The LKB1 tumor suppressor gene is frequently mutated and inactivated in non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Loss of LKB1 promotes cancer progression and influences therapeutic responses in preclinical studies; however, specific targeted therapies for lung cancer with LKB1 inactivation are currently unavailable. Here, we have identified a long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) signature that is associated with the loss of LKB1 function. We discovered that LINC00473 is consistently the most highly induced gene in LKB1-inactivated human primary NSCLC samples and derived cell lines. Elevated LINC00473 expression correlated with poor prognosis, and sustained LINC00473 expression was required for the growth and survival of LKB1-inactivated NSCLC cells. Mechanistically, LINC00473 was induced by LKB1 inactivation and subsequent cyclic AMP–responsive element–binding protein (CREB)/CREB-regulated transcription coactivator (CRTC) activation. We determined that LINC00473 is a nuclear lncRNA and interacts with NONO, a component of the cAMP signaling pathway, thereby facilitating CRTC/CREB-mediated transcription. Collectively, our study demonstrates that LINC00473 expression potentially serves as a robust biomarker for tumor LKB1 functional status that can be integrated into clinical trials for patient selection and treatment evaluation, and implicates LINC00473 as a therapeutic target for LKB1-inactivated NSCLC.
Zirong Chen, Jian-Liang Li, Shuibin Lin, Chunxia Cao, Nicholas T. Gimbrone, Rongqiang Yang, Dongtao A. Fu, Miranda B. Carper, Eric B. Haura, Matthew B. Schabath, Jianrong Lu, Antonio L. Amelio, W. Douglas Cress, Frederic J. Kaye, Lizi Wu