PARP1 activation increases expression of modified tumor suppressors and pathways underlying development of aggressive hepatoblastoma

Commun Biol. 2018 Jun 11:1:67. doi: 10.1038/s42003-018-0077-8. eCollection 2018.


Hepatoblastoma (HBL) is a pediatric liver cancer that affects children under the age of three. Reduction of tumor suppressor proteins (TSPs) is commonly seen in liver cancer. However, in our studies we find that aggressive, chemo-resistant HBLs exhibit an elevation of TSPs. HBL patients with a classic phenotype have reduced TSP levels, but patients with aggressive HBL express elevated TSPs that undergo posttranslational modifications, eliminating their tumor suppression activities. Here we identify unique aggressive liver cancer domains (ALCDs) that are activated in aggressive HBL by PARP1-mediated chromatin remodeling leading to elevation of modified TSPs and activation of additional cancer pathways: WNT signaling and β-catenin. Inhibition of PARP1 blocks activation of ALCDs and normalizes expression of corresponding genes, therefore reducing cell proliferation. Our studies reveal PARP1 activation as a mechanism for the development of aggressive HBL, further suggesting FDA-approved PARP1 inhibitors might be used for treatment of patients with aggressive HBL.