RB1-deficient prostate tumor growth and metastasis are vulnerable to ferroptosis induction via the E2F/ACSL4 axis.


Inactivation of the RB1 tumor suppressor gene is common in several types of therapy-resistant cancers, including metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, and predicts poor clinical outcomes. Effective therapeutic strategies against RB1-deficient cancers, however, remain elusive. Here we showed that RB1-loss/E2F activation sensitized cancer cells to ferroptosis, a form of regulated cell death driven by iron-dependent lipid peroxidation, by upregulating expression of ACSL4 and enriching ACSL4-dependent arachidonic acid-containing phospholipids, which are key components of ferroptosis execution. ACSL4 appeared to be a direct E2F target gene and was critical to RB1 loss-induced sensitization to ferroptosis. Importantly, using cell line-derived xenografts and genetically engineered tumor models, we demonstrated that induction of ferroptosis in vivo by JKE-1674, a highly selective and stable GPX4 inhibitor, blocked RB1-deficient prostate tumor growth and metastasis and led to improved survival of the mice. Thus, our findings uncover an RB/E2F/ACSL4 molecular axis that governs ferroptosis, and also suggest a promising approach for the treatment of RB1-deficient malignancies.





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Publication Info

Wang, Mu-En, Jiaqi Chen, Yi Lu, Alyssa R Bawcom, Jinjin Wu, Jianhong Ou, John M Asara, Andrew J Armstrong, et al. (2023). RB1-deficient prostate tumor growth and metastasis are vulnerable to ferroptosis induction via the E2F/ACSL4 axis. The Journal of clinical investigation. p. e166647. 10.1172/jci166647 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27380.

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Andrew John Armstrong

Professor of Medicine

I am a clinical and translational investigator focused on precision therapies and biomarkers in advanced prostate and other GU cancers.  I oversee a large research team of clinical and lab based investigators focused on improving patient outcomes, preventing metastatic disease, and understanding the biology of aggressive prostate cancer.  Some key themes:
1. Predictors of sensitivity and clinical efficacy of therapies in advanced prostate cancer
2. Novel designs of clinical trials and pharmacodynamic/translational studies in prostate, kidney, bladder cancer
3. Pre-operative models for drug development of novel agents in human testing in prostate cancer
4. Novel therapies and drug development for prostate, renal, bladder, and testicular cancer
5. Design of rational combination therapies in men with metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer
6. Developing prognostic and predictive models for progression and survival in metastatic prostate cancer
7. Examining surrogate markers of mortality in metastatic prostate cancer
8. Clear cell and non-clear cell renal cell carcinoma: natural history, sensitivity to novel agents including mTOR and VEGF inhibition


Qianben Wang

Professor of Pathology

Dr. Wang's laboratory is primarily focused on understanding the transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms that drive the progression of hormone-dependent cancers. Additionally, they investigate the role of host proteases in coronavirus infection. Their recent studies aim to combine CRISPR/Cas13 technologies with nanotechnology to target undruggable transcription factors in cancers and host proteases for controlling infections caused by SARS-CoV-2 and related coronaviruses.


Jiaoti Huang

The Johnston-West Endowed Department Chair of Pathology

I am a physician-scientist with clinical expertise in the pathologic diagnosis of genitourinary tumors including tumors of the prostate, bladder, kidney and testis. Another area of interest is gynecologic tumors. In my research laboratory we study prostate cancer, focusing on molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis and tumor progression, as well as biomarkers, imaging and novel therapeutic strategies. In addition to patient care and research, I am also passionate about education. I have trained numerous residents, fellows, graduate students and postdocs.


Ming Chen

Associate Professor in Pathology

Our laboratory is interested in understanding the molecular and genetic events underlying cancer progression and metastasis. The focus of our work is a series of genetically engineered mouse models that faithfully recapitulate human disease. Using a combination of mouse genetics, omics technologies, cross-species analyses and in vitro approaches, we aim to identify cancer cell–intrinsic and –extrinsic mechanisms driving metastatic cancer progression, with a long–term goal of developing new therapeutic strategies for preventing and treating metastatic disease. 

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