Non-Oncogene Addiction of KRAS-Mutant Cancers to IL-1β via Versican and Mononuclear IKKβ

Cancers (Basel). 2023 Mar 20;15(6):1866. doi: 10.3390/cancers15061866.


Kirsten rat sarcoma virus (KRAS)-mutant cancers are frequent, metastatic, lethal, and largely undruggable. While interleukin (IL)-1β and nuclear factor (NF)-κB inhibition hold promise against cancer, untargeted treatments are not effective. Here, we show that human KRAS-mutant cancers are addicted to IL-1β via inflammatory versican signaling to macrophage inhibitor of NF-κB kinase (IKK) β. Human pan-cancer and experimental NF-κB reporter, transcriptome, and proteome screens reveal that KRAS-mutant tumors trigger macrophage IKKβ activation and IL-1β release via secretory versican. Tumor-specific versican silencing and macrophage-restricted IKKβ deletion prevents myeloid NF-κB activation and metastasis. Versican and IKKβ are mutually addicted and/or overexpressed in human cancers and possess diagnostic and prognostic power. Non-oncogene KRAS/IL-1β addiction is abolished by IL-1β and TLR1/2 inhibition, indicating cardinal and actionable roles for versican and IKKβ in metastasis.

Keywords: bioluminescence; cancer; inflammation; interleukin-1β; non-oncogene addiction; nuclear factor-κB.