Glyphosate Primes Mammary Cells for Tumorigenesis by Reprogramming the Epigenome in a TET3-Dependent Manner.
Front Genet. 2019 ;10:885. Epub 2019 Sep 27. PMID: 31611907
The acknowledgment that pollutants might influence the epigenome raises serious concerns regarding their long-term impact on the development of chronic diseases. The herbicide glyphosate has been scrutinized for an impact on cancer incidence, but reports demonstrate the difficulty of linking estimates of exposure and response analysis. An approach to better apprehend a potential risk impact for cancer is to follow a synergistic approach, as cancer rarely occurs in response to one risk factor. The known influence of glyphosate on estrogen-regulated pathway makes it a logical target of investigation in breast cancer research. We have used nonneoplastic MCF10A cells in a repeated glyphosate exposure pattern over 21 days. Glyphosate triggered a significant reduction in DNA methylation, as shown by the level of 5-methylcytosine DNA; however, in contrast to strong demethylating agent and cancer promoter UP peptide, glyphosate-treated cells did not lead to tumor development. Whereas UP acts through a DNMT1/PCNA/UHRF1 pathway, glyphosate triggered increased activity of ten-eleven translocation (TET)3. Combining glyphosate with enhanced expression of microRNA (miR) 182-5p associated with breast cancer induced tumor development in 50% of mice. Culture of primary cells from resected tumors revealed a luminal B (ER+/PR-/HER2-) phenotype in response to glyphosate-miR182-5p exposure with sensitivity to tamoxifen and invasive and migratory potentials. Tumor development could be prevented either by specifically inhibiting miR 182-5p or by treating glyphosate-miR 182-5p-cells with dimethyloxallyl glycine, an inhibitor of TET pathway. Looking for potential epigenetic marks of TET-mediated gene regulation under glyphosate exposure, we identifiedandgenes, the hypomethylation of which was sustained even after stopping glyphosate exposure for 6 weeks. Our findings reveal that low pressure but sustained DNA hypomethylation occurringthe TET pathway primes cells for oncogenic response in the presence of another potential risk factor. These results warrant further investigation of glyphosate-mediated breast cancer risk.