Supplementary Material for: Long Non-Coding RNA H19 Acts as an Estrogen Receptor Modulator that is Required for Endocrine Therapy Resistance in ER+ Breast Cancer Cells

Background/Aims: Blocking estrogen signaling with endocrine therapies (Tamoxifen or Fulverstrant) is an effective treatment for Estrogen Receptor-α positive (ER+) breast cancer tumours. Unfortunately, development of endocrine therapy resistance (ETR) is a frequent event resulting in disease relapse and decreased overall patient survival. The long noncoding RNA, H19, was previously shown to play a significant role in estrogen-induced proliferation of both normal and malignant ER+ breast epithelial cells. We hypothesized that H19 expression is also important for the proliferation and survival of ETR cells. Methods: Here we utilized established ETR cell models; the Tamoxifen (Tam)-resistant LCC2 and the Fulvestrant and Tam cross-resistant LCC9 cells. Gain and loss of H19 function were achieved through lentiviral transduction as well as pharmacological inhibitors of the Notch and c-Met receptor signaling pathways. The effects of altered H19 expression on cell viability and ETR were assessed using three-dimensional (3D) organoid cultures and 2D co-cultures with low passage tumour-associated fbroblasts (TAFs). Results: Here we report that treating ETR cells with Tam or Fulvestrant increases H19 expression and that it’s decreased expression overcomes resistance to Tam and Fulvestrant in these cells. Interestingly, H19 expression is regulated by Notch and HGF signaling in the ETR cells and pharmacological inhibitors of Notch and c-MET signaling together significantly reverse resistance to Tam and Fulvestrant in an H19-dependent manner in these cells. Lastly, we demonstrate that H19 regulates ERα expression at the transcript and protein levels in the ETR cells and that H19 protects ERα against Fulvestrant-mediated downregulation of ERα protein. We also observed that blocking Notch and the c-MET receptor signaling also overcomes Fulvestrant and Tam resistance in 3D organoid cultures by decreasing ERα and H19 expression in the ETR cells. Conclusion: In endocrine therapy resistant breast cancer cells Fulvestrant is ineffective in decreasing ERα levels. Our data suggest that in the ETR cells, H19 expression acts as an ER modulator and that its levels and subsequently ERα levels can be substantially decreased by blocking Notch and c-MET receptor signaling. Consequently, treating ETR cells with these pharmacological inhibitors helps overcome resistance to Fulvestrant and Tamoxifen.