The antimetabolite 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is one of the most widely used chemotherapy drugs. Dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) is a major determinant of 5-FU response and toxicity. Although DPYD variants may affect 5-FU metabolism, they do not completely explain the reported variability in DPD function or the resultant differences in treatment response. Here, we report that H3K27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) at the DPYD promoter regulated by Ezh2 and UTX suppresses DPYD expression by inhibiting transcription factor PU.1 binding, leading to increased resistance to 5-FU. Enrichment of H3K27me3 at the DPYD promoter was negatively correlated with both DPYD expression and DPD enzyme activity in peripheral blood specimens from healthy volunteers. Lastly, tumor expression data suggest that DPYD repression by Ezh2 predicts poor survival in 5-FU-treated cancers. Collectively, the findings of the present article suggest that a previously uncharacterized mechanism regulates DPD expression and may contribute to tumor resistance to 5-FU.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research