Inhibition of Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) induces natural killer cell-mediated eradication of hepatocellular carcinoma cells

Academic Article


  • Natural killer (NK) cell-mediated tumor cell eradication could inhibit tumor initiation and progression. However, the factors that regulate NK cell-mediated cancer cell eradication remain unclear. We determined that hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells exhibit transcriptional down-regulation of NK group 2D (NKG2D) ligands and are largely resistant to NK cell-mediated eradication. Because the down-regulation of NKG2D ligands occurred at the transcriptional level, we tested 32 chemical inhibitors of epigenetic regulators for their ability to re-express NKG2D ligands and enhance HCC cell eradication by NK cells and found that Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) was a transcriptional repressor of NKG2D ligands. The inhibition of EZH2 by small-molecule inhibitors or genetic means enhanced HCC cell eradication by NK cells in a NKG2D ligand-dependent manner. Collectively, these results demonstrate that EZH2 inhibition enhances HCC eradication by NK cells and that EZH2 functions, in part, as an oncogene by inhibiting immune response.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bugide S; Green MR; Wajapeyee N
  • Start Page

  • E3509
  • End Page

  • E3518
  • Volume

  • 115
  • Issue

  • 15