Outlier kinase expression by RNA Sequencing as targets for precision therapy

Vishal Kothari, Iris Wei, Sunita Shankar, Shanker Kalyana-Sundaram, Lidong Wang, Linda W. Ma, Pankaj Vats, Catherine S. Grasso, Dan R. Robinson, Yi Mi Wu, Xuhong Cao, Diane M. Simeone, Arul M. Chinnaiyan, Chandan Kumar-Sinha*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Protein kinases represent the most effective class of therapeutic targets in cancer; therefore, determination of kinase aberrations is a major focus of cancer genomic studies. Here, we analyzed transcriptome sequencing data from a compendium of 482 cancer and benign samples from 25 different tissue types, and defined distinct "outlier kinases" in individual breast and pancreatic cancer samples, based on highest levels of absolute and differential expression. Frequent outlier kinases in breast cancer included therapeutic targets like ERBB2 and FGFR4, distinct from MET, AKT2, and PLK2 in pancreatic cancer. Outlier kinases imparted sample-specific dependencies in various cell lines, as tested by siRNA knockdown and/or pharmacologic inhibition. Outlier expression of polo-like kinases was observed in a subset of KRAS -dependent pancreatic cancer cell lines, and conferred increased sensitivity to the pan-PLK inhibitor BI-6727. Our results suggest that outlier kinases represent effective precision therapeutic targets that are readily identifiable through RNA sequencing of tumors. SIGNIFICANCE: Various breast and pancreatic cancer cell lines display sensitivity to knockdown or pharmacologic inhibition of sample-specific outlier kinases identified by high-throughput transcriptome sequencing. Outlier kinases represent personalized therapeutic targets that could improve combinatorial therapy options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-293
Number of pages14
JournalCancer discovery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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