NF-κB upregulation through epigenetic silencing of LDOC1 drives tumor biology and specific immunophenotype in Group A ependymoma

Neuro Oncol. 2017 Oct 1;19(10):1350-1360. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/nox061.


Background: Inflammation has been identified as a hallmark of high-risk Group A (GpA) ependymoma (EPN). Chronic interleukin (IL)-6 secretion from GpA tumors drives an immune suppressive phenotype by polarizing infiltrating monocytes. This study determines the mechanism by which IL-6 is dysregulated in GpA EPN.

Methods: Twenty pediatric GpA and 21 pediatric Group B (GpB) EPN had gene set enrichment analysis for MSigDB Hallmark gene sets performed. Protein and RNA from patients and cell lines were used to validate transcriptomic findings. GpA cell lines 811 and 928 were used for in vitro experiments performed in this study.

Results: The nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) pathway is a master regulator of IL-6 and a signaling pathway enriched in GpA compared with GpB EPN. Knockdown of NF-κB led to significant downregulation of IL-6 in 811 and 928. NF-κB activation was independent of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) stimulation in both cell lines, suggesting that NF-κB hyperactivation is mediated through an alternative mechanism. Leucine zipper downregulated in cancer 1 (LDOC1) is a known transcriptional repressor of NF-κB. In many cancers, LDOC1 promoter is methylated, which inhibits gene transcription. We found decreased LDOC1 gene expression in GpA compared with GpB EPN, and in other pediatric brain tumors. EPN cells treated with 5AZA-DC, demethylated LDOC1 regulatory regions, upregulated LDOC1 expression, and concomitantly decreased IL-6 secretion. Stable knockdown of LDOC1 in EPN cell lines resulted in a significant increase in gene transcription of v-rel avian reticuloendotheliosis viral oncogene homolog A, which correlated to an increase in NF-κB target genes.

Conclusion: These results suggest that epigenetic silencing of LDOC1 in GpA EPN regulates tumor biology and drives inflammatory immune phenotype.

Keywords: LDOC1; NF-κB; ependymoma; inflammation; methylation.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / physiology
  • Ependymoma / genetics
  • Ependymoma / metabolism*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping* / methods
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Transcriptional Activation / physiology
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism


  • LDOC1 protein, human
  • NF-kappa B
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins