37. IN VIVO FUNCTIONAL GENOMIC SCREEN TO IDENTIFY NOVEL DRIVERS OF LUNG-TO-BRAIN METASTASIS Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Abstract Brain metastasis, the most common tumour of the central nervous system, occurs in 20–36% of primary cancers. In particular, 40% of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) develop brain metastases, with a dismal survival of approximately 4–11 weeks without treatment, and 16 months with treatment. This highlights a large unmet need to develop novel targeted therapies for the treatment of lung-to-brain metastases (LBM). Genomic interrogation of LBM using CRISPR technology can inform preventative therapies targeting genetic vulnerabilities in both primary and metastatic tumours. Loss-of-function studies present limitations in metastasis research, as knocking out genes essential for survival in the primary tumour cells can thwart the metastatic cascade prematurely. However, gene overexpression using CRISPR activation (CRISPRa) has the potential for overcoming dependencies of gene essentiality. We theorize that an in vivo genome-wide CRISPRa screen will identify novel genes that, when overexpressed, drive LBM. We have developed a patient-derived orthotopic murine xenograft model of LBM using primary patient-derived NSCLC cell lines (termed LTX cells) from the Swanton Lab TRACERx study. We are now poised to transduce LTX cells with a human genome-wide CRISPRa single guide RNA (sgRNA) library, and to subsequently inject the cells into the lungs of immunocompromised mice. We will then track the process of LBM using bioluminescent and MRI imaging until mice reach endpoint. Sequencing of primary lung tumours and subsequent brain metastases promises to uncover enriched sgRNAs, which may represent novel drivers of primary lung tumour formation and LBM. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first in vivo genome-wide CRISPRa screen focused on identifying novel drivers of LBM, and can inform future preventative therapies to improve survival outcomes for NSCLC patients.

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publication date

  • August 4, 2020