Convergent structural alterations define SWItch/Sucrose NonFermentable (SWI/SNF) chromatin remodeler as a central tumor suppressive complex in pancreatic cancer

A. Hunter Shain, Craig P. Giacomini, Karen Matsukuma, Collins A. Karikari, Murali D. Bashyam, Manuel Hidalgo, Anirban Maitra, Jonathan R. Pollack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Defining the molecular genetic alterations underlying pancreatic cancer may provide unique therapeutic insight for this deadly disease. Toward this goal, we report here an integrative DNA microarray and sequencing-based analysis of pancreatic cancer genomes. Notable among the alterations newly identified, genomic deletions, mutations, and rearrangements recurrently targeted genes encoding components of the SWItch/Sucrose NonFermentable (SWI/SNF) chromatin remodeling complex, including all three putative DNA binding subunits (ARID1A, ARID1B, and PBRM1) and both enzymatic subunits (SMARCA2 and SMARCA4). Whereas alterations of each individual SWI/SNF subunit occurred at modest-frequency, as mutational "hills" in the genomic landscape, together they affected at least one-third of all pancreatic cancers, defining SWI/SNF as a major mutational "mountain." Consistent with a tumor- suppressive role, re-expression of SMARCA4 in SMARCA4-deficient pancreatic cancer cell lines reduced cell growth and promoted senescence, whereas its overexpression in a SWI/SNF-intact line had no such effect. In addition, expression profiling analyses revealed that SWI/SNF likely antagonizes Polycomb repressive complex 2, implicating this as one possible mechanism of tumor suppression. Our findings reveal SWI/SNF to be a central tumor suppressive complex in pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E252-E259
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 31 2012



  • Cancer gene discovery
  • Comparative genomic hybridization array
  • Tumor suppressor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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