MRE11A Isoform Expression Associated with Outcome Following Radiotherapy in Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer does not Alter Cell Survival and DNA Double-Strand Break Repair Following Ionising Radiation

Alexandra K. Walker, Juni Na, Lisa Browning, Nada Humayun-Zakaria, Maurice P. Zeegers, K. K. Cheng, Nicholas D. James, Richard T. Bryan, Roland Arnold*, Anne E. Kiltie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: DNA double strand breaks are the cytotoxic lesions produced by ionising radiation. Critical for the repair of these lesions is the DNA damage response protein MRE11 which, in a complex with RAD50 and NBS1, mediates DNA damage signalling and double-strand break repair. We previously found the presence of an MRE11 germline single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs1805363 (G>A), to be associated with poor outcome following radiotherapy (RT) and increased expression of MRE11 isoform 2 in a limited panel of bladder cancer cell lines and tumours.

Objectives: To look for further evidence in support of the SNP/isoform association in a larger panel of germline and tumour samples donated by patients diagnosed with invasive bladder cancer, and to test the hypothesis that bladder cancer cells expressing MRE11 isoform 2 would be more radio resistant than cells expressing MRE11 isoform 1.

Methods: Germline DNA from 189 patients with invasive bladder cancer (141 T2, 48 T1) was genotyped for the rs1805363 G>A SNP. Loss of heterozygosity was determined by genotyping tumour DNA in 17GA germline patients. The Cancer Genome Atlas was mined to correlate presence of the GA germline genotype with MRE11 isoform expression. We used colony formation assays and gamma H2AX foci kinetics after ionising radiation in RT112 MRE11 knockdown cells expressing ectopic MRE11 isoform 1 or 2.

Results: Of the 189 germline DNA samples, 22 contained both the A minor allele and G major allele with the remaining wild type containing only the G major allele. LOH was identified in seven of 17 available tumour samples. Tumour MRE11 isoform 2 expression was found to be significantly higher (p = 0.007) in patients's samples containing the A minor allele compared to those with only the G major allele (n = 23). In the TCGA database we found 16% (66 out of 406) of bladder tumours heterozygous for the SNP and only two homozygous, and a significant relative increase of isoform 2 usage (p = 0.017). We identified no significant difference in radio sensitivity between bladder cancer cells expressing either MRE11 isoform.

Conclusions: In this study the MRE11 isoform 2 was not found to be associated with increased cellular sensitivity to radiation. We conclude that the previously reported association between the germline rs1805363 SNP and poor survival in MIBC patients following RT is unlikely to be related to the DNA damage response function of MRE11 isoform 2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-157
Number of pages11
JournalBladder Cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Bladder cancer
  • MRE11
  • rs1805363
  • MRE11 isoform 1
  • MRE11 isoform 2
  • ATM
  • BRCA2

Cite this