Abstract

Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) is an aggressive malignancy of the bile ducts within the liver characterized by high levels of genetic heterogeneity. In the context of such genetic variability, determining which oncogenic mutations drive ICC growth has been difficult, and developing modes of patient stratification and targeted therapies remains challenging. Here we model the interactions between rare mutations with more common driver genes and combine in silico analysis of patient data with highly multiplexed in vivo CRISPR-spCas9 screens to perform a functional in vivo study into the role genetic heterogeneity plays in driving ICC. Novel tumor suppressors were uncovered, which, when lost, cooperate with the RAS oncoprotein to drive ICC growth. Focusing on a set of driver mutations that interact with KRAS to initiate aggressive, sarcomatoid-type ICC revealed that tumor growth relies on Wnt and PI3K signaling. Pharmacologic coinhibition of Wnt and PI3K in vivo impeded ICC growth regardless of mutational profile. Therefore, Wnt and PI3K activity should be considered as a signature by which patients can be stratified for treatment independent of tumor genotype, and inhibitors of these pathways should be levied to treat ICC.

SIGNIFICANCE: This work shows that, despite significant genetic heterogeneity, intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma relies on a limited number of signaling pathways to grow, suggesting common therapeutic vulnerabilities across patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1548-1559
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Research
Volume82
Issue number8
Early online date24 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2022

Keywords

  • Bile Duct Neoplasms/genetics
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic/pathology
  • Cholangiocarcinoma/genetics
  • Genetic Heterogeneity
  • Humans
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases/genetics

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