Colon tumors arise in a stepwise fashion from either discrete genetic perturbations or epigenetic dysregulation. To uncover the key epigenetic regulators that drive colon cancer growth, we used a CRISPR loss-of-function screen and identified a number of essential genes, including the bromodomain and extraterminal (BET) protein BRD4. We found that BRD4 is critical for colon cancer proliferation, and its knockdown led to differentiation effects in vivo. JQ1, a BET inhibitor, preferentially reduced growth in a subset of epigenetically dysregulated colon cancers characterized by the CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP). Integrated transcriptomic and genomic analyses defined a distinct superenhancer in CIMP+ colon cancers that regulates
Mark L. McCleland, Kathryn Mesh, Edward Lorenzana, Vivek S. Chopra, Ehud Segal, Colin Watanabe, Benjamin Haley, Oleg Mayba, Murat Yaylaoglu, Florian Gnad, Ron Firestein
An arrayed CRISPR screen identifies BRD4 as a regulator of colon cancer.