Aberrant epigenetic transcriptional regulation is linked to metastasis, a primary cause of cancer-related death. Dissecting the epigenetic mechanisms controlling metastatic progression may uncover important insights to tumor biology and potential therapeutic targets. Here, we investigated the role of the SIN3A histone deacetylase 1 and 2 (SIN3A–HDAC1/2) complex in cancer metastasis. Using a mouse model of melanoma metastasis, we found that the SIN3A–HDAC1/2 transcription repressor complex silences BMP6 expression, causing increased metastatic dissemination and tumor growth via suppression of BMP6-activated SMAD5 signaling. We further discovered that FAM83G/PAWS1, a downstream effector of BMP6–SMAD5 signaling, contributes critically to metastatic progression by promoting actin-dependent cytoskeletal dynamics and cell migration. Pharmacologic inhibition of the SIN3A–HDAC1/2 complex reduced the numbers of melanoma cells in the circulation and inhibited metastatic tumor growth by inducing disseminated cell dormancy, highlighting the SIN3A–HDAC1/2 repressor complex as a potential therapeutic target for blocking cancer metastasis.

Implications:

This study identifies the novel molecular links in the metastatic progression to target cytoskeletal dynamics in melanoma and identifies the SIN3A–HDAC1/2 complex and FAM83G/PAWS1 as potential targets for melanoma adjuvant therapy.

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