The KRAS oncoprotein, a critical driver in 33% of lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD), has remained an elusive clinical target due to its perceived undruggable nature. The identification of dependencies borne through common co-occurring mutations are sought to more effectively target KRAS-mutant lung cancer. Approximately 20% of KRAS-mutant LUAD carry loss-of-function mutations in KEAP1, a negative regulator of the antioxidant response transcription factor NFE2L2/NRF2. We demonstrate that Keap1-deficient Kras(G12D) lung tumors arise from a bronchiolar cell-of-origin, lacking pro-tumorigenic macrophages observed in tumors originating from alveolar cells. Keap1 loss activates the pentose phosphate pathway, inhibition of which, using 6-AN, abrogated tumor growth. These studies highlight alternative therapeutic approaches to specifically target this unique subset of KRAS-mutant LUAD cancers.
Cancer Biology and Stem Cells; Epigenetics and Development; Inflammation