacy of breast cancer chemotherapy.