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Identification and experimental validation of druggable epigenetic targets in hepatoblastoma

Autores: Clavería Cabello, Alex; Herranz, J. M.; Latasa Sada, María Ujué; Arechederra Calderon, Maria; Uriarte Díaz-Varela, Iker; Pineda Lucena, Antonio; Prosper Cardoso, Felipe; Berraondo López, Pedro; Alonso, C.; Sangro Gómez-Acebo, Bruno Carlos; Marin, J. J.G.; Martinez-Chantar, M. L.; Ciordia, S.; Corrales, F. J.; Francalanci, P.; Alaggio, R.; Zucman-Rossi, J.; Indersie, E.; Cairo, S.; Domingo-Sàbat, M.; Zanatto, L.; Sancho-Bru, P.; Armengol, C.; Berasain Lasarte, María del Carmen; García Fernández de Barrena, Maite (Autor de correspondencia); Ávila Zaragoza, Matías Antonio (Autor de correspondencia)
Título de la revista: JOURNAL OF HEPATOLOGY (ONLINE)
ISSN: 0168-8278
Volumen: 79
Número: 4
Páginas: 989 - 1005
Fecha de publicación: 2023
Background & Aims: Hepatoblastoma (HB) is the most frequent childhood liver cancer. Patients with aggressive tumors have limited therapeutic options; therefore, a better understanding of HB pathogenesis is needed to improve treatment. HBs have a very low mutational burden; however, epigenetic alterations are increasingly recognized. We aimed to identify epigenetic regulators consistently dysregulated in HB and to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of their targeting in clinically relevant models.Methods: We performed a comprehensive transcriptomic analysis of 180 epigenetic genes. Data from fetal, pediatric, adult, peritumoral (n = 72) and tumoral (n = 91) tissues were integrated. Selected epigenetic drugs were tested in HB cells. The most relevant epigenetic target identified was validated in primary HB cells, HB organoids, a patient-derived xenograft model, and a genetic mouse model. Transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic mechanistic analyses were performed.Results: Altered expression of genes regulating DNA methylation and histone modifications was consistently observed in association with molecular and clinical features of poor prognosis. The histone methyltransferase G9a was markedly upregulated in tumors with epigenetic and transcriptomic traits of increased malignancy. Pharmacological targeting of G9a significantly inhibited growth of HB cells, organoids and patient-derived xenografts. Development of HB induced by oncogenic forms of I3-catenin and YAP1 was ablated in mice with hepatocyte-specific deletion of G9a. We observed that HBs undergo significant transcriptional rewiring in genes involved in amino acid metabolism and ribosomal biogenesis. G9a inhibition counteracted these pro-tumorigenic adaptations. Mechanistically, G9a targeting potently repressed the expression of c-MYC and ATF4, master regulators of HB metabolic reprogramming.Conclusions: HBs display a profound dysregulation of the epigenetic machinery. Pharmacological targeting of key epigenetic effectors exposes metabolic vulnerabilities that can be leveraged to improve the treatment of these patients.(c) 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of European Association for the Study of the Liver.