Research ArticleCANCER

The CREB coactivator CRTC2 promotes oncogenesis in LKB1-mutant non–small cell lung cancer

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Science Advances  24 Jul 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 7, eaaw6455
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw6455


The LKB1 tumor suppressor is often mutationally inactivated in non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). LKB1 phosphorylates and activates members of the AMPK family of Ser/Thr kinases. Within this family, the salt-inducible kinases (SIKs) modulate gene expression in part via the inhibitory phosphorylation of the CRTCs, coactivators for CREB (cAMP response element-binding protein). The loss of LKB1 causes SIK inactivation and the induction of the CRTCs, leading to the up-regulation of CREB target genes. We identified CRTC2 as a critical factor in LKB1-deficient NSCLC. CRTC2 is unphosphorylated and therefore constitutively activated in LKB1-mutant NSCLC, where it promotes tumor growth, in part via the induction of the inhibitor of DNA binding 1 (ID1), a bona fide CREB target gene. As ID1 expression is up-regulated and confers poor prognosis in LKB1-deficient NSCLC, our results suggest that small molecules that inhibit CRTC2 and ID1 activity may provide therapeutic benefit to individuals with NSCLC.

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