Background: BRCC3 has been found to be aberrantly expressed in breast tumors and involved in DNA damage response. The contribution of BRCC3 to nasopharyngeal carcinoma prognosis and radiosensitivity is still unclear.
Methods: Immunohistochemical analysis of BRCC3 was carried out in 100 nasopharyngeal carcinoma tissues, and the protein level was correlated to patient survival. BRCC3 expression of nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell lines was determined by Western-blotting and real-time PCR. Additionally, the effects of BRCC3 knockdown on nasopharyngeal carcinoma cell clongenic survival, DNA damage repair, and cell cycle distribution after irradiation was assessed.
Results: The BRCC3 protein level was inversely correlated with nasopharyngeal carcinoma patient overall survival (P < 0.001) and 3-year loco-regional relapse-free survival (P = 0.034). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that BRCC3 expression was an independent prognostic factor (P = 0.010). The expression of BRCC3 was much higher in radioresistant nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells than in radiosensitive cells. Knockdown of BRCC3 increased the cell survival fraction, attenuated DNA damage repair and resulted in G2/M cell cycle arrest in radioresistant NPC cells.
Conclusions: High BRCC3 expression in nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients is associated with poor survival. BRCC3 knockdown could abate the radioresistance in nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells. These findings suggest the utility of BRCC3 as a prognostic biomarker and novel target for nasopharyngeal carcinoma.