Background: Long Interspersed Nuclear Element-1 (LINE-1, L1) is increasingly regarded as a genetic risk for lung cancer. Transcriptionally active LINE-1 forms a L1-gene chimeric transcript (LCTs), through somatic L1 retrotransposition (LRT) or L1 antisense promoter (L1-ASP) activation, to play an oncogenic role in cancer progression. Methods: Here, we developed Retrotransposon-gene fusion estimation program (ReFuse), to identify and quantify LCTs in RNA sequencing data from TCGA lung cancer cohort (n = 1146) and a single cell RNA sequencing dataset then further validated those LCTs in an independent cohort (n = 134). We next examined the functional roles of a cancer specific LCT (L1-FGGY) in cell proliferation and tumor progression in LUSC cell lines and mice. Results: The LCT events correspond with specific metabolic processes and mitochondrial functions and was associated with genomic instability, hypomethylation, tumor stage and tumor immune microenvironment (TIME). Functional analysis of a tumor specific and frequent LCT involving FGGY (L1-FGGY) reveal that the arachidonic acid (AA) metabolic pathway was activated by the loss of FGGY through the L1-FGGY chimeric transcript to promote tumor growth, which was effectively targeted by a combined use of an anti-HIV drug (NVR) and a metabolic inhibitor (ML355). Lastly, we identified a set of transcriptomic signatures to stratify the LUSC patients with a higher risk for poor outcomes who may benefit from treatments using NVR alone or combined with an anti-metabolism drug. Conclusions: This study is the first to characterize the role of L1 in metabolic reprogramming of lung cancer and provide rationale for L1-specifc prognosis and potential for a therapeutic strategy for treating lung cancer. Trial registration: Study on the mechanisms of the mobile element L1-FGGY promoting the proliferation, invasion and immune escape of lung squamous cell carcinoma through the 12-LOX/Wnt pathway, Ek2020111. Registered 27 March 2020 ‐ Retrospectively registered.
- Transposable element