Combinatorial inactivation of tumor suppressors efficiently initiates lung adenocarcinoma with therapeutic vulnerabilities


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, with lung adenocarcinoma being the most common subtype. Many oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes are altered in this cancer type, and the discovery of oncogene mutations has led to the development of targeted therapies that have improved clinical outcomes. However, a large fraction of lung adenocarcinomas lacks mutations in known oncogenes, and the genesis and treatment of these oncogene-negative tumors remain enigmatic. Here, we perform iterative in vivo functional screens using quantitative autochthonous mouse model systems to uncover the genetic and biochemical changes that enable efficient lung tumor initiation in the absence of oncogene alterations. Generation of hundreds of diverse combinations of tumor suppressor alterations demonstrates that inactivation of suppressors of the RAS and PI3K pathways drives the development of oncogene-negative lung adenocarcinoma. Human genomic data and histology identified RAS/MAPK and PI3K pathway activation as a common feature of an event in oncogene-negative human lung adenocarcinomas. These Onc-negativeRAS/PI3K tumors and related cell lines are vulnerable to pharmacologic inhibition of these signaling axes. These results transform our understanding of this prevalent yet understudied subtype of lung adenocarcinoma. SIGNIFICANCE: To address the large fraction of lung adenocarcinomas lacking mutations in proto-oncogenes for which targeted therapies are unavailable, this work uncovers driver pathways of oncogene-negative lung adenocarcinomas and demonstrates their therapeutic vulnerabilities.

Journal details

Journal Cancer Research
Volume 82
Issue number 8
Pages 1589-1602
Available online
Publication date