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Cancer Res. 2013 Oct 15;73(20):6289-98. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-1616. Epub 2013 Aug 26.

Integrative radiogenomic profiling of squamous cell lung cancer.

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Authors' Affiliations: Harvard Radiation Oncology Program; Division of Medical Sciences, Harvard University; Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School; Department of Medical Oncology, Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; Chemical Biology Program; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research; Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.


Radiotherapy is one of the mainstays of anticancer treatment, but the relationship between the radiosensitivity of cancer cells and their genomic characteristics is still not well defined. Here, we report the development of a high-throughput platform for measuring radiation survival in vitro and its validation in comparison with conventional clonogenic radiation survival analysis. We combined results from this high-throughput assay with genomic parameters in cell lines from squamous cell lung carcinoma, which is standardly treated by radiotherapy, to identify parameters that predict radiation sensitivity. We showed that activation of NFE2L2, a frequent event in lung squamous cancers, confers radiation resistance. An expression-based, in silico screen nominated inhibitors of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) as NFE2L2 antagonists. We showed that the selective PI3K inhibitor, NVP-BKM120, both decreased NRF2 protein levels and sensitized NFE2L2 or KEAP1-mutant cells to radiation. We then combined results from this high-throughput assay with single-sample gene set enrichment analysis of gene expression data. The resulting analysis identified pathways implicated in cell survival, genotoxic stress, detoxification, and innate and adaptive immunity as key correlates of radiation sensitivity. The integrative and high-throughput methods shown here for large-scale profiling of radiation survival and genomic features of solid-tumor-derived cell lines should facilitate tumor radiogenomics and the discovery of genotype-selective radiation sensitizers and protective agents.

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