Despite efforts in understanding its underlying mechanisms, the etiology of chromosomal instability (CIN) remains unclear for many tumor types. Here, we identify CIN initiation as a previously undescribed function for APOBEC3A (A3A), a cytidine deaminase upregulated across cancer types. Using genetic mouse models of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) and genomics analyses in human tumor cells we show that A3A-induced CIN leads to aggressive tumors characterized by enhanced early dissemination and metastasis in a STING-dependent manner and independently of the canonical deaminase functions of A3A. We show that A3A upregulation recapitulates numerous copy number alterations commonly observed in patients with PDA, including co-deletions in DNA repair pathway genes, which in turn render these tumors susceptible to poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibition. Overall, our results demonstrate that A3A plays an unexpected role in PDA as a specific driver of CIN, with significant effects on disease progression and treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research