Inhibition of XPO1 Sensitizes Small Cell Lung Cancer to First- and Second-Line Chemotherapy

Alvaro Quintanal-Villalong, Hirokazu Taniguchi, Yuan Hao, Andrew Chow, Yingqian A. Zhan, Shweta S. Chavan, Fathema Uddin, Viola Allaj, Parvathy Manoj, Nisargbhai S. Shah, Joseph M. Chan, Michael Offin, Metamia Ciampricotti, Jordana Ray-Kirto, Jacklynn Egger, Umesh Bhanot, Irina Linkov, Marina Asher, Michael H. Roehrl, Juan QiuElisa De Stanchina, Travis J. Hollmann, Richard P. Koche, Triparna Sen, John T. Poirier, Charles M. Rudin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is an aggressive malignancy characterized by early metastasis and extreme lethality. The backbone of SCLC treatment over the past several decades has been platinumbased doublet chemotherapy, with the recent addition of immunotherapy providing modest benefits in a subset of patients. However, nearly all patients treated with systemic therapy quickly develop resistant disease, and there is an absence of effective therapies for recurrent and progressive disease. Here we conducted CRISPR-Cas9 screens using a druggable genome library in multiple SCLC cell lines representing distinct molecular subtypes. This screen nominated exportin-1, encoded by XPO1, as a therapeutic target. XPO1 was highly and ubiquitously expressed in SCLC relative to other lung cancer histologies and other tumor types. XPO1 knockout enhanced chemosensitivity, and exportin-1 inhibition demonstrated synergy with both first- and second-line chemotherapy. The small molecule exportin-1 inhibitor selinexor in combination with cisplatin or irinotecan dramatically inhibited tumor growth in chemonaïve and chemorelapsed SCLC patient-derived xenografts, respectively. Together these data identify exportin-1 as a promising therapeutic target in SCLC, with the potential to markedly augment the efficacy of cytotoxic agents commonly used in treating this disease. Significance: CRISPR-Cas9 screening nominates exportin-1 as a therapeutic target in SCLC, and exportin-1 inhibition enhances chemotherapy efficacy in patient-derived xenografts, providing a novel therapeutic opportunity in this disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)472-483
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes


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