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This article has been corrected. Correction in: Oncotarget. 2019; 10:6045-6046.

ABL kinase inhibition sensitizes primary lung adenocarcinomas to chemotherapy by promoting tumor cell differentiation

Aaditya Khatri, Jing Jin Gu, Courtney M. McKernan, Xia Xu and Ann Marie Pendergast _

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Oncotarget. 2019; 10:1874-1886. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.26740

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Aaditya Khatri1, Jing Jin Gu1, Courtney M. McKernan1, Xia Xu1 and Ann Marie Pendergast1

1 Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA

Correspondence to:

Ann Marie Pendergast, email: [email protected]

Keywords: lung adenocarcinoma; docetaxel; ABL kinases; differentiation; YAP1

Received: January 05, 2019    Accepted: February 15, 2019    Published: March 08, 2019


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in the United States, with an overall five-year survival rate of ~16%. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for ~80% of all lung cancer cases, and the majority (40%) of these are adenocarcinomas. Loss of function point mutations in TP53 (46%) and activating mutations in KRAS (33%) are the most common mutations in human lung adenocarcinomas. Because neither of these genetic alterations are clinically actionable, chemotherapy remains the mainstay of treatment in patients with oncogenic KRAS driver mutations. However, chemoresistance to genotoxic agents such as docetaxel remains a major clinical challenge facing lung cancer patients. Here we show that ABL kinase allosteric inhibitors can be effectively used for the treatment of KrasG12D/+; p53-/- lung adenocarcinomas in an autochthonous mouse model. Unexpectedly, we found that treatment of tumor-bearing mice with an ABL allosteric inhibitor promoted differentiation of lung adenocarcinomas from poorly differentiated tumors expressing basal cell markers to tumors expressing terminal differentiation markers in vivo, which rendered lung adenocarcinomas susceptible to chemotherapy. These findings uncover a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of lung adenocarcinomas with poor response to chemotherapy.

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