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Genes Dev. 2014 Mar 15;28(6):561-75. doi: 10.1101/gad.233627.113. Epub 2014 Mar 3.

Diminished WNT -> β-catenin -> c-MYC signaling is a barrier for malignant progression of BRAFV600E-induced lung tumors.

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Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.


Oncogene-induced senescence (OIS) is proposed as a cellular defense mechanism that restrains malignant progression of oncogene-expressing, initiated tumor cells. Consistent with this, expression of BRAF(V600E) in the mouse lung epithelium elicits benign tumors that fail to progress to cancer due to an apparent senescence-like proliferative arrest. Here we demonstrate that nuclear β-catenin → c-MYC signaling is essential for early stage proliferation of BRAF(V600E)-induced lung tumors and is inactivated in the subsequent senescence-like state. Furthermore, either β-catenin silencing or pharmacological blockade of Porcupine, an acyl-transferase essential for WNT ligand secretion and activity, significantly inhibited BRAF(V600E)-initiated lung tumorigenesis. Conversely, sustained activity of β-catenin or c-MYC significantly enhanced BRAF(V600E)-induced lung tumorigenesis and rescued the anti-tumor effects of Porcupine blockade. These data indicate that early stage BRAF(V600E)-induced lung tumors are WNT-dependent and suggest that inactivation of WNT → β-catenin → c-MYC signaling is a trigger for the senescence-like proliferative arrest that constrains the expansion and malignant progression of BRAF(V600E)-initiated lung tumors. Moreover, these data further suggest that the trigger for OIS in initiated BRAF(V600E)-expressing lung tumor cells is not simply a surfeit of signals from oncogenic BRAF but an insufficiency of WNT → β-catenin → c-MYC signaling. These data have implications for understanding how genetic abnormalities cooperate to initiate and promote lung carcinogenesis.


BRAF; c-MYC; non-small-cell lung cancer; β-catenin

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