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Shu, Li, Ji, Cheng, Ying, Fan, Zhong, Liu, Tsao, Chan, Tao (2013) FEZF2, a novel 3p14 tumor suppressor gene, represses oncogene EZH2 and MDM2 expression and is frequently methylated in nasopharyngeal carcinoma Carcinogenesis ()


Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is an Epstein-Barr virus-associated tumor prevalent in southern China and southeast Asia, with the 3p14-p12 locus reported as a critical tumor suppressor gene (TSG) region during its pathogenesis. We identified a novel 3p14.2 TSG, FEZF2 (FEZ family zinc finger 2), for NPC. FEZF2 is readily expressed in normal tissues including upper respiratory epithelium, testis, brain and ovary tissues, as well as in immortalized nasopharyngeal epithelial cell line NP69, but it is completely silenced in NPC cell lines due to CpG methylation of its promoter, although no homozygous deletion of FEZF2 was detected. 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine treatment restored FEZF2 expression in NPC cell lines along with its promoter demethylation. FEZF2 was frequently downregulated in NPC tumors, with promoter methylation detected in 75.5% of tumors, but only in 7.1% of normal nasopharyngeal tissues. Restored FEZF2 expression suppressed NPC cell clonogenicity through inducing G2/M cell cycle arrest and apoptosis and also inhibited NPC cell migration and stemness. FEZF2 acted as a histone deacetylase-associated repressor downregulating multiple oncogenes including EZH2 and MDM2, through direct binding to their promoters. Concomitantly, overexpression of EZH2 was frequently detected in NPC tumors. Thus, we have identified FEZF2 as a novel 3p14.2 TSG frequently inactivated by promoter methylation in NPC, which functions as a repressor downregulating multiple oncogene expression.


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