Liver kinase B1 (LKB1) loss in lung adenocarcinoma is commonly caused by genetic mutations, but these mutations rarely occur in Asian patients. We recently reported wild-type LKB1 loss via the alteration of NKX2-1/p53-axis-promoted tumor aggressiveness and predicted poor outcomes in cases of lung adenocarcinoma. The mechanistic action of wild-type LKB1 loss within tumor progression remains unknown. The suppression of MYC by LKB1 controls epithelial organization; therefore, we hypothesize that MYC expression can be increased via wild-type LKB1 loss and promotes tumor progression. Here, MYC transcription is upregulated by LKB1-loss-mediated MZF1 expression. The wild-type LKB1-loss-mediated MZF1/MYC axis is responsible for soft-agar growth, migration and invasion in lung adenocarcinoma cells. Moreover, wild-type LKB1 loss-induced cell invasiveness was markedly suppressed by MYC inhibitors (10058-F4 and JQ1). Patients with low-LKB1/high-MZF1 or low-LKB1/high-MYC tumors have shorter overall survival and relapse-free-survival periods than patients with high-LKB1/low-MZF1 or high-LKB1/low-MYC tumors. In summary, MZF1-mediated MYC expression may promote tumor progression, resulting in poor outcomes in cases of lung adenocarcinoma with low-wild-type-LKB1 tumors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas