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CHFR Suppression by Hypermethylation Sensitizes Endometrial Cancer Cells to Paclitaxel
  1. Xiaoyun Wang, MD, PhD,
  2. Yuebo Yang, MD,
  3. Chengfang Xu, MD, PhD,
  4. Lan Xiao, MD, PhD,
  5. Huimin Shen, MD, PhD,
  6. Xu Zhang, MD,
  7. Tian Li, MD, PhD and
  8. Xiaomao Li, MD, PhD
  1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Third Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, People's Republic ofChina.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Xiaomao Li, MD, PhD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Third Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, 600 Tianhe Rd, 510630 Guangzhou, People's Republic of China. E-mail: tigerlee777{at}


Objective: Impairment of a cell cycle checkpoint is often associated with sensitivity to chemotherapeutic drugs. Here, we studied the correlations between the checkpoint with forkhead-associated and ring finger (CHFR) gene expression and responses to paclitaxel in endometrial cancer cells.

Methods: We cultured 6 endometrial cancer cell lines exposed to paclitaxel, studied the cell cytotoxicity, cell cycle distribution, CHFR expression, and methylation status before and after a demethylation agent (5-aza) treatment. CHFR was silenced by small interfering RNA (siRNA). Then we examined tumor growth and CHFR expression with paclitaxel alone or combined with 5-aza pretreatment in vivo.

Results: We found that HEC-1B, RL-952, and AN3CA cells were sensitive to paclitaxel. Moreover, CHFR was weakly expressed in these cells, whereas paclitaxel-resistant cells (ISH, HEC-1A, and KLE) had high CHFR expression. Then we found that restored expression of CHFR by demethylation decreased the sensitivity to paclitaxel in AN3CA cells. In addition, cells with CHFR demethylation resulted in G2/M phase arrest that induced to paclitaxel resistance. These results were confirmed again in small interfering RNA-transfected HEC-1A cells. Furthermore, in nude mice model, restored expression of CHFR by demethylation inhibited tumor growth and decreased sensitivity to paclitaxel.

Conclusion: Our data suggest that CHFR suppression regulated by hypermethylation may sensitize endometrial cancer cells to paclitaxel, and CHFR may be a promising marker to predict the response of endometrial cancer to paclitaxel.

  • CHFR
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Methylation
  • Demethylation
  • Paclitaxel

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  • Xiaoyun Wang and Yuebo Yang contributed equally to this work.

  • This work was supported by grants from Endometrial Cancer Program of Guangdong Province, Science and Technology Development Fund of Macau (No. 002/2009/A) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 30772332).