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Co-occurring genomic alterations define major subsets of KRAS-mutant lung adenocarcinoma with distinct biology, immune profiles, and therapeutic vulnerabilities.
ABSTRACT: UNLABELLED:The molecular underpinnings that drive the heterogeneity of KRAS-mutant lung adenocarcinoma are poorly characterized. We performed an integrative analysis of genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic data from early-stage and chemorefractory lung adenocarcinoma and identified three robust subsets of KRAS-mutant lung adenocarcinoma dominated, respectively, by co-occurring genetic events in STK11/LKB1 (the KL subgroup), TP53 (KP), and CDKN2A/B inactivation coupled with low expression of the NKX2-1 (TTF1) transcription factor (KC). We further revealed biologically and therapeutically relevant differences between the subgroups. KC tumors frequently exhibited mucinous histology and suppressed mTORC1 signaling. KL tumors had high rates of KEAP1 mutational inactivation and expressed lower levels of immune markers, including PD-L1. KP tumors demonstrated higher levels of somatic mutations, inflammatory markers, immune checkpoint effector molecules, and improved relapse-free survival. Differences in drug sensitivity patterns were also observed; notably, KL cells showed increased vulnerability to HSP90-inhibitor therapy. This work provides evidence that co-occurring genomic alterations identify subgroups of KRAS-mutant lung adenocarcinoma with distinct biology and therapeutic vulnerabilities. SIGNIFICANCE:Co-occurring genetic alterations in STK11/LKB1, TP53, and CDKN2A/B-the latter coupled with low TTF1 expression-define three major subgroups of KRAS-mutant lung adenocarcinoma with distinct biology, patterns of immune-system engagement, and therapeutic vulnerabilities.
Project description:Despite extensive efforts, oncogenic KRAS remains resistant to targeted therapy. Combined downstream RAL-TBK1 and MEK inhibition induces only transient lung tumor shrinkage in KRAS-driven genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs). Using the sensitive KRAS;LKB1 (KL) mutant background, we identify YAP1 upregulation and a therapy-induced secretome as mediators of acquired resistance. This program is reversible, associated with H3K27 promoter acetylation, and suppressed by BET inhibition, resensitizing resistant KL cells to TBK1/MEK inhibition. Constitutive YAP1 signaling promotes intrinsic resistance in KRAS;TP53 (KP) mutant lung cancer. Intermittent treatment with the BET inhibitor JQ1 thus overcomes resistance to combined pathway inhibition in KL and KP GEMMs. Using potent and selective TBK1 and BET inhibitors we further develop an effective therapeutic strategy with potential translatability to the clinic.
Project description:KRAS-driven lung cancers frequently inactivate TP53 and/or STK11/LKB1, defining tumor subclasses with emerging clinical relevance. Specifically, KRAS-LKB1 (KL)-mutant lung cancers are particularly aggressive, lack PD-L1, and respond poorly to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB). The mechanistic basis for this impaired immunogenicity, despite the overall high mutational load of KRAS-mutant lung cancers, remains obscure. Here, we report that LKB1 loss results in marked silencing of stimulator of interferon genes (STING) expression and insensitivity to cytoplasmic double-strand DNA (dsDNA) sensing. This effect is mediated at least in part by hyperactivation of DNMT1 and EZH2 activity related to elevated S-adenylmethionine levels and reinforced by DNMT1 upregulation. Ectopic expression of STING in KL cells engages IRF3 and STAT1 signaling downstream of TBK1 and impairs cellular fitness, due to the pathologic accumulation of cytoplasmic mitochondrial dsDNA associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. Thus, silencing of STING avoids these negative consequences of LKB1 inactivation, while facilitating immune escape. SIGNIFICANCE: Oncogenic KRAS-mutant lung cancers remain treatment-refractory and are resistant to ICB in the setting of LKB1 loss. These results begin to uncover the key underlying mechanism and identify strategies to restore STING expression, with important therapeutic implications because mitochondrial dysfunction is an obligate component of this tumor subtype.See related commentary by Corte and Byers, p. 16.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1.
Project description:Metabolic reprogramming by oncogenic signals promotes cancer initiation and progression. The oncogene KRAS and tumour suppressor STK11, which encodes the kinase LKB1, regulate metabolism and are frequently mutated in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Concurrent occurrence of oncogenic KRAS and loss of LKB1 (KL) in cells specifies aggressive oncological behaviour. Here we show that human KL cells and tumours share metabolomic signatures of perturbed nitrogen handling. KL cells express the urea cycle enzyme carbamoyl phosphate synthetase-1 (CPS1), which produces carbamoyl phosphate in the mitochondria from ammonia and bicarbonate, initiating nitrogen disposal. Transcription of CPS1 is suppressed by LKB1 through AMPK, and CPS1 expression correlates inversely with LKB1 in human NSCLC. Silencing CPS1 in KL cells induces cell death and reduces tumour growth. Notably, cell death results from pyrimidine depletion rather than ammonia toxicity, as CPS1 enables an unconventional pathway of nitrogen flow from ammonia into pyrimidines. CPS1 loss reduces the pyrimidine to purine ratio, compromises S-phase progression and induces DNA-polymerase stalling and DNA damage. Exogenous pyrimidines reverse DNA damage and rescue growth. The data indicate that the KL oncological genotype imposes a metabolic vulnerability related to a dependence on a cross-compartmental pathway of pyrimidine metabolism in an aggressive subset of NSCLC.
Project description:In KRAS-mutant lung adenocarcinoma, tumors with LKB1 loss (KL) are highly enriched for concurrent KEAP1 mutations, which activate the KEAP1/NRF2 pathway (KLK). Here, we investigated the biological consequences of these cooccurring alterations and explored whether they conferred specific therapeutic vulnerabilities. Compared with KL tumors, KLK tumors exhibited increased expression of genes involved in glutamine metabolism, the tricarboxylic acid cycle, and the redox homeostasis signature. Using isogenic pairs with knockdown or overexpression of LKB1, KEAP1, and NRF2, we found that LKB1 loss results in increased energetic and redox stress marked by increased levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species and decreased levels of ATP, NADPH/NADP+ ratio, and glutathione. Activation of the KEAP1/NRF2 axis in LKB1-deficient cells enhanced cell survival and played a critical role in the maintenance of energetic and redox homeostasis in a glutamine-dependent manner. LKB1 and the KEAP1/NRF2 pathways cooperatively drove metabolic reprogramming and enhanced sensitivity to the glutaminase inhibitor CB-839 in vitro and in vivo. Overall, these findings elucidate the adaptive advantage provided by KEAP1/NRF2 pathway activation in KL tumors and support clinical testing of glutaminase inhibitor in subsets of KRAS-mutant lung adenocarcinoma. SIGNIFICANCE: In KRAS-mutant non-small cell lung cancer, LKB1 loss results in enhanced energetic/redox stress, which is tolerated, in part, through cooccurring KEAP1/NRF2-dependent metabolic adaptations, thus enhancing glutamine dependence and vulnerability to glutaminase inhibition.Graphical Abstract: http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/canres/79/13/3251/F1.large.jpg.
Project description:LKB1 regulates both cell growth and energy metabolism. It remains unclear how LKB1 inactivation coordinates tumor progression with metabolic adaptation in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Here in Kras(G12D);Lkb1(lox/lox) (KL) mouse model, we reveal differential reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in lung adenocarcinoma (ADC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). ROS can modulate ADC-to-SCC transdifferentiation (AST). Further, pentose phosphate pathway deregulation and impaired fatty acid oxidation collectively contribute to the redox imbalance and functionally affect AST. Similar tumor and redox heterogeneity also exist in human NSCLC with LKB1 inactivation. In preclinical trials toward metabolic stress, certain KL ADC can develop drug resistance through squamous transdifferentiation. This study uncovers critical redox control of tumor plasticity that may affect therapeutic response in NSCLC.
Project description:STK11/LKB1 is among the most commonly inactivated tumor suppressors in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), especially in tumors harboring KRAS mutations. Many oncogenes promote immune escape, undermining the effectiveness of immunotherapies, but it is unclear whether the inactivation of tumor suppressor genes, such as STK11/LKB1, exerts similar effects. In this study, we investigated the consequences of STK11/LKB1 loss on the immune microenvironment in a mouse model of KRAS-driven NSCLC. Genetic ablation of STK11/LKB1 resulted in accumulation of neutrophils with T-cell-suppressive effects, along with a corresponding increase in the expression of T-cell exhaustion markers and tumor-promoting cytokines. The number of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes was also reduced in LKB1-deficient mouse and human tumors. Furthermore, STK11/LKB1-inactivating mutations were associated with reduced expression of PD-1 ligand PD-L1 in mouse and patient tumors as well as in tumor-derived cell lines. Consistent with these results, PD-1-targeting antibodies were ineffective against Lkb1-deficient tumors. In contrast, treating Lkb1-deficient mice with an IL6-neutralizing antibody or a neutrophil-depleting antibody yielded therapeutic benefits associated with reduced neutrophil accumulation and proinflammatory cytokine expression. Our findings illustrate how tumor suppressor mutations can modulate the immune milieu of the tumor microenvironment, and they offer specific implications for addressing STK11/LKB1-mutated tumors with PD-1-targeting antibody therapies.
Project description:The LKB1/STK11 tumor suppressor encodes a serine/threonine kinase, which coordinates cell growth, polarity, motility, and metabolism. In non-small cell lung carcinoma, LKB1 is somatically inactivated in 25% to 30% of cases, often concurrently with activating KRAS mutations. Here, we used an integrative approach to define novel therapeutic targets in KRAS-driven LKB1-mutant lung cancers. High-throughput RNA interference screens in lung cancer cell lines from genetically engineered mouse models driven by activated KRAS with or without coincident Lkb1 deletion led to the identification of Dtymk, encoding deoxythymidylate kinase (DTYMK), which catalyzes dTTP biosynthesis, as synthetically lethal with Lkb1 deficiency in mouse and human lung cancer lines. Global metabolite profiling showed that Lkb1-null cells had a striking decrease in multiple nucleotide metabolites as compared with the Lkb1-wild-type cells. Thus, LKB1-mutant lung cancers have deficits in nucleotide metabolism that confer hypersensitivity to DTYMK inhibition, suggesting that DTYMK is a potential therapeutic target in this aggressive subset of tumors.
Project description:Whether invasive mucinous adenocarcinoma (IMA) and colloid adenocarcinoma (ICA) of the lung represent separate tumour entities, or simply lie within a spectrum of phenotypic variability, is worth investigating. Fifteen ICA, 12 IMA, 9 ALK-rearranged adenocarcinomas (ALKA), 8 non-mucinous KRAS-mutated adenocarcinomas (KRASA) and 9 mucinous breast adenocarcinomas (MBA) were assessed by immunohistochemistry for alveolar (TTF1, cytoplasmic MUC1), intestinal (CDX-2, MUC2), gastric (membrane MUC1, MUC6), bronchial (MUC5AC), mesenchymal (vimentin), neuroendocrine (chromogranin A, synaptophysin), sex steroid hormone-related (oestrogen and progesterone receptors), pan-mucinous (HNF4A) and pan-epithelial (keratin 7) lineage biomarkers and by targeted next generation sequencing (TNGS) for 50 recurrently altered cancer genes. Unsupervised clustering analysis using molecular features identified cluster 1 (IMA and ICA), cluster 2 (ALKA and KRASA) and cluster 3 (MBA) (p?<?0.0001). Cluster 1 showed four histology-independent sub-clusters (S1 to S4) pooled by HFN4A and MUC5AC but diversely reacting for TTF1, MUC1, MUC2, MUC6 and CDX2. Sub-cluster S1 predominantly featured intestinal-alveolar, S2 gastrointestinal, S3 gastric and S4 alveolar differentiation. In turn, KRASA and ALKA shared alveolar lineage alongside residual MUC5AC expression, with additional focal CDX2 and diffuse vimentin, respectively. A proximal-to-distal scheme extending from terminal (TB) and respiratory (RB) bronchioles to alveolar cells was devised, where S3 originated from distal TB (cellular mucinous adenocarcinoma), S2 from proximal RB (secreting mucinous adenocarcinoma), S1 from intermediate RB (mucin lake-forming colloid adenocarcinoma), S4 from distal RB (colloid alveolar adenocarcinoma), KRASA from juxta-alveolar RB (KRAS-mutated non-mucinous adenocarcinoma) and ALKA from juxta-bronchial alveolar cells (ALK-translocated adenocarcinoma). TNGS analysis showed KRAS, LKB1, TP53, APC and CDKN2A mutation predominance. In conclusion, IMA and ICA are basket categories, which likely originate from distinct domains of stem/progenitor cells spatially distributed along bronchioles upon common molecular features and genetic alterations.