Tumor suppressive role of the epigenetic master regulator BRD3 in colorectal cancer

Masahiro Hashimoto, Takaaki Masuda, Yusuke Nakano, Taro Tobo, Hideyuki Saito, Kensuke Koike, Junichi Takahashi, Tadashi Abe, Yuki Ando, Yuki Ozato, Kiyotaka Hosoda, Satoshi Higuchi, Yuichi Hisamatsu, Takeo Toshima, Yusuke Yonemura, Tsuyoshi Hata, Mamoru Uemura, Hidetoshi Eguchi, Yuichiro Doki, Masaki MoriKoshi Mimori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bromodomain and extraterminal domain (BET) family proteins are epigenetic master regulators of gene expression via recognition of acetylated histones and recruitment of transcription factors and co-activators to chromatin. Hence, BET family proteins have emerged as promising therapeutic targets in cancer. In this study, we examined the functional role of bromodomain containing 3 (BRD3), a BET family protein, in colorectal cancer (CRC). In vitro and vivo analyses using BRD3-knockdown or BRD3-overexpressing CRC cells showed that BRD3 suppressed tumor growth and cell cycle G1/S transition and induced p21 expression. Clinical analysis of CRC datasets from our hospital or The Cancer Genome Atlas revealed that BET family genes, including BRD3, were overexpressed in tumor tissues. In immunohistochemical analyses, BRD3 was observed mainly in the nucleus of CRC cells. According to single-cell RNA sequencing in untreated CRC tissues, BRD3 was highly expressed in malignant epithelial cells, and cell cycle checkpoint-related pathways were enriched in the epithelial cells with high BRD3 expression. Spatial transcriptomic and single-cell RNA sequencing analyses of CRC tissues showed that BRD3 expression was positively associated with high p21 expression. Furthermore, overexpression of BRD3 combined with knockdown of, a driver gene in the BRD family, showed strong inhibition of CRC cells in vitro. In conclusion, we demonstrated a novel tumor suppressive role of BRD3 that inhibits tumor growth by cell cycle inhibition in part via induction of p21 expression. BRD3 activation might be a novel therapeutic approach for CRC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1866-1880
Number of pages15
JournalCancer Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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