KDM1A inhibition is effective in reducing stemness and treating triple negative breast cancer

Mei Zhou, Prabhakar Pitta Venkata, Suryavathi Viswanadhapalli, Bridgitte Palacios, Salvador Alejo, Yihong Chen, Yi He, Uday P. Pratap, Junhao Liu, Yi Zou, Zhao Lai, Takayoshi Suzuki, Andrew J. Brenner, Rajeshwar R. Tekmal, Ratna K. Vadlamudi, Gangadhara R. Sareddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Purpose: Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are highly tumorigenic, spared by chemotherapy, sustain tumor growth, and are implicated in tumor recurrence after conventional therapies in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Lysine-specific histone demethylase 1A (KDM1A) is highly expressed in several human malignancies and CSCs including TNBC. However, the precise mechanistic role of KDM1A in CSC functions and therapeutic utility of KDM1A inhibitor for treating TNBC is poorly understood. Methods: The effect of KDM1A inhibition on cell viability, apoptosis, and invasion were examined by Cell Titer Glo, Caspase 3/7 Glo, and matrigel invasion assays, respectively. Stemness and self-renewal of CSCs were examined using mammosphere formation and extreme limiting dilution assays. Mechanistic studies were conducted using RNA-sequencing, RT-qPCR, Western blotting and reporter gene assays. Mouse xenograft and patient derived xenograft models were used for preclinical evaluation of KDM1A inhibitor. Results: TCGA data sets indicated that KDM1A is highly expressed in TNBC. CSCs express high levels of KDM1A and inhibition of KDM1A reduced the CSCs enrichment in TNBC cells. KDM1A inhibition reduced cell viability, mammosphere formation, self-renewal and promoted apoptosis of CSCs. Mechanistic studies suggested that IL6-JAK-STAT3 and EMT pathways were downregulated in KDM1A knockdown and KDM1A inhibitor treated cells. Importantly, doxycycline inducible knockout of KDM1A reduced tumor progression in orthotopic xenograft models and KDM1A inhibitor NCD38 treatment significantly reduced tumor growth in patient derived xenograft (PDX) models. Conclusions: Our results establish that KDM1A inhibition mitigates CSCs functions via inhibition of STAT3 and EMT signaling, and KDM1A inhibitor NCD38 may represent a novel class of drug for treating TNBC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-357
Number of pages15
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Cancer stem cells
  • Epithelial mesenchymal transition
  • KDM1A
  • LSD1
  • STAT3
  • Triple negative breast cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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