DNA Replication Stress Induced by Trifluridine Determines Tumor Cell Fate According to p53 Status

Yuki Kataoka, Makoto Iimori, Ryo Fujisawa, Tomomi Morikawa-Ichinose, Shinichiro Niimi, Takeshi Wakasa, Hiroshi Saeki, Eiji Oki, Daisuke Miura, Toshiki Tsurimoto, Yoshihiko Maehara, Hiroyuki Kitao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


DNA replication stress (DRS) is a predominant cause of genome instability, a driver of tumorigenesis and malignant progression. Nucleoside analogue-type chemotherapeutic drugs introduce DNA damage and exacerbate DRS in tumor cells. However, the mechanisms underlying the antitumor effect of these drugs are not fully understood. Here, we show that the fluorinated thymidine analogue trifluridine (FTD), an active component of the chemotherapeutic drug trifluridine/tipiracil, delayed DNA synthesis by human replicative DNA polymerases by acting both as an inefficient deoxyribonucleotide triphosphate source (FTD triphosphate) and as an obstacle base (trifluorothymine) in the template DNA strand, which caused DRS. In cells, FTD decreased the thymidine triphosphate level in the dNTP pool and increased the FTD triphosphate level, resulting in the activation of DRS-induced cellular responses during S-phase. In addition, replication protein A-coated single-stranded DNA associated with FancD2 and accumulated after tumor cells completed S-phase. Finally, FTD activated the p53-p21 pathway and suppressed tumor cell growth by inducing cellular senescence via mitosis skipping. In contrast, tumor cells that lost wild-type p53 underwent apoptotic cell death via aberrant late mitosis with severely impaired separation of sister chromatids. These results demonstrate that DRS induced by a nucleoside analogue-type chemotherapeutic drug suppresses tumor growth irrespective of p53 status by directing tumor cell fate toward cellular senescence or apoptotic cell death according to p53 status. IMPLICATIONS: Chemotherapeutic drugs that increase DRS during S-phase but allow tumor cells to complete S-phase may have significant antitumor activity even when functional p53 is lost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1354-1366
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


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