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Analysis of pulsed cisplatin signalling dynamics identifies effectors of resistance in lung adenocarcinoma


The identification of clinically viable strategies for overcoming resistance to platinum chemotherapy in lung adenocarcinoma has previously been hampered by inappropriately tailored in vitro assays of drug response. Therefore, using a pulse model that closely mimics the in vivo pharmacokinetics of platinum therapy, we profiled cisplatin-induced signalling, DNA-damage and apoptotic responses across a panel of human lung adenocarcinoma cell lines. By coupling this data to real-time, single-cell imaging of cell cycle and apoptosis we provide a fine-grained stratification of response, where a P70S6K-mediated signalling axis promotes resistance on a TP53 wildtype or null background, but not a mutant TP53 background. This finding highlights the value of in vitro models that match the physiological pharmacokinetics of drug exposure. Furthermore, it also demonstrates the importance of a mechanistic understanding of the interplay between somatic mutations and the signalling networks that govern drug response for the implementation of any consistently effective, patient-specific therapy. Lung adenocarcinoma is the most common type of lung cancer, and it emerges because of a variety of harmful genetic changes, or mutations. Two lung cancer patients - or indeed, two different sets of cancerous cells within a patient - may therefore carry different damaging mutations. A group of drugs called platinum-based chemotherapies are currently the most effective way to treat lung adenocarcinoma. Yet, only 30% of patients actually respond to the therapy. Many studies conducted in laboratory settings have tried to understand why most cases are resistant to treatment, with limited success. Here, Hastings, Gonzalez-Rajal et al. propose that previous research has been inconclusive because studies done in the laboratory do not reflect how the treatment is actually administered. In patients, platinum-based drugs are cleared from the body within a few hours, but during experiments, the treatment is continually administered to cells growing in a dish. Hastings, Gonzalez-Rajal et al. therefore developed a laboratory method that mimics the way cells are exposed to platinum-based chemotherapy in the body. These experiments showed that the lung adenocarcinoma cells which resisted treatment also carried high levels of a protein known as P70S6K. Pairing platinum-based chemotherapy with a drug that blocks the activity of P70S6K killed these resistant cells. This combination also treated human lung adenocarcinoma tumours growing under the skin of mice. However, it was ineffective on cancerous cells that carry a mutation in a protein called p53, which is often defective in cancers. Overall, this work demonstrates the need to refine how drugs are tested in the laboratory to better reflect real-life conditions. It also underlines the importance of personalizing drug combinations to the genetic background of each tumour, a concept that will be vital to consider in future clinical trials. eng

Type Journal
ISBN 2050-084X (Electronic) 2050-084X (Linking)
Authors Hastings, J. F.; Gonzalez Rajal, A.; Latham, S. L.; Han, J. Z.; McCloy, R. A.; O'Donnell, Y. E.; Phimmachanh, M.; Murphy, A. D.; Nagrial, A.; Daneshvar, D.; Chin, V.; Watkins, D. N.; Burgess, A.; Croucher, D. R.
Responsible Garvan Author A/Prof David Croucher
Publisher Name eLife
Published Date 2020-06-30
Published Volume 9
Published Pages e53367
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.7554/eLife.53367
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version