A key question in precision medicine is how functional heterogeneity in solid tumours informs therapeutic sensitivity. We demonstrate that spatial characteristics of oncogenic signalling and therapy response can be modelled in precision-cut slices from Kras-driven non-small-cell lung cancer with varying histopathologies. Unexpectedly, profiling of in situ tumours demonstrated that signalling stratifies mostly according to histopathology, showing enhanced AKT and SRC activity in adenosquamous carcinoma, and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity in adenocarcinoma. In addition, high intertumour and intratumour variability was detected, particularly of MAPK and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 activity. Using short-term treatment of slice explants, we showed that cytotoxic responses to combination MAPK and phosphoinositide 3-kinase-mTOR inhibition correlate with the spatially defined activities of both pathways. Thus, whereas genetic drivers determine histopathology spectra, histopathology-associated and spatially variable signalling activities determine drug sensitivity. Our study is in support of spatial aspects of signalling heterogeneity being considered in clinical diagnostic settings, particularly to guide the selection of drug combinations.

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Keywords Non-small-cell lung cancer, Oncogenic signalling, Precision-cut slices, Prostate cancer, Spatial heterogeneity, Targeted therapy
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1002/path.5059, hdl.handle.net/1765/105566
Journal Journal of Pathology
Närhi, K. (Katja), Nagaraj, A.S. (Ashwini S), Parri, E. (Elina), Turkki, R, van Duijn, P.W, Hemmes, A, … Verschuren, E.W. (2018). Spatial aspects of oncogenic signalling determine the response to combination therapy in slice explants from Kras-driven lung tumours. Journal of Pathology. doi:10.1002/path.5059