Yu, Y., Schleich, K., Yue, B., Ji, S., Lohneis, P., Kemper, K., Silvis, M.S., Qutob, N., van Rooijen, E., Werner-Klein, M., Li, L., Dhawan, D., Meierjohann, S., Reimann, M., Elkahloun, A., Treitschke, S., Dörken, B., Speck, C., Mallette, F.A., Zon, L.I., Holmen, S.L., Peeper, D.S., Samuels, Y., Schmitt, C.A., Lee, S. (2018) Targeting the Senescence-Overriding Cooperative Activity of Structurally Unrelated H3K9 Demethylases in Melanoma. Cancer Cell. 33:322-336.e8.
Oncogene-induced senescence, e.g., in melanocytic nevi, terminates the expansion of pre-malignant cells via transcriptional silencing of proliferation-related genes due to decoration of their promoters with repressive trimethylated histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) marks. We show here that structurally distinct H3K9-active demethylases-the lysine-specific demethylase-1 (LSD1) and several Jumonji C domain-containing moieties (such as JMJD2C)-disable senescence and permit Ras/Braf-evoked transformation. In mouse and zebrafish models, enforced LSD1 or JMJD2C expression promoted Braf-V600E-driven melanomagenesis. A large subset of established melanoma cell lines and primary human melanoma samples presented with a collective upregulation of related and unrelated H3K9 demethylase activities, whose targeted inhibition restored senescence, even in Braf inhibitor-resistant melanomas, evoked secondary immune effects and controlled tumor growth in vivo.