Hookah Smoke Mediates Cancer-Associated Epigenomic and Transcriptomic Signatures in Human Respiratory Epithelial Cells

Yin Xiong, Sichuan Xi, Sudheer Kumar Gara, Jigui Shan, James Gao, Mary Zhang, Vivek Shukla, Ruihong Wang, Chuong D. Hoang, Haobin Chen, David S. Schrump

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Although communal smoking of hookah by means of water pipes is perceived to be a safe alternative to cigarette smoking, the effects of hookah smoke in respiratory epithelia have not been well characterized. This study evaluated epigenomic and transcriptomic effects of hookah smoke relative to cigarette smoke in human respiratory epithelial cells. Methods: Primary normal human small airway epithelial cells from three donors and cdk4 and hTERT-immortalized small airway epithelial cells and human bronchial epithelial cells were cultured for 5 days in normal media with or without cigarette smoke condensates (CSCs) or water pipe condensates (WPCs). Cell count, immunoblot, RNA sequencing, quantitative real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction, and quantitative chromatin immunoprecipitation techniques were used to compare effects of hookah and cigarette smoke on cell proliferation, global histone marks, gene expression, and promoter-related chromatin structure. Results: CSC and WPC decreased global H4K16ac and H4K20me3 histone marks and mediated distinct and overlapping cancer-associated transcriptome signatures and pathway modulations that were cell line dependent and stratified across lung cancer cells in a histology-specific manner. Epiregulin encoding a master regulator of EGFR signaling that is overexpressed in lung cancers was up-regulated, whereas FILIP1L and ABI3BP encoding mediators of senescence that are repressed in lung cancers were down-regulated by CSC and WPC. Induction of epiregulin and repression of FILIP1L and ABI3BP by these condensates coincided with unique epigenetic alterations within the respective promoters. Conclusions: These findings support translational studies to ascertain if hookah-mediated epigenomic and transcriptomic alterations in cultured respiratory epithelia are detectable and clinically relevant in hookah smokers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100181
JournalJTO Clinical and Research Reports
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • ABI3BP
  • Cigarette smoke
  • EREG
  • Hookah smoke
  • Respiratory epithelia


Dive into the research topics of 'Hookah Smoke Mediates Cancer-Associated Epigenomic and Transcriptomic Signatures in Human Respiratory Epithelial Cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this