BACKGROUND Despite the efficacy of decitabine treatment in myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), no definite predictor of response is known. In this study, we investigated whether the expression levels of human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (hENT1), hENT2, deoxycytidine kinase (DCK) and cytidine deaminase (CDA) genes could predict response to decitabine in MDS. METHODS We performed quantitative real-time PCR in marrow mononuclear cells to examine the expression of hENT1, hENT2, DCK, and CDA prior to therapy in 98 MDS patients initially treated with decitabine. Response and overall survival of patients treated with decitabine were analyzed according to gene expression levels. HENT1 knockdown was performed by shRNA in the SKM-1 cell line, and the effect of this on the demethylation ability of decitabine on long interspersed nucleotide element 1 (LINE1) was investigated. RESULTS Patients responding to decitabine presented with significantly higher hENT1 expression levels than non-responders (p = 0.004). Overall response, complete response, and cytogenetic complete response rate in patients with high hENT1 expression (79.4, 41.3, and 43.8 %) were significantly higher than those in patients with low hENT1 expression (48.6, 20.0, and 5.9 %, respectively) (p = 0.004, 0.033, and 0.006, respectively). In higher-risk MDS, patients with high hENT1 expression showed prolonged survival compared with those with low hENT1 expression (22.0 vs 14.0 months; p = 0.027). However, the expression levels of hENT2, DCK, and CDA did not affect response rate. Knockdown of hENT1 in SKM-1 cells weakened the demethylation effect on LINE1 induced by decitabine. CONCLUSIONS High expression of hENT1 appears to predict a good response to decitabine and a prolonged survival in higher-risk MDS patients treated with decitabine. HENT1 expression knockdown weakens the demethylation effect of decitabine.
Wu, L., Shi, W., Li, X., Chang, C., Xu, F., He, Q., … Zhang, Z. (2016). High expression of the human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 gene predicts a good response to decitabine in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome. Journal of Translational Medicine, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12967-016-0817-9