American Association for Cancer Research
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Extended Material and Methods from Targeting the MTF2–MDM2 Axis Sensitizes Refractory Acute Myeloid Leukemia to Chemotherapy

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-04-03, 21:20 authored by Harinad B. Maganti, Hani Jrade, Christopher Cafariello, Janet L. Manias Rothberg, Christopher J. Porter, Julien Yockell-Lelièvre, Hannah L. Battaion, Safwat T. Khan, Joel P. Howard, Yuefeng Li, Adrian T. Grzybowski, Elham Sabri, Alexander J. Ruthenburg, F. Jeffrey Dilworth, Theodore J. Perkins, Mitchell Sabloff, Caryn Y. Ito, William L. Stanford

Extended Material and Methods


Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Cancer Research Society

National Institutes of Health



Deep sequencing has revealed that epigenetic modifiers are the most mutated genes in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Thus, elucidating epigenetic dysregulation in AML is crucial to understand disease mechanisms. Here, we demonstrate that metal response element binding transcription factor 2/polycomblike 2 (MTF2/PCL2) plays a fundamental role in the polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) and that its loss elicits an altered epigenetic state underlying refractory AML. Unbiased systems analyses identified the loss of MTF2–PRC2 repression of MDM2 as central to, and therefore a biomarker for, refractory AML. Thus, immature MTF2-deficient CD34+CD38− cells overexpress MDM2, thereby inhibiting p53 that leads to chemoresistance due to defects in cell-cycle regulation and apoptosis. Targeting this dysregulated signaling pathway by MTF2 overexpression or MDM2 inhibitors sensitized refractory patient leukemic cells to induction chemotherapeutics and prevented relapse in AML patient-derived xenograft mice. Therefore, we have uncovered a direct epigenetic mechanism by which MTF2 functions as a tumor suppressor required for AML chemotherapeutic sensitivity and identified a potential therapeutic strategy to treat refractory AML.Significance: MTF2 deficiency predicts refractory AML at diagnosis. MTF2 represses MDM2 in hematopoietic cells and its loss in AML results in chemoresistance. Inhibiting p53 degradation by overexpressing MTF2 in vitro or by using MDM2 inhibitors in vivo sensitizes MTF2-deficient refractory AML cells to a standard induction-chemotherapy regimen. Cancer Discov; 8(11); 1376–89. ©2018 AACR.See related commentary by Duy and Melnick, p. 1348.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1333