Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women, accounting for one-quarter of total cancer-related mortality globally. Lung adenocarcinoma is the major subtype of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and accounts for around 40% of lung cancer cases. Lung adenocarcinoma is a highly heterogeneous disease and patients often display variable histopathological morphology, genetic alterations, and genomic aberrations. Recent advances in transcriptomic and genetic profiling of lung adenocarcinoma by investigators, including our group, has provided better stratification of this heterogeneous disease, which can facilitate devising better treatment strategies suitable for targeted patient cohorts. In a recent study we have shown gene expression profiling identified novel clustering of early stage LUAD patients and correlated with tumor invasiveness and patient survival. In this study, we focused on copy number alterations in LUAD patients. SNP array data identified amplification at chromosome 12q15 on MDM2 locus and protein overexpression in a subclass of LUAD patients with an invasive subtype of the disease. High copy number amplification and protein expression in this subclass correlated with poor overall sur-vival. We hypothesized that MDM2 copy number and overexpression predict response to MDM2-targeted therapy. In vitro functional data on a panel of LUAD cells showed that MDM2-targeted therapy effectively suppresses cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in cells with MDM2 am-plification/overexpression but not in cells without MDM2 amplification, independent of p53 status. To determine the key signaling mechanisms, we used RNA sequencing (RNA seq) to examine the response to therapy in MDM2-amplified/overexpressing p53 mutant and wild-type LUAD cells. RNA seq data shows that in MDM2-amplified/overexpression with p53 wild-type condition, the E2F → PEG10 → MMPs pathway is operative, while in p53 mutant genetic background, MDM2-targeted therapy abrogates tumor progression in LUAD cells by suppressing epithelial to mesen-chymal transition (EMT) signaling. Our study provides a potentially clinically relevant strategy of selecting LUAD patients for MDM2-targeted therapy that may provide for increased response rates and, thus, better survival.
- Early-stage lung adenocarcinoma
- MDM2 copy number
- Therapy response
- Tumor heterogeneity