Cancer cell line profiling to identify previously unrecognized kinase dependencies revealed a novel nonmutational dependency on the DNA damage response checkpoint kinase Chk1. Although Chk1 is a promising therapeutic target in p53-deficient cancers, we found that Ras–MEK signaling engages Chk1 in a subset of osteosarcoma, ovarian, and breast cancer cells to enable their survival upon DNA damage, irrespective of p53 mutation status. Mechanistically, Ras–MEK signaling drives Chk1 expression and promotes cancer cell growth that produces genotoxic stress that requires Chk1 to mediate a response to the consequent DNA damage. Reciprocally, Chk1 engages a negative feedback loop to prevent hyperactivation of Ras–MEK signaling, thereby limiting DNA damage. Furthermore, exogenous DNA damage promotes Chk1 dependency, and pharmacologic Chk1 inhibition combined with genotoxic chemotherapy potentiates a DNA damage response and tumor cell killing. These findings reveal a mechanism-based diagnostic strategy to identify cancer patients that may benefit from Chk1-targeted therapy. Mol Cancer Ther; 16(4); 694–704. ©2017 AACR.
This article is featured in Highlights of This Issue, p. 553
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Molecular Cancer Therapeutics Online (http://mct.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received July 29, 2016.
- Revision received December 9, 2016.
- Accepted December 27, 2016.
- ©2017 American Association for Cancer Research.