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Nature communications

Transdifferentiation of lung adenocarcinoma in mice with Lkb1 deficiency to squamous cell carcinoma.


PMID 24531128

Abstract

Lineage transition in adenocarcinoma (ADC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of non-small cell lung cancer, as implicated by clinical observation of mixed ADC and SCC pathologies in adenosquamous cell carcinoma, remains a fundamental yet unsolved question. Here we provide in vivo evidence showing the transdifferentiation of lung cancer from ADC to SCC in mice: Lkb1-deficient lung ADC progressively transdifferentiates into SCC, via a pathologically mixed mAd-SCC intermediate. We find that reduction of lysyl oxidase (Lox) in Lkb1-deficient lung ADC decreases collagen disposition and triggers extracellular matrix remodelling and upregulates p63 expression, a SCC lineage survival oncogene. Pharmacological Lox inhibition promotes the transdifferentiation, whereas ectopic Lox expression significantly inhibits this process. Notably, ADC and SCC show differential responses to Lox inhibition. Collectively, our findings demonstrate the de novo transdifferentiation of lung ADC to SCC in mice and provide mechanistic insight that may have important implications for lung cancer treatment.