Tumor Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 6359–6369 | Cite as

Interference with endogenous EZH2 reverses the chemotherapy drug resistance in cervical cancer cells partly by up-regulating Dicer expression

  • Liqiong Cai
  • Zehua Wang
  • Denghua Liu
Original Article


Cervical cancer is one of the most common female malignancies in the world, and chemotherapeutic drug resistance is a major obstacle to cancer therapy. Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) is an enzymatic subunit of polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) and catalyzes the repressive histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3). However, the role of EZH2 on the chemotherapy drug resistance in cervical cancers remains unclear. In the present study, the cervical carcinoma specimens and paired normal tissue specimens were obtained and the expression of EZH2 was detected by western blotting. The results showed that high levels of EZH2 were detected in cervical carcinoma tissues, compared with paired control tissues (**p < 0.01). Next, three pairs of shRNA specific to EZH2 were designed and used to interfere with endogenous EZH2 expression. Cell viability was assessed by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assays following treatment with various concentrations of cisplatin in HeLa and HeLa/DDP cells. The MTT assay results showed that knockdown of EZH2 in HeLa/DDP cells caused a 2.29- or 1.83-fold decrease in the cisplatin IC50 values (for shRNA1-EZH2, 34.88 vs. 15.21 μg/mL; p < 0.01; for shRNA3-EZH2, 34.88 vs. 19.09 μg/mL; p < 0.01). The EZH2 activity was also suppressed by 3-deazaneplanocin A (DZNep), EZH2 inhibitor, and the results demonstrated that, meanwhile, DZNep potently inhibited cell viability of HeLa/DDP cells, partly by suppression the levels of EZH2 and H3K27me3, but not H3K27me2, which was detected by western blotting analysis. Moreover, cell migration assay results showed that knockdown of EZH2 decreased cell metastasis of cervical cancer cells. Furthermore, cell cycle was detected by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) assay and the results demonstrated that interference with EZH2 expression increased the percentage of cells at G0/G1 phase and the HeLa/DDP cells were blocked at G0/G1 phase. Interestingly, western blotting results revealed that higher expression of EZH2 was related with lower level of Dicer in HeLa/DDP cells. Finally, in vivo tumorigenicity experiments results demonstrated that interference with endogenous EZH2 by shRNA specific to EZH2 or inhibition EZH2 by DZNep could significantly increase antitumor effects in nude mice. Thus, inhibiting the levels of endogenous EZH2 effectively reversed the cisplatin resistance and increased the cisplatin sensitivity in cisplatin-resistant HeLa/DDP cells. EZH2 might be a potential target for treating chemotherapeutic drug-resistant cervical cancers.


Cervical cancer Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) Dicer Resistant 


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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical CollegeHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.Department of Neurology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical CollegeHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina

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