BACKGROUND - Somatically acquired chromosomal translocation is a common mechanism of oncogene activation in many haematopoietic tumours and sarcomas. However, very few recurrent chromosomal translocations have been reported in more common epithelial tumours such as lung carcinomas.
METHODS - We established a cell line HCC2429 from an aggressive, metastatic lung cancer arising in a young, non-smoking woman, demonstrating a t(15;19)(q13.2;p13.1). The breakpoints on chromosomes 15 and 19 were cloned using long distance inverse PCR and we determined by RT-PCR that the translocation results in a novel fusion transcript in which the 3' end Brd4 on chromosome 19p is fused to the 5' end of NUT on chromosome 15q.
RESULTS - In total, 128 lung cancer tissues were screened using fluorescent in situ hybridisation, but none of the tumours screened demonstrated t(15;19), suggesting that this translocation is not commonly found in lung cancer. Consistent with previous literature, ectopic expression of wild type Brd4 was shown to inhibit G(1) to S progression. However, we also found that the Brd4-NUT fusion augments the inhibition of progression to S phase compared with wild type Brd4.
CONCLUSION - Alteration in cell cycle kinetics is important in tumorigenesis, although the exact role of Brd4-NUT fusion protein in the pathogenesis of lung cancers remains unclear and need to be further elucidated.