Prof. Efroni Sol – Resistance to paclitaxel is associated with a variant of the gene BCL2 in multiple tumor types

Prof. Sol Efroni
Prof. Sol Efroni

Abstract

Paclitaxel, the most commonly used form of chemotherapy, is utilized in curative protocols in different types of cancer. The response to treatment differs among patients. Biological interpretation of a mechanism to explain this personalized response is still unavailable. Since paclitaxel is known to target BCL2 and TUBB1, we used pan-cancer genomic data from hundreds of patients to show that a single-nucleotide variant in the BCL2 sequence can predict a patient’s response to paclitaxel. Here, we show a connection between this BCL2 genomic variant, its transcript structure, and protein abundance. We demonstrate these findings in silico, in vitro, in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue, and in patient lymphocytes. We show that tumors with the specific variant are more resistant to paclitaxel. We also show that tumor and normal cells with the variant express higher levels of BCL2 protein, a phenomenon that we validated in an independent cohort of patients. Our results indicate BCL2 sequence variations as determinants of chemotherapy resistance. The knowledge of individual BCL2 genomic sequences prior to the choice of chemotherapy may improve patient survival. The current work also demonstrates the benefit of community-wide, integrative omics data sources combined with in-lab experimentation and validation sets.

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