PIM Kinases Are a Potential Prognostic Biomarker and Therapeutic Target in Neuroblastoma.
Brunen D, de Vries RC, Lieftink C, Beijersbergen RL, Bernards R
The majority of high-risk neuroblastoma patients are refractory to, or relapse on, current treatment regimens, resulting in 5-year survival rates of less than 50%. This emphasizes the urgent need to identify novel therapeutic targets. Here, we report that high kinase expression is correlated with poor overall survival. Treatment of neuroblastoma cell lines with the pan-PIM inhibitors AZD1208 or PIM-447 suppressed proliferation through inhibition of mTOR signaling. In a panel of neuroblastoma cell lines, we observed a marked binary response to PIM inhibition, suggesting that specific genetic lesions control responses to PIM inhibition. Using a genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 genetic screen, we identified NF1 loss as the major resistance mechanism to PIM kinase inhibitors. Treatment with AZD1208 impaired the growth of NF1 wild-type xenografts, while NF1 knockout cells were insensitive. Thus, our data indicate that PIM inhibition may be a novel targeted therapy in NF1 wild-type neuroblastoma. .