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Genome Biol. 2013 Apr 29;14(4):R37. doi: 10.1186/gb-2013-14-4-r37.

Phosphoproteomics data classify hematological cancer cell lines according to tumor type and sensitivity to kinase inhibitors.



Tumor classification based on their predicted responses to kinase inhibitors is a major goal for advancing targeted personalized therapies. Here, we used a phosphoproteomic approach to investigate biological heterogeneity across hematological cancer cell lines including acute myeloid leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.


Mass spectrometry was used to quantify 2,000 phosphorylation sites across three acute myeloid leukemia, three lymphoma, and three multiple myeloma cell lines in six biological replicates. The intensities of the phosphorylation sites grouped these cancer cell lines according to their tumor type. In addition, a phosphoproteomic analysis of seven acute myeloid leukemia cell lines revealed a battery of phosphorylation sites whose combined intensities correlated with the growth-inhibitory responses to three kinase inhibitors with remarkable correlation coefficients and fold changes (> 100 between the most resistant and sensitive cells). Modeling based on regression analysis indicated that a subset of phosphorylation sites could be used to predict response to the tested drugs. Quantitative analysis of phosphorylation motifs indicated that resistant and sensitive cells differed in their patterns of kinase activities, but, interestingly, phosphorylations correlating with responses were not on members of the pathway being targeted; instead, these mainly were on parallel kinase pathways.


This study reveals that the information on kinase activation encoded in phosphoproteomics data correlates remarkably well with the phenotypic responses of cancer cells to compounds that target kinase signaling and could be useful for the identification of novel markers of resistance or sensitivity to drugs that target the signaling network.

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