MAPK-pathway inhibition mediates inflammatory reprogramming and sensitizes tumors to targeted activation of innate immunity sensor RIG-I

Johannes Brägelmann, Carina Lorenz, Sven Borchmann, Kazuya Nishii, Julia Wegner, Lydia Meder, Jenny Ostendorp, David F. Ast, Alena Heimsoeth, Takamasa Nakasuka, Atsuko Hirabae, Sachi Okawa, Marcel A. Dammert, Dennis Plenker, Sebastian Klein, Philipp Lohneis, Jianing Gu, Laura K. Godfrey, Jan Forster, Marija Trajkovic-ArsicThomas Zillinger, Mareike Haarmann, Alexander Quaas, Stefanie Lennartz, Marcel Schmiel, Joshua D’Rozario, Emily S. Thomas, Henry Li, Clemens A. Schmitt, Julie George, Roman K. Thomas, Silvia von Karstedt, Gunther Hartmann, Reinhard Büttner, Roland T. Ullrich, Jens T. Siveke, Kadoaki Ohashi, Martin Schlee, Martin L. Sos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Kinase inhibitors suppress the growth of oncogene driven cancer but also enforce the selection of treatment resistant cells that are thought to promote tumor relapse in patients. Here, we report transcriptomic and functional genomics analyses of cells and tumors within their microenvironment across different genotypes that persist during kinase inhibitor treatment. We uncover a conserved, MAPK/IRF1-mediated inflammatory response in tumors that undergo stemness- and senescence-associated reprogramming. In these tumor cells, activation of the innate immunity sensor RIG-I via its agonist IVT4, triggers an interferon and a pro-apoptotic response that synergize with concomitant kinase inhibition. In humanized lung cancer xenografts and a syngeneic Egfr-driven lung cancer model these effects translate into reduction of exhausted CD8+ T cells and robust tumor shrinkage. Overall, the mechanistic understanding of MAPK/IRF1-mediated intratumoral reprogramming may ultimately prolong the efficacy of targeted drugs in genetically defined cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5505
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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