ASCL1-regulated DARPP-32 and t-DARPP stimulate small cell lung cancer growth and neuroendocrine tumour cell proliferation

Sk Kayum Alam, Li Wang, Yanan Ren, Christina E. Hernandez, Farhad Kosari, Anja C. Roden, Rendong Yang, Luke H. Hoeppner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is the most aggressive form of lung cancer, and new molecular insights are necessary for prognostic and therapeutic advances. Methods: Dopamine and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein, Mr 32000 (DARPP-32) and its N-terminally truncated splice variant, t-DARPP, were stably overexpressed or ablated in human DMS-53 and H1048 SCLC cells. Functional assays and immunoblotting were used to assess how DARPP-32 isoforms regulate SCLC cell growth, proliferation, and apoptosis. DARPP-32-modulated SCLC cells were orthotopically injected into the lungs of SCID mice to evaluate how DARPP-32 and t-DARPP regulate neuroendocrine tumour growth. Immunostaining for DARPP-32 proteins was performed in SCLC patient-derived specimens. Bioinformatics analysis and subsequent transcription assays were used to determine the mechanistic basis of DARPP-32-regulated SCLC growth. Results: We demonstrate in mice that DARPP-32 and t-DARPP promote SCLC growth through increased Akt/Erk-mediated proliferation and anti-apoptotic signalling. DARPP-32 isoforms are overexpressed in SCLC patient-derived tumour tissue, but undetectable in physiologically normal lung. Achaete-scute homologue 1 (ASCL1) transcriptionally activates DARPP-32 isoforms in human SCLC cells. Conclusions: We reveal new regulatory mechanisms of SCLC oncogenesis that suggest DARPP-32 isoforms may represent a negative prognostic indicator for SCLC and serve as a potential target for the development of new therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)819-832
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding information This study was supported by National Institutes of Health R00-CA187035 funding (to L.H.H.), Fifth District Eagles Cancer Telethon Postdoctoral Fellowship Award (to S.K.A.), PhRMA Foundation Research Starter Grant (to R.Y. and Y. R.), and The Hormel Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).


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