Current Site Of Practice: Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Hospital Affiliation: Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women's Hospital
Focus of Research: Cell Cycle Regulation And Development Of A Screen For P16 Mutants
Fellowship Year: 1997 – 1999
Attended: Harvard Medical School
Co-Authors Vasudevan KM*, Davies MA*, Hahn WC, Garraway LA (*co-first authors)
Dysregulation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway occurs frequently in human cancer. PTEN tumor suppressor or PIK3CA oncogene mutations both direct PI3K-dependent tumorigenesis largely through activation of the AKT/PKB kinase. However, here we show through phosphoprotein profiling and functional genomic studies that many PIK3CA mutant cancer cell lines and human breast tumors exhibit only minimal AKT activation and a diminished reliance on AKT for anchorage-independent growth. Instead, these cells retain robust PDK1 activation and membrane localization and exhibit dependency on the PDK1 substrate SGK3. SGK3 undergoes PI3K- and PDK1-dependent activation in PIK3CA mutant cancer cells. Thus, PI3K may promote cancer through both AKT-dependent and AKT-independent mechanisms. Knowledge of differential PI3K/PDK1 signaling could inform rational therapeutics in cancers harboring PIK3CA mutations.
Co-Authors Tamayo P, Boehm JS, Kim SY, Moody SE, Hahn WC
The proto-oncogene KRAS is mutated in a wide array of human cancers, most of which are aggressive and respond poorly to standard therapies. Although the identification of specific oncogenes has led to the development of clinically effective, molecularly targeted therapies in some cases, KRAS has remained refractory to this approach. A complementary strategy for targeting KRAS is to identify gene products that, when inhibited, result in cell death only in the presence of an oncogenic allele. Here we have used systematic RNA interference to detect synthetic lethal partners of oncogenic KRAS and found that the non-canonical IkappaB kinase TBK1 was selectively essential in cells that contain mutant KRAS. Suppression of TBK1 induced apoptosis specifically in human cancer cell lines that depend on oncogenic KRAS expression. In these cells, TBK1 activated NF-kappaB anti-apoptotic signals involving c-Rel and BCL-XL (also known as BCL2L1) that were essential for survival, providing mechanistic insights into this synthetic lethal interaction. These observations indicate that TBK1 and NF-kappaB signalling are essential in KRAS mutant tumours, and establish a general approach for the rational identification of co-dependent pathways in cancer.