Inhibition of DNA methylation promotes breast tumor sensitivity to netrin-1 interference

Mélodie Grandin, Pauline Mathot, Guillaume Devailly, Yannick Bidet, Akram Ghantous, Clementine Favrot, Benjamin Gibert, Nicolas Gadot, Isabelle Puisieux, Zdenko Herceg, Jean-Guy Delcros, Agnès Bernet, Patrick Mehlen, Robert Dante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In a number of human cancers, NTN1 upregulation inhibits apoptosis induced by its so-called dependence receptors DCC and UNC5H, thus promoting tumor progression. In other cancers however, the selective inhibition of this dependence receptor death pathway relies on the silencing of pro-apoptotic effector proteins. We show here that a substantial fraction of human breast tumors exhibits simultaneous DNA methylation-dependent loss of expression of NTN1 and of DAPK1, a serine threonine kinase known to transduce the netrin-1 dependence receptor pro-apoptotic pathway. The inhibition of DNA methylation by drugs such as decitabine restores the expression of both NTN1 and DAPK1 in netrin-1-low cancer cells. Furthermore, a combination of decitabine with NTN1 silencing strategies or with an anti-netrin-1 neutralizing antibody potentiates tumor cell death and efficiently blocks tumor growth in different animal models. Thus, combining DNA methylation inhibitors with netrin-1 neutralizing agents may be a valuable strategy for combating cancer.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEMBO Molecular Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2016


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