4 years ago

KRAS mutation-induced upregulation of PD-L1 mediates immune escape in human lung adenocarcinoma

Li Zhang, Nan Chen, Juan Wang, Lin Liu, Hongyu Zhang, Wenfeng Fang, Jin Sheng, Jiaxing Huang, Shaodong Hong, Jianhua Zhan, Ting Zhou, Zhong Lin, Ying Chen, Peijian Peng


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

DOI: 10.1007/s00262-017-2005-z

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