Lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC) represents a major subtype of lung cancer with limited treatment options. KMT2D is one of the most frequently mutated genes in LUSC (>20%), and yet its role in LUSC oncogenesis remains unknown. Here, we identify KMT2D as a key regulator of LUSC tumorigenesis wherein Kmt2d deletion transforms lung basal cell organoids to LUSC. Kmt2d loss increases activation of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), EGFR and ERBB2, partly through reprogramming the chromatin landscape to repress the expression of protein tyrosine phosphatases. These events provoke a robust elevation in the oncogenic RTK-RAS signaling. Combining SHP2 inhibitor SHP099 and pan-ERBB inhibitor afatinib inhibits lung tumor growth in Kmt2d-deficient LUSC murine models and in patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) harboring KMT2D mutations. Our study identifies KMT2D as a pivotal epigenetic modulator for LUSC oncogenesis and suggests that KMT2D loss renders LUSC therapeutically vulnerable to RTK-RAS inhibition.
Keywords: EGFR; ERBB2; KMT2D; SHP2; lung squamous cell carcinoma; organoids.
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