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Molecular basis of the cross-talk between chronic inflammation and cancer

Project description

The road from inflammation to cancer

Inflammation involves the activation and recruitment of cells and factors from the adaptive and innate immune systems at a site of infection or damage. Initially recognised as a key defence process against pathogens, inflammation is now known to contribute to cancer formation. Understanding the molecular determinants of inflammatory pathways in cancer will help develop more effective therapies. Funded by the European Research Council, the CrlC project will focus on the SLX4 DNA damage repair complex, which is mutated in Fanconi Anemia (FA), a syndrome characterised by increased cancer susceptibility and a defective immune system. The working hypothesis is that chronic inflammation emerges because pathological nucleic acids are recognised by the immune system.


Cancer related inflammation (CRI) is a well-established hallmark of cancer. We recently demonstrated that the DNA damage repair SLX4 complex suppresses spontaneous and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-dependent pro-inflammatory cytokine production, revealing a role for this DNA repair complex in controlling innate immune responses. Bi-allelic mutations in SLX4 are involved in the onset of Fanconi Anemia (FA), a syndrome characterized, besides heightened cancer susceptibility, by severe defects of the immune system, resulting from increased pro-inflammatory cytokine levels and progressive bone marrow failure. Within this proposal, using SLX4-deficiency as a working model, I aim at investigating the molecular process underlying CRI. Based on our previous observation that the SLX4 complex binds to HIV-derived reverse-transcripts and promotes their degradation, my working hypothesis is that CRI results from the accumulation of endogenous pathological nucleic acids that are recognized by the innate immune system in the absence of SLX4. The present project should unveil the relationship between repression of pro-inflammatory cytokine production by proteins involved in DNA repair, DNA damage, and CRI, thereby opening unforeseen perspectives in the treatment of cancer patients.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 1 500 000,00
75794 Paris

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Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 1 500 000,00

Beneficiaries (1)