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Therapies targeting the tyrosine kinase activity of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) have been proven to be effective in treating a subset of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients harboring activating EGFR mutations. Inevitably these patients develop resistance to the EGFR-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Here, we performed integrated genomic analyses using an in vitro system to uncover alternative genomic mechanisms responsible for acquired resistance to EGFR-TKIs. Specifically, we identified 80 genes whose expression is significantly increased in the erlotinib-resistant clones. RNAi-based systematic synthetic lethal screening of these candidate genes revealed that suppression of one upregulated transcript, SCRN1, a secernin family member, restores sensitivity to erlotinib by enhancing inhibition of PI3K/AKT signaling pathway. Furthermore, immunohistochemical analysis revealed increased levels of SCRN1 in 5 of 11 lung tumor specimens from EGFR-TKIs resistant patients. Taken together, we propose that upregulation of SCRN1 is an additional mechanism associated with acquired resistance to EGFR-TKIs and that its suppression serves as a novel therapeutic strategy to overcome drug resistance in these patients.


Nayoung Kim, Ahye Cho, Hideo Watanabe, Yoon-La Choi, Meraj Aziz, Michelle Kassner, Je-Gun Joung, Angela Kyung-Joo Park, Joshua M Francis, Joon Seol Bae, Soo-Min Ahn, Kyoung-Mee Kim, Joon Oh Park, Woong-Yang Park, Myung-Ju Ahn, Keunchil Park, Jaehyung Koo, Hongwei Holly Yin, Jeonghee Cho. Integrated genomic approaches identify upregulation of SCRN1 as a novel mechanism associated with acquired resistance to erlotinib in PC9 cells harboring oncogenic EGFR mutation. Oncotarget. 2016 Mar 22;7(12):13797-809

PMID: 26883194

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