Int J Biol Sci 2015; 11(2):144-155. doi:10.7150/ijbs.10692 This issue

Research Paper

Clinical Significance of a Point Mutation in DNA Polymerase Beta (POLB) Gene in Gastric Cancer

Xiaohui Tan1, 4, Hongyi Wang2, Guangbin Luo3, Shuyang Ren1, Wenmei Li1, Jiantao Cui1, Harindarpal S. Gill4, Sidney W. Fu4✉, Youyong Lu1✉

1. Laboratory of Molecular Oncology, Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Translational Research (Ministry of Education);
2. Department of Sugary, Peking University School of Oncology, Beijing Cancer Hospital & Institute, Beijing, 100142, P.R. China.
3. Department of Genetics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, 44106, USA.
4. Department of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC 20037, USA.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See for full terms and conditions.
Tan X, Wang H, Luo G, Ren S, Li W, Cui J, Gill HS, Fu SW, Lu Y. Clinical Significance of a Point Mutation in DNA Polymerase Beta (POLB) Gene in Gastric Cancer. Int J Biol Sci 2015; 11(2):144-155. doi:10.7150/ijbs.10692. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Gastric cancer (GC) is a major cause of global cancer mortality. Genetic variations in DNA repair genes can modulate DNA repair capability and, consequently, have been associated with risk of developing cancer. We have previously identified a T to C point mutation at nucleotide 889 (T889C) in DNA polymerase beta (POLB) gene, a key enzyme involved in base excision repair in primary GCs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the mutation and expression of POLB in a larger cohort and to identify possible prognostic roles of the POLB alterations in GC. Primary GC specimens and their matched normal adjacent tissues were collected at the time of surgery. DNA, RNA and protein samples were isolated from GC specimens and cell lines. Mutations were detected by PCR-RFLP/DHPLC and sequencing analysis. POLB gene expression was examined by RT-PCR, tissue microarray, Western blotting and immunofluorescence assays. The function of the mutation was evaluated by chemosensitivity, MTT, Transwell matrigel invasion and host cell reactivation assays. The T889C mutation was detected in 18 (10.17%) of 177 GC patients. And the T889C mutation was associated with POLB overexpression, lymph nodes metastases and poor tumor differentiation. In addition, patients with- the mutation had significantly shorter survival time than those without-, following postoperative chemotherapy. Furthermore, cell lines with T889C mutation in POLB gene were more resistant to the treatment of 5-fluorouracil, cisplatin and epirubicin than those with wild type POLB. Forced expression of POLB gene with T889C mutation resulted in enhanced cell proliferation, invasion and resistance to anticancer drugs, along with increased DNA repair capability. These results suggest that POLB gene with T889C mutation in surgically resected primary gastric tissues may be clinically useful for predicting responsiveness to chemotherapy in patients with GC. The POLB gene alteration may serve as a prognostic biomarker for GC.

Keywords: DNA polymerase beta (POLB), gastric cancer, DNA Repair, point mutation, chemotherapy.