IRE1α-XBP1s pathway promotes prostate cancer by activating c-MYC signaling

Xia Sheng, Hatice Zeynep Nenseth, Su Qu, Omer F Kuzu, Turid Frahnow, Lukas Simon, Stephanie Greene, Qingping Zeng, Ladan Fazli, Paul S Rennie, Ian G Mills, Håvard Danielsen, Fabian Theis, John B Patterson, Yang Jin, Fahri Saatcioglu

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Activation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress/the unfolded protein response (UPR) has been linked to cancer, but the molecular mechanisms are poorly understood and there is a paucity of reagents to translate this for cancer therapy. Here, we report that an IRE1α RNase-specific inhibitor, MKC8866, strongly inhibits prostate cancer (PCa) tumor growth as monotherapy in multiple preclinical models in mice and shows synergistic antitumor effects with current PCa drugs. Interestingly, global transcriptomic analysis reveal that IRE1α-XBP1s pathway activity is required for c-MYC signaling, one of the most highly activated oncogenic pathways in PCa. XBP1s is necessary for optimal c-MYC mRNA and protein expression, establishing, for the first time, a direct link between UPR and oncogene activation. In addition, an XBP1-specific gene expression signature is strongly associated with PCa prognosis. Our data establish IRE1α-XBP1s signaling as a central pathway in PCa and indicate that its targeting may offer novel treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number323
Number of pages12
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2019


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