To identify factors preferentially necessary for driving tumor expansion, we performed parallel in vitro and in vivo negative-selection short hairpin RNA (shRNA) screens. Melanoma cells harboring shRNAs targeting several DNA damage response (DDR) kinases had a greater selective disadvantage in vivo than in vitro, indicating an essential contribution of these factors during tumor expansion. In growing tumors, DDR kinases were activated following hypoxia. Correspondingly, depletion or pharmacologic inhibition of DDR kinases was toxic to melanoma cells, including those that were resistant to BRAF inhibitor, and this could be enhanced by angiogenesis blockade. These results reveal that hypoxia sensitizes melanomas to targeted inhibition of the DDR and illustrate the utility of in vivo shRNA dropout screens for the identification of pharmacologically tractable targets.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.