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  • WNT5A-RHOA Signaling Is a Driver of Tumorigenesis and Represents a Therapeutically Actionable Vulnerability in Small Cell Lung Cancer.

WNT5A-RHOA Signaling Is a Driver of Tumorigenesis and Represents a Therapeutically Actionable Vulnerability in Small Cell Lung Cancer.

Cancer research (2022-09-15)
Kee-Beom Kim, Dong-Wook Kim, Youngchul Kim, Jun Tang, Nicole Kirk, Yongyu Gan, Bongjun Kim, Bingliang Fang, Jae-Ll Park, Yi Zheng, Kwon-Sik Park
ABSTRACT

WNT signaling represents an attractive target for cancer therapy due to its widespread oncogenic role. However, the molecular players involved in WNT signaling and the impact of their perturbation remain unknown for numerous recalcitrant cancers. Here, we characterize WNT pathway activity in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and determine the functional role of WNT signaling using genetically engineered mouse models. β-Catenin, a master mediator of canonical WNT signaling, was dispensable for SCLC development, and its transcriptional program was largely silenced during tumor development. Conversely, WNT5A, a ligand for β-catenin-independent noncanonical WNT pathways, promoted neoplastic transformation and SCLC cell proliferation, whereas WNT5A deficiency inhibited SCLC development. Loss of p130 in SCLC cells induced expression of WNT5A, which selectively increased Rhoa transcription and activated RHOA protein to drive SCLC. Rhoa knockout suppressed SCLC development in vivo, and chemical perturbation of RHOA selectively inhibited SCLC cell proliferation. These findings suggest a novel requirement for the WNT5A-RHOA axis in SCLC, providing critical insights for the development of novel therapeutic strategies for this recalcitrant cancer. This study also sheds light on the heterogeneity of WNT signaling in cancer and the molecular determinants of its cell-type specificity. The p130-WNT5A-RHOA pathway drives SCLC progression and is a potential target for the development of therapeutic interventions and biomarkers to improve patient treatment.

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Rac1 Inhibitor, Rac1 Inhibitor, CAS 1177865-17-6, is a cell-permeable, reversible inhibitor of Rac1 GDP/GTP exchange. Interferes with the interaction between Rac1 and Rac-specific GEFs Trio and Tiam1 (IC₅₀ ~50 µM).