Oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), like other squamous carcinomas, harbour highly recurrent cell cycle pathway alterations, especially hyperactivation of the CCND1/CDK4/6 axis, raising the potential for use of existing CDK4/6 inhibitors in these cancers. Although CDK4/6 inhibition has shown striking success when combined with endocrine therapy in oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer, CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib monotherapy has not revealed evidence of efficacy to date in OSCC clinical studies. Herein, we sought to elucidate the identification of key dependencies in OSCC as a foundation for the selection of targets whose blockade could be combined with CDK4/6 inhibition.We combined large-scale genomic dependency and pharmaceutical screening datasets with preclinical cell line models, to identified potential combination therapies in squamous cell cancer.We identified sensitivity to inhibitors to the ERBB family of receptor kinases, results clearly extending beyond the previously described minority of tumours with EGFR amplification/dependence, specifically finding a subset of OSCCs with dual dependence on ERBB3 and ERBB2. Subsequently. we demonstrated marked efficacy of combined pan-ERBB and CDK4/6 inhibition in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, we demonstrated that squamous lineage transcription factor KLF5 facilitated activation of ERBBs in OSCC.These results provide clear rationale for development of combined ERBB and CDK4/6 inhibition in these cancers and raises the potential for KLF5 expression as a candidate biomarker to guide the use of these agents. These data suggested that by combining existing Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved agents, we have the capacity to improve therapy for OSCC and other squamous cancer.
Jin Zhou, Zhong Wu, Zhouwei Zhang, Louisa Goss, James McFarland, Ankur Nagaraja, Yingtian Xie, Shengqing Gu, Ke Peng, Yong Zeng, Xiaoyang Zhang, Henry Long, Hiroshi Nakagawa, Anil Rustgi, J Alan Diehl, Matthew Meyerson, Kwok-Kin Wong, Adam Bass