Convergent structural alterations define SWItch/Sucrose NonFermentable (SWI/SNF) chromatin remodeler as a central tumor suppressive complex in pancreatic cancer
Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
Genes, Tumor Suppressor
Defining the molecular genetic alterations underlying pancreatic cancer may provide unique therapeutic insight for this deadly disease. Toward this goal, we report here an integrative DNA microarray and sequencing-based analysis of pancreatic cancer genomes. Notable among the alterations newly identified, genomic deletions, mutations, and rearrangements recurrently targeted genes encoding components of the SWItch/Sucrose NonFermentable (SWI/SNF) chromatin remodeling complex, including all three putative DNA binding subunits (ARID1A, ARID1B, and PBRM1) and both enzymatic subunits (SMARCA2 and SMARCA4). Whereas alterations of each individual SWI/SNF subunit occurred at modest-frequency, as mutational "hills" in the genomic landscape, together they affected at least one-third of all pancreatic cancers, defining SWI/SNF as a major mutational "mountain." Consistent with a tumor-suppressive role, re-expression of SMARCA4 in SMARCA4-deficient pancreatic cancer cell lines reduced cell growth and promoted senescence, whereas its overexpression in a SWI/SNF-intact line had no such effect. In addition, expression profiling analyses revealed that SWI/SNF likely antagonizes Polycomb repressive complex 2, implicating this as one possible mechanism of tumor suppression. Our findings reveal SWI/SNF to be a central tumor suppressive complex in pancreatic cancer.