Cytidine analogs are synthetic lethal with base excision repair default due to MBD4 deficiency
AbstractInactivating mutations of MBD4 have been reported in subsets of various tumors. A deficiency of this DNA glycosylase, recognizing specifically T:G mismatch resulting from the deamination of methyl-cytosine, results in a hypermutated phenotype due to the accumulation of CpG>TpG transitions. Here, we hypothesize that the difference in DNA metabolism consecutive to MBD4 deficiency may result in specific cytotoxicities in MBD4-deficient tumor cells in a synthetic lethality fashion. After a large-scale drug repurposing screen, we show in two isogenic MBD4 knock-out cell models that the inactivation of MBD4 sensitizes cancer cells to cytidine analogs. We further confirm the exquisite activity of gemcitabine in an MBD4-deficient co-clinical model as (i) it completely prevented the development of an MBD4-deficient uveal melanoma patient-derived xenograft and (ii) treatment in the corresponding patient resulted in an exceptional tumor response. These data suggest that patients harboring MBD4-deficient tumors may be treated efficiently by cytidine analogs.