Cancer Lett. 2020 Aug 16:S0304-3835(20)30421-3. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2020.08.008. Online ahead of print.
Kirsten rat sarcoma virus oncogene homolog (KRAS) mutant lung cancer remains a challenge to cure and chemotherapy is the current standard treatment in the clinic. Hence, understanding molecular mechanisms underlying the sensitivity of KRAS mutant lung cancer to chemotherapy could help uncover unique strategies to treat this disease. Here we report a compound library screen and identification of cardiac glycosides as agents that selectively enhance the in vitro and in vivo effects of chemotherapy
on KRAS mutant lung cancer. Quantitative mass spectrometry reveals that cardiac glycosides inhibit DNA double strand break (DSB) repair through suppressing the expression of UHRF1, an important DSB repair factor. Inhibition of UHRF1 by cardiac glycosides was mediated by specific suppression of the oncogenic KRAS pathway. Overexpression of UHRF1 rescued DSB repair inhibited by cardiac glycosides and depletion of UHRF1 enhanced glycoside-enhanced chemotherapeutic drug sensitivity in KRAS mutant lung cancer cells. Our study reveals a targetable dependency on UHRF1-stimulated DSB repair in KRAS mutant lung cancer in response to chemotherapy.