RAS nucleotide cycling underlies the SHP2 phosphatase dependence of mutant BRAF-, NF1- and RAS-driven cancers.

Enzyme encoded by the PTPN11 gene

Nichols et al. (2018) Nature Cell Biology https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Nichols RJ, Haderk F, Stahlhut C, Schulze CJ, Hemmati G, Wildes D, Tzitzilonis C, Mordec K, Marquez A, Romero J, Hsieh T, Zaman A, Olivas V, McCoach C, Blakely CM, Wang Z, Kiss G, Koltun ES, Gill AL, Singh M, Goldsmith MA, Smith JAM, Bivona TG.

Nature Cell Biology

August 13, 2018

Oncogenic alterations in the RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK pathway drive the growth of a wide spectrum of cancers. While BRAF and MEK inhibitors are efficacious against BRAFV600E-driven cancers, effective targeted therapies are lacking for most cancers driven by other pathway alterations, including non-V600E oncogenic BRAF, RAS GTPase-activating protein (GAP) NF1 (neurofibromin 1) loss and oncogenic KRAS. Here, we show that targeting the SHP2 phosphatase (encoded by PTPN11) with RMC-4550, a small-molecule allosteric inhibitor, is effective in human cancer models bearing RAS-GTP-dependent oncogenic BRAF (for example, class 3 BRAF mutants), NF1 loss or nucleotide-cycling oncogenic RAS (for example, KRASG12C). SHP2 inhibitor treatment decreases oncogenic RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK signalling and cancergrowth by disrupting SOS1-mediated RAS-GTP loading. Our findings illuminate a critical function for SHP2 in promoting oncogenic RAS/MAPK pathway activation in cancers with RAS-GTP-dependent oncogenic BRAF, NF1 loss and nucleotide-cycling oncogenic KRAS. SHP2 inhibition is a promising molecular therapeutic strategy for patients with cancers bearing these oncogenic drivers.

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Last updated: October 31, 2018