Targeting the KRAS α4-α5 allosteric interface inhibits pancreatic cancer tumorigenesis

Small GTPases. 2021 May 5;1-14. doi: 10.1080/21541248.2021.1906621. Online ahead of print.


RAS is the most frequently mutated oncogene in human cancer with nearly ~20% of cancer patients possessing mutations in one of three RAS genes (K, N or HRAS). However, KRAS is mutated in nearly 90% of pancreatic ductal carcinomas (PDAC). Although pharmacological inhibition of RAS has been challenging, KRAS(G12C)-specific inhibitors have recently entered the clinic. While KRAS(G12C) is frequently expressed in lung cancers, it is rare in PDAC. Thus, more broadly efficacious RAS inhibitors are needed for treating KRAS mutant-driven cancers such as PDAC. A RAS-specific tool biologic, NS1 Monobody, inhibits HRAS- and KRAS-mediated signalling and oncogenic transformation both in vitro and in vivo by targeting the α4-α5 allosteric site of RAS and blocking RAS self-association. Here, we evaluated the efficacy of targeting the α4-α5 interface of KRAS as an approach to inhibit PDAC development using an immunocompetent orthotopic mouse model. Chemically regulated NS1 expression inhibited ERK and AKT activation in KRAS(G12D) mutant KPC PDAC cells and reduced the formation and progression of pancreatic tumours. NS1-expressing tumours were characterized by increased infiltration of CD4 + T helper cells. These results suggest that targeting the #x3B1;4-#x3B1;5 allosteric site of KRAS may represent a viable therapeutic approach for inhibiting KRAS-mutant pancreatic tumours.

Keywords: Monobody; Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; T-cell; tumourigenesis.