The SWI/SNF subunit SMARCD3 regulates cell cycle progression and predicts survival outcome in ER+ breast cancer

Romain Tropée, Bárbara de la Peña Avalos, Madeline Gough, Cameron Snell, Pascal H.G. Duijf, Eloïse Dray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: Chromatin remodeling plays an essential role in regulating transcriptional networks and timing of gene expression. Chromatin remodelers such as SWItch/Sucrose Non-Fermentable (SWI/SNF) harbor many protein components, with the catalytic subunit providing ATPase activity to displace histones along or from the DNA molecules, and associated subunits ensuring tissue specificity and transcriptional or co-transcriptional activities. Mutations in several of the SWI/SNF subunits have been linked to cancer. Here, we investigate between SMARCD3/Baf60c expression and hormone-positive (ER+) breast cancer. Methods: The level of SMARCD3 was detected by immunohistochemistry in breast cancer patient samples, and expression levels of SMARCD1, SMARCD2, and SMARCD3 were investigated using publicly available datasets from large cohorts of breast cancer patients. Using molecular biology and microscopy, we interrogated the cellular consequences of lower SMARCD3 expression. Results: Lower proliferation rates were observed in SMARCD3-depleted cells, which reflects a failure of the cell cycle progression and an increase in endoreplication. In the absence of SMARCD3, p21 accumulates in cells, but does not halt the cell cycle, and DNA damage accumulates and remains unrepaired. Conclusion: Taken together, our data begin to explain why ER+ breast cancer patients with low-SMARCD3 expressing tumors exhibit reduced survival rates compared to patients expressing normal or higher levels of SMARCD3. SMARCD3 might act as a tumor suppressor through regulation of cell cycle checkpoints and could be a reliable and specific breast cancer prognostic biomarker.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-614
Number of pages14
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Breast cancer
  • Cell cycle
  • DNA damage repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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