Research Papers:

Dasatinib induces DNA damage and activates DNA repair pathways leading to senescence in non-small cell lung cancer cell lines with kinase-inactivating BRAF mutations

Shaohua Peng, Banibrata Sen, Tuhina Mazumdar, Lauren A. Byers, Lixia Diao, Jing Wang, Pan Tong, Uma Giri, John V. Heymach, Humam N. Kadara and Faye M. Johnson _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:565-579. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.6376

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Shaohua Peng1, Banibrata Sen1,2,*, Tuhina Mazumdar1, Lauren A. Byers1,3, Lixia Diao4, Jing Wang3,4, Pan Tong4, Uma Giri1, John V. Heymach1,3, Humam N. Kadara5, Faye M. Johnson1,3

1Department of Thoracic/Head & Neck Medical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA

2AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, London, UK

3The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Houston, Texas, USA

4Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA

5Department of Translational Molecular Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA

*Dr. Banibrata Sen was employed at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center at the time this research was performed

Correspondence to:

Faye M. Johnson, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: lung cancer, BRAF, TAZ, DNA damage, kinase inhibition

Received: June 03, 2015     Accepted: November 14, 2015     Published: November 23, 2015


Improved therapies are greatly needed for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that does not harbor targetable kinase mutations or translocations. We previously demonstrated that NSCLC cells that harbor kinase-inactivating BRAF mutations (KIBRAF) undergo senescence when treated with the multitargeted kinase inhibitor dasatinib. Similarly, treatment with dasatinib resulted in a profound and durable response in a patient with KIBRAF NSCLC. However, no canonical pathways explain dasatinib-induced senescence in KIBRAF NSCLC. To investigate the underlying mechanism, we used 2 approaches: gene expression and reverse phase protein arrays. Both approaches showed that DNA repair pathways were differentially modulated between KIBRAF NSCLC cells and those with wild-type (WT) BRAF. Consistent with these findings, dasatinib induced DNA damage and activated DNA repair pathways leading to senescence only in the KIBRAF cells. Moreover, dasatinib-induced senescence was dependent on Chk1 and p21, proteins known to mediate DNA damage-induced senescence. Dasatinib also led to a marked decrease in TAZ but not YAP protein levels. Overexpression of TAZ inhibited dasatinib-induced senescence. To investigate other vulnerabilities in KIBRAF NSCLC cells, we compared the sensitivity of these cells with that of WTBRAF NSCLC cells to 79 drugs and identified a pattern of sensitivity to EGFR and MEK inhibitors in the KIBRAF cells. Clinically approved EGFR and MEK inhibitors, which are better tolerated than dasatinib, could be used to treat KIBRAF NSCLC. Our novel finding that dasatinib induced DNA damage and subsequently activated DNA repair pathways leading to senescence in KIBRAF NSCLC cells represents a unique vulnerability with potential clinical applications.

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