A Whole-genome CRISPR Screen Identifies a Role of MSH2 in Cisplatin-mediated Cell Death in Muscle-invasive Bladder Cancer

The response to first-line, platinum-based treatment of muscle-invasive bladder cancer has not improved in 3 decades.

To identify genes that influence cisplatin resistance in bladder cancer.

We performed a whole-genome CRISPR screen in a bladder cancer cell line to identify genes that mediate resistance to cisplatin.

Targeted validation was performed in two bladder cancer cell lines. The top gene candidate was validated in a publicly available bladder cancer dataset.

From the CRISPR screen, we identified MSH2 as the most significantly enriched gene and mismatch repair as the most significantly enriched pathway that promoted resistance to cisplatin. Bladder cancer cells with knockdown of MSH2 showed a reduction in cisplatin-mediated apoptosis. MSH2 loss did not impact the sensitivity to other chemotherapies, including the cisplatin analog oxaliplatin. Bladder tumors with low MSH2 protein levels, quantified using reverse-phase protein array, showed poorer survival when treated with cisplatin- or carboplatin-based therapy; these results require future validation using immunohistochemistry. Additionally, results are retrospective from patients with primarily high-grade tumors; thus, validation in a controlled clinical trial is needed.

We generated in vitro evidence that bladder cancer cell lines depleted of MSH2 are more resistant to cisplatin. We additionally found an association between low MSH2 in bladder tumors and poorer patient survival when treated with platinum-based chemotherapy. If successfully validated prospectively, MSH2 protein level could assist in the selection of patients for chemotherapy.

We report the first evidence that MSH2 protein level may contribute to chemotherapy resistance observed in muscle-invasive bladder cancer. MSH2 has potential as a biomarker predictive of response to platinum-based therapy.

European urology. 2018 Nov 07 [Epub ahead of print]

Andrew Goodspeed, Annie Jean, James C Costello

Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA., Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA; University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA. Electronic address: .