Rapid modelling of cooperating genetic events in cancer through somatic genome editing

Nature. 2014 Dec 18;516(7531):428-31. doi: 10.1038/nature13906. Epub 2014 Oct 22.


Cancer is a multistep process that involves mutations and other alterations in oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes. Genome sequencing studies have identified a large collection of genetic alterations that occur in human cancers. However, the determination of which mutations are causally related to tumorigenesis remains a major challenge. Here we describe a novel CRISPR/Cas9-based approach for rapid functional investigation of candidate genes in well-established autochthonous mouse models of cancer. Using a Kras(G12D)-driven lung cancer model, we performed functional characterization of a panel of tumour suppressor genes with known loss-of-function alterations in human lung cancer. Cre-dependent somatic activation of oncogenic Kras(G12D) combined with CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing of tumour suppressor genes resulted in lung adenocarcinomas with distinct histopathological and molecular features. This rapid somatic genome engineering approach enables functional characterization of putative cancer genes in the lung and other tissues using autochthonous mouse models. We anticipate that this approach can be used to systematically dissect the complex catalogue of mutations identified in cancer genome sequencing studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung
  • Animals
  • CRISPR-Associated Proteins
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems
  • Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Editing / methods*
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Genome
  • Humans
  • Lentivirus / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Models, Genetic
  • Mutation / genetics


  • CRISPR-Associated Proteins