Targeting NOTCH activation in small cell lung cancer through LSD1 inhibition.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Science signaling, Volume 12, Issue 567 (2019)


Bioinformatics Core Facility, Genomics Core Facility


Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a recalcitrant, aggressive neuroendocrine-type cancer for which little change to first-line standard-of-care treatment has occurred within the last few decades. Unlike nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC), SCLC harbors few actionable mutations for therapeutic intervention. Lysine-specific histone demethylase 1A (LSD1 also known as KDM1A) inhibitors were previously shown to have selective activity in SCLC models, but the underlying mechanism was elusive. Here, we found that exposure to the selective LSD1 inhibitor ORY-1001 activated the NOTCH pathway, resulting in the suppression of the transcription factor ASCL1 and the repression of SCLC tumorigenesis. Our analyses revealed that LSD1 bound to the locus, thereby suppressing NOTCH1 expression and downstream signaling. Reactivation of NOTCH signaling with the LSD1 inhibitor reduced the expression of ASCL1 and neuroendocrine cell lineage genes. Knockdown studies confirmed the pharmacological inhibitor-based results. In vivo, sensitivity to LSD1 inhibition in SCLC patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models correlated with the extent of consequential NOTCH pathway activation and repression of a neuroendocrine phenotype. Complete and durable tumor regression occurred with ORY-1001-induced NOTCH activation in a chemoresistant PDX model. Our findings reveal how LSD1 inhibitors function in this tumor and support their potential as a new and targeted therapy for SCLC.