Silencing of CEBPB-AS1 modulates CEBPB expression and resensitizes BRAF-inhibitor resistant melanoma cells to vemurafenib

Melanoma Res. 2020 Oct;30(5):443-454. doi: 10.1097/CMR.0000000000000675.


Introduction of targeted therapy in the treatment of metastatic cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) has improved clinical outcome during the last years. However, only in a subset of the CMM patients, this will lead to long-term effects. CEBPB is a transcription factor that has been implicated in various physiological and pathological processes, including cancer development. We have investigated its prognostic impact on CMM and unexpectedly found that higher CEBPB mRNA levels correlated with a longer overall survival. Furthermore, in a small cohort of patients with metastatic CMM treated with BRAF-inhibitors, higher levels of CEBPB mRNA expression in the tumor cells prior treatment correlated to a longer progression-free survival. We have characterized an overlapping antisense transcript, CEBPB-AS1, with the aim to investigate the regulation of CEBPB expression in CMM and its impact on BRAF-inhibitor sensitivity. We demonstrated that silencing of CEBPB-AS1 resulted in epigenetic modifications in the CEBPB promoter and in increased CEBPB mRNA and protein levels, inhibited proliferation and partially resensitized BRAF-inhibitor resistant CMM cells to this drug-induced apoptosis. Our data suggest that targeting CEBPB-AS1 may represent a valuable tool to sensitize CMM cells to the BRAF-inhibitor-based therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-beta / biosynthesis
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-beta / genetics
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-beta / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Melanoma / genetics
  • Melanoma / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf / antagonists & inhibitors
  • RNA, Antisense / genetics*
  • RNA, Antisense / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Vemurafenib / pharmacology*


  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-beta
  • CEBPB protein, human
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • RNA, Antisense
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Vemurafenib
  • BRAF protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins B-raf