JQ1 induces DNA damage and apoptosis, and inhibits tumor growth in a patient-derived xenograft model of cholangiocarcinoma

Patrick L. Garcia, Aubrey L. Miller, Tracy L. Gamblin, Leona N. Council, John D. Christein, J. Pablo Arnoletti, Marty J. Heslin, Sushanth Reddy, Joseph H. Richardson, Xiangqin Cui, Robert C.A.M. Van Waardenburg, James E. Bradner, Eddy S. Yang, Karina J. Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a fatal disease with a 5-year survival of <30%. For a majority of patients, chemotherapy is the only therapeutic option, and virtually all patients relapse. Gemcitabine is the first-line agent for treatment of CCA. Patients treated with gemcitabine monotherapy survive ∼8 months. Combining this agent with cisplatin increases survival by ∼3 months, but neither regimen produces durable remissions. The molecular etiology of this disease is poorly understood. To facilitate molecular characterization and development of effective therapies for CCA, we established a panel of patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of CCA. We used two of these models to investigate the antitumor efficacy and mechanism of action of the bromodomain inhibitor JQ1, an agent that has not been evaluated for the treatment of CCA. The data show that JQ1 suppressed the growth of the CCA PDX model CCA2 and demonstrate that growth suppression was concomitant with inhibition of c-Myc protein expression. A second model (CCA1) was JQ1-insensitive, with tumor progression and c-Myc expression unaffected by exposure to this agent. Also selective to CCA2 tumors, JQ1 induced DNA damage and apoptosis and downregulated multiple c-Myc transcriptional targets that regulate cell-cycle progression and DNA repair. These findings suggest that c-Myc inhibition and several of its transcriptional targets may contribute to the mechanism of action of JQ1 in this tumor type. We conclude that BET inhibitors such as JQ1 warrant further investigation for the treatment of CCA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-118
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Cancer Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 AACR.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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