An In Vivo CRISPR Screening Platform for Prioritizing Therapeutic Targets in AML

Cancer Discov. 2022 Feb;12(2):432-449. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-20-1851. Epub 2021 Sep 16.


CRISPR-Cas9-based genetic screens have successfully identified cell type-dependent liabilities in cancer, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a devastating hematologic malignancy with poor overall survival. Because most of these screens have been performed in vitro using established cell lines, evaluating the physiologic relevance of these targets is critical. We have established a CRISPR screening approach using orthotopic xenograft models to validate and prioritize AML-enriched dependencies in vivo, including in CRISPR-competent AML patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models tractable for genome editing. Our integrated pipeline has revealed several targets with translational value, including SLC5A3 as a metabolic vulnerability for AML addicted to exogenous myo-inositol and MARCH5 as a critical guardian to prevent apoptosis in AML. MARCH5 repression enhanced the efficacy of BCL2 inhibitors such as venetoclax, further highlighting the clinical potential of targeting MARCH5 in AML. Our study provides a valuable strategy for discovery and prioritization of new candidate AML therapeutic targets. SIGNIFICANCE: There is an unmet need to improve the clinical outcome of AML. We developed an integrated in vivo screening approach to prioritize and validate AML dependencies with high translational potential. We identified SLC5A3 as a metabolic vulnerability and MARCH5 as a critical apoptosis regulator in AML, both of which represent novel therapeutic opportunities.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 275.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / drug therapy*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / genetics
  • Precision Medicine*
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays*


  • Antineoplastic Agents