Senescence induction contributes to cancer therapy responses and is crucial for p53-mediated tumor suppression. However, whether p53 inactivation actively suppresses senescence induction has been unclear. Here, we show that E2F1 overexpression, due to p53 or p21 inactivation, promotes expression of human oncoprotein CIP2A, which in turn, by inhibiting PP2A activity, increases stabilizing serine 364 phosphorylation of E2F1. Several lines of evidence show that increased activity of E2F1-CIP2A feedback renders breast cancer cells resistant to senescence induction. Importantly, mammary tumorigenesis is impaired in a CIP2A-defi cient mouse model, and CIP2A-defi cient tumors display markers of senescence induction. Moreover, high CIP2A expression predicts for poor prognosis in a subgroup of patients with breast cancer treated with senescence-inducing chemotherapy. Together, these results implicate the E2F1-CIP2A feedback loop as a key determinant of breast cancer cell sensitivity to senescence induction. This feedback loop also constitutes a promising prosenescence target for therapy of cancers with an inactivated p53-p21 pathway. SIGNIFICANCE: It has been recently realized that most currently used chemotherapies exert their therapeutic effect at least partly by induction of terminal cell arrest, senescence. However, the mechanisms by which cell-intrinsic senescence sensitivity is determined are poorly understood. Results of this study identify the E2F1-CIP2A positive feedback loop as a key determinant of breast cancer cell sensitivity to senescence and growth arrest induction. Our data also indicate that this newly characterized interplay between 2 frequently overexpressed oncoproteins constitutes a promising prosenescence target for therapy of cancers with inactivated p53 and p21. Finally, these results may also facilitate novel stratifi cation strategies for selection of patients to receive senescence-inducing cancer therapies.
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