Loss of NEDD8 in cancer cells causes vulnerability to immune checkpoint blockade in triple-negative breast cancer.

Papakyriacou I, Kutkaite G, Rúbies Bedós M, Nagarajan D, Alford LP, Menden MP, Mao Y

Nat Commun 15 (1) 3581 [2024-04-27; online 2024-04-27]

Immune checkpoint blockade therapy aims to activate the immune system to eliminate cancer cells. However, clinical benefits are only recorded in a subset of patients. Here, we leverage genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 screens in a Tumor-Immune co-Culture System focusing on triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). We reveal that NEDD8 loss in cancer cells causes a vulnerability to nivolumab (anti-PD-1). Genetic deletion of NEDD8 only delays cell division initially but cell proliferation is unaffected after recovery. Since the NEDD8 gene is commonly essential, we validate this observation with additional CRISPR screens and uncover enhanced immunogenicity in NEDD8 deficient cells using proteomics. In female immunocompetent mice, PD-1 blockade lacks efficacy against established EO771 breast cancer tumors. In contrast, we observe tumor regression mediated by CD8+ T cells against Nedd8 deficient EO771 tumors after PD-1 blockade. In essence, we provide evidence that NEDD8 is conditionally essential in TNBC and presents as a synergistic drug target for PD-1/L1 blockade therapy.

CRISPR Functional Genomics [Service]

PubMed 38678024

DOI 10.1038/s41467-024-47987-x

Crossref 10.1038/s41467-024-47987-x

pmc: PMC11055868
pii: 10.1038/s41467-024-47987-x

Publications 9.5.0