Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive disease subtype with limited treatment options. Eribulin is a chemotherapeutic approved for the treatment of advanced breast cancer that has been shown to elicit epigenetic changes. We investigated the effect of eribulin treatment on genome-scale DNA methylation patterns in TNBC cells. Following repeated treatment, The results showed that eribulin-induced changes in DNA methylation patterns evident in persister cells. Eribulin also affected the binding of transcription factors to genomic ZEB1 binding sites and regulated several cellular pathways, including ERBB and VEGF signaling and cell adhesion. Eribulin also altered the expression of epigenetic modifiers including DNMT1, TET1, and DNMT3A/B in persister cells. Data from primary human TNBC tumors supported these findings: DNMT1 and DNMT3A levels were altered by eribulin treatment in human primary TNBC tumors. Our results suggest that eribulin modulates DNA methylation patterns in TNBC cells by altering the expression of epigenetic modifiers. These findings have clinical implications for using eribulin as a therapeutic agent.
Keywords: DNA methylation; DNMT1/DNMT3A; Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition; mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition.