miR-147b-mediated TCA cycle dysfunction and pseudohypoxia initiate drug tolerance to EGFR inhibitors in lung adenocarcinoma. Nat Metab 1, 4, 460-474 (2019).Abstract
Drug-tolerance is an acute defense response prior to a fully drug-resistant state and tumor relapse, however there are few therapeutic agents targeting drug-tolerance in the clinic. Here we show that miR-147b initiates a reversible tolerant-state to the EGFR inhibitor osimertinib in non-small cell lung cancer. With miRNA-seq analysis we find that miR-147b is the most upregulated microRNA in osimertinib-tolerant and mutated lung cancer cells. Whole transcriptome analysis of single-cell derived clones reveals a link between osimertinib-tolerance and pseudohypoxia responses irrespective of oxygen levels. Further metabolomics and genetic studies demonstrate that osimertinib-tolerance is driven by miR-147b repression of VHL and succinate dehydrogenase linked to the tricarboxylic acid cycle and pseudohypoxia pathways. Finally, pretreatment with a miR-147b inhibitor delays osimertinib-associated drug tolerance in patient-derived three-dimensional (3D) structures. This link between miR-147b and tricarboxylic acid cycle may provide promising targets for preventing tumor relapse.