Research ArticleCANCER

X chromosome protects against bladder cancer in females via a KDM6A-dependent epigenetic mechanism

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Science Advances  13 Jun 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 6, eaar5598
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar5598


Men are much more likely than women to develop bladder cancer (BCa), but the underlying cause of this gender disparity remains poorly defined. Using sex-reversed mice, we show that the sex chromosome complement is an independent cause and, moreover, amplifies the biasing effects of sex hormones. We also show that the X-linked lysine demethylase 6A (KDM6A) is a sexually dimorphic gene. Wild-type but not catalytically dead KDM6A confers sustained tumor suppressor activity in vitro. Knockout of mouse Kdm6a reduces expression of Cdkn1a and Perp, canonical gene targets of the tumor suppressor p53. Consistently, loss of Kdm6a increases BCa risk in female mice, and mutations or reduced expression of human KDM6A predicts poor prognosis of female BCa patients. Collectively, the study reveals that the X chromosome protects against BCa among females via a KDM6A-dependent epigenetic mechanism and further suggests that KDM6A is a prototypical sex-biasing tumor suppressor with both demethylase-dependent and demethylase-independent activities.

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