KRAS mutation-induced upregulation of PD-L1 mediates immune escape in human lung adenocarcinoma
It was reported that PD-L1 expression was correlated with genetic alterations. Whether PD-L1 was regulated by mutant Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS) in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and the underlying molecular mechanism were largely unknown. In this study, we investigated the correlation between PD-L1 expression and KRAS mutation and the functional significance of PD-1/PD-L1 blockade in KRAS-mutant lung adenocarcinoma. We found that PD-L1 expression was associated with KRAS mutation both in the human lung adenocarcinoma cell lines and tissues. PD-L1 was up-regulated by KRAS mutation through p-ERK but not p-AKT signaling. We also found that KRAS-mediated up-regulation of PD-L1 induced the apoptosis of CD3-positive T cells which was reversed by anti-PD-1 antibody (Pembrolizumab) or ERK inhibitor. PD-1 blocker or ERK inhibitor could recover the anti-tumor immunity of T cells and decrease the survival rates of KRAS-mutant NSCLC cells in co-culture system in vitro. However, Pembrolizumab combined with ERK inhibitor did not show synergistic effect on killing tumor cells in co-culture system. Our study demonstrated that KRAS mutation could induce PD-L1 expression through p-ERK signaling in lung adenocarcinoma. Blockade of PD-1/PD-L1 pathway may be a promising therapeutic strategy for human KRAS-mutant lung adenocarcinoma.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00262-017-2005-z
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