Identifying kinase dependency in cancer cells by integrating high-throughput drug screening and kinase inhibition data

Bioinformatics. 2015 Dec 1;31(23):3799-806. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btv427. Epub 2015 Jul 23.


Motivation: Targeted kinase inhibitors have dramatically improved cancer treatment, but kinase dependency for an individual patient or cancer cell can be challenging to predict. Kinase dependency does not always correspond with gene expression and mutation status. High-throughput drug screens are powerful tools for determining kinase dependency, but drug polypharmacology can make results difficult to interpret.

Results: We developed Kinase Addiction Ranker (KAR), an algorithm that integrates high-throughput drug screening data, comprehensive kinase inhibition data and gene expression profiles to identify kinase dependency in cancer cells. We applied KAR to predict kinase dependency of 21 lung cancer cell lines and 151 leukemia patient samples using published datasets. We experimentally validated KAR predictions of FGFR and MTOR dependence in lung cancer cell line H1581, showing synergistic reduction in proliferation after combining ponatinib and AZD8055.

Availability and implementation: KAR can be downloaded as a Python function or a MATLAB script along with example inputs and outputs at:


Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Drug Synergism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Leukemia / drug therapy*
  • Leukemia / genetics
  • Leukemia / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 1 / genetics
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • MTOR protein, human
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 1
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases