KRAS G12V mutation upregulates PD-L1 expression via TGF-β/EMT signaling pathway in human non-small cell lung cancer.

Research paper by Li-Na LN Pan, Yun-Fang YF Ma, Zhen Z Li, Jia-An JA Hu, Zhi-Hong ZH Xu

Indexed on: 17 Dec '20Published on: 17 Dec '20Published in: Cell Biology International


Although clinical data suggest remarkable promise for targeting programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1) and ligand (PD-L1) signaling in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), it is still largely undetermined which subtype of patients who will be responsive to checkpoint blockade. In the present study, we explored whether PD-L1 was regulated by mutant Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS), which is frequently mutated in NSCLC and results in poor prognosis and low survival rates. We verified that PD-L1 levels were dramatically increased in KRAS mutant cell lines, particularly in NCI-H441 cells with KRAS G12V mutation. Overexpression of KRAS G12V remarkably elevated PD-L1 mRNA and protein levels, while suppression of KRAS G12V led to decreased PD-L1 levels in NCI-H441 cells. Consistently, higher levels of PD-L1 were observed in KRAS mutated tissues as well as tumor tissues-derived CD4 and CD8 T cells using a tumor xenograft in B-NDG mice. Mechanically, both in vitro and in vivo assays found that KRAS G12V upregulated PD-L1 via regulating the progression of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Moreover, pembrolizumab activated the anti-tumor activity and decreased tumor growth with KRAS G12V mutated NSCLC. Our study demonstrates that KRAS G12V mutation could induce PD-L1 expression and promote immune escape via TGF-β/EMT signaling pathway in KRAS-mutant NSCLC, providing a potential therapeutic approach for NSCLC harboring KRAS mutations. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.