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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Chemistry
- General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Physics and Astronomy