Non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) harbor thousands of passenger events that hide genetic drivers. Even highly recurrent events in NSCLC, such as mutations in PTEN, EGFR, KRAS, and ALK, are detected, at most, in only 30%of patients. Thus, many unidentified low-penetrant events are causing a significant portion of lung cancers. To detect low-penetrance drivers of NSCLC, a forward genetic screen was performed in mice using the Sleeping Beauty (SB) DNA transposon as a random mutagen to generate lung tumors in a Pten-deficient background. SB mutations coupled with Pten deficiency were sufficient to produce lung tumors in 29% of mice. Pten deficiency alone, without SB mutations, resulted in lung tumors in 11% of mice, whereas the rate in control mice was approximately 3%. In addition, thyroid cancer and other carcinomas, as well as the presence of bronchiolar and alveolar epithelialization, in mice deficient for Pten were also identified. Analysis of common transposon insertion sites identified 76 candidate cancer driver genes. These genes are frequently dysregulated in human lung cancers and implicate several signaling pathways. Cullin3 (Cul3), a member of a ubiquitin ligase complex that plays a role in the oxidative stress response pathway, was identified in the screen and evidence demonstrates that Cul3 functions as a tumor suppressor. Implications: This study identifies many novel candidate genetic drivers of lung cancer and demonstrates that CUL3 acts as a tumor suppressor by regulating oxidative stress.
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© 2015 American Association for Cancer Research.