Research ArticleCancer

Regulation of autophagy, NF-κB signaling, and cell viability by miR-124 in KRAS mutant mesenchymal-like NSCLC cells

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Sci. Signal.  12 Sep 2017:
Vol. 10, Issue 496, eaam6291
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aam6291

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Subtype selectivity in cancer

Activating mutations in the protein KRAS are common in non–small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs). However, tumors of the mesenchymal subtype of KRAS mutant NSCLC are not responsive to RAS pathway inhibitors. By comparing tumor samples and cell lines of epithelial and mesenchymal NSCLCs, Mehta et al. found that loss of the microRNA miR-124 in mesenchymal tumor cells enables increased abundance of autophagy and related proteins, which promoted cell survival. Introducing miR-124 or inhibiting autophagy in the mesenchymal tumor cells triggered their apoptosis. These findings identify alternative molecular targets for potentially treating this subtype of NSCLC.