Kras mutations increase telomerase activity and targeting telomerase is a promising therapeutic strategy for Kras-mutant NSCLC

As shortened telomeres inhibit tumor formation and prolong life span in a KrasG12D mouse lung cancer model, we investigated the implications of telomerase in Kras-mutant NSCLC. We found that Kras mutations increased TERT (telomerase reverse transcriptase) mRNA expression and telomerase activity and telomere length in both immortalized bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) and lung adenocarcinoma cells (Calu-3). MEK inhibition led to reduced TERT expression and telomerase activity. Furthermore, telomerase inhibitor BIBR1532 shortened telomere length and inhibited mutant Kras-induced long-term proliferation, colony formation and migration capabilities of BEAS-2B and Calu-3 cells. Importantly, BIBR1532 sensitized oncogenic Kras expressing Calu-3 cells to chemotherapeutic agents. The Calu-3-KrasG12D xenograft mouse model confirmed that BIBR1532 enhanced the antitumor efficacy of paclitaxel in vivo. In addition, higher TERT expression was seen in Kras-mutant NSCLC than that with wild-type Kras. Our data suggest that Kras mutations increase telomerase activity and telomere length by activating the RAS/MEK pathway, which contributes to an aggressive phenotype of NSCLC. Kras mutations-induced lung tumorigenesis and chemoresistance are attenuated by telomerase inhibition. Targeting telomerase/telomere may be a promising therapeutic strategy for patients with Kras-mutant NSCLC.

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S1186 BIBR 1532 BIBR 1532 is a potent, selective, non-competitive telomerase inhibitor with IC50 of 100 nM in a cell-free assay. No inhibition of DNA and RNA polymerases, including HIV reverse transcriptase were observed at concentrations vastly exceeding the IC50 for telomerase. (8) (2)

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