Oncology reports

BRD4 promotes pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cell proliferation and enhances gemcitabine resistance.

PMID 25647019


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a highly aggressive carcinoma with a poor prognosis. To date, there is no effective treatment for this fatal disease. The manipulation of epigenetic proteins, such as BRD4, has recently emerged as an alternative therapeutic strategy. Our objective was to analyze the effect of BRD4 on the cell progression and chemoresistance of PDAC and the novel mechanisms involved. In the present study, we firstly revealed that the expression of BRD4 was significantly upregulated in PDAC cell lines, compared to that in human pancreatic duct epithelial cells. An inxa0vitro assay showed that the suppression of BRD4 impaired PDAC cell viability and proliferation. Similarly, the tumor growth rate was also decreased inxa0vivo after silencing of BRD4. Furthermore, we showed that the expression of BRD4 was increased after treatment with gemcitabine (GEM). Combination treatment of GEM and BRD4 silencing had a synergistic effect on the chemotherapeutic efficacy in the PANC-1 and MIAPaCa-2 cell lines, and significantly promoted apoptosis. In particular, we demonstrated that BRD4 activated the Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathway members in a ligand-independent manner in the PDAC cells. Together, our results indicate the important role of BRD4 in PDAC cell proliferation and chemoresistance and suggests that BRD4 is a promising target directed against the transcriptional program of PDAC.