Ferroptosis response segregates small cell lung cancer (SCLC) neuroendocrine subtypes

Nat Commun. 2021 Apr 6;12(1):2048. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-22336-4.


Loss of TP53 and RB1 in treatment-naïve small cell lung cancer (SCLC) suggests selective pressure to inactivate cell death pathways prior to therapy. Yet, which of these pathways remain available in treatment-naïve SCLC is unknown. Here, through systemic analysis of cell death pathway availability in treatment-naïve SCLC, we identify non-neuroendocrine (NE) SCLC to be vulnerable to ferroptosis through subtype-specific lipidome remodeling. While NE SCLC is ferroptosis resistant, it acquires selective addiction to the TRX anti-oxidant pathway. In experimental settings of non-NE/NE intratumoral heterogeneity, non-NE or NE populations are selectively depleted by ferroptosis or TRX pathway inhibition, respectively. Preventing subtype plasticity observed under single pathway targeting, combined treatment kills established non-NE and NE tumors in xenografts, genetically engineered mouse models of SCLC and patient-derived cells, and identifies a patient subset with drastically improved overall survival. These findings reveal cell death pathway mining as a means to identify rational combination therapies for SCLC.

PMID:33824345 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-021-22336-4