Cancers 2019 October 8 [Link]

Xu D, Yang H, Yang Z, Berezowska S, Gao Y, Liang SQ, Marti TM, Hall SR, Dorn P, Kocher GJ, Schmid RA, Peng RW


Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a lethal cancer with limited treatment options. No targeted therapy has emerged yet. Here, we performed an integrated molecular characterization of patient tumors in the TCGA dataset, and discovered that endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and the adaptive unfolded protein response (UPR) signaling are characteristically deregulated in MPM. Consequently, pharmacological perturbation of ER stress/UPR axis by HA15, an agent that induces persistent proteotoxic stress in the ER, selectively suppresses the viability of MPM cells including those refractory to standard chemotherapy. Mechanically, HA15 augments the already high basal level of ER stress in MPM cells, embarks pro-apoptotic malfunctional UPR and autophagy, which eventually induces cell death in MPM. Importantly, HA15 exerts anti-MPM effectiveness in a mouse model of patient-derived xenografts (PDX) without eliciting overt toxicity when compared to chemotherapy. Our results revealed that programs orchestrating ER stress/UPR signaling represent therapeutic vulnerabilities in MPM and validate HA15 as a promising agent to treat patients with MPM, naïve or resistant to chemotherapy.