Epigenetic CRISPR screens identify Npm1 as a therapeutic vulnerability in non-small cell lung cancer.Cancer Res. 2020 Jul 09 [Online ahead of print]CR
Despite advancements in treatment options, the overall cure and survival rates for non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) remain low. While small-molecule inhibitors of epigenetic regulators have recently emerged as promising cancer therapeutics, their application in patients with NSCLC is limited. To exploit epigenetic regulators as novel therapeutic targets in NSCLC, we performed pooled epigenome-wide CRISPR knockout screens in vitro and in vivo and identified the histone chaperone nucleophosmin 1 (NPM1) as a potential therapeutic target. Genetic ablation of Npm1 significantly attenuated tumor progression in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, KRAS-mutant cancer cells were more addicted to NPM1 expression. Genetic ablation of Npm1 rewired the balance of metabolism in cancer cells from predominant aerobic glycolysis to oxidative phosphorylation and reduced the population of tumor-propagating cells. Overall, our results support NPM1 as a therapeutic vulnerability in NSCLC.