Pharmacological targeting of MYC-regulated IRE1/XBP1 pathway suppresses MYC-driven breast cancer

Na Zhao, Jin Cao, Longyong Xu, Qianzi Tang, Lacey E. Dobrolecki, Xiangdong Lv, Manisha Talukdar, Yang Lu, Xiaoran Wang, Dorothy Z. Hu, Qing Shi, Yu Xiang, Yunfei Wang, Xia Liu, Wen Bu, Yi Jiang, Mingzhou Li, Yingyun Gong, Zheng Sun, Haoqiang YingBo Yuan, Xia Lin, Xin Hua Feng, Sean M. Hartig, Feng Li, Haifa Shen, Yiwen Chen, Leng Han, Qingping Zeng, John B. Patterson, Benny Abraham Kaipparettu, Nagireddy Putluri, Frank Sicheri, Jeffrey M. Rosen, Michael T. Lewis, Xi Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


The unfolded protein response (UPR) is a cellular homeostatic mechanism that is activated in many human cancers and plays pivotal roles in tumor progression and therapy resistance. However, the molecular mechanisms for UPR activation and regulation in cancer cells remain elusive. Here, we show that oncogenic MYC regulates the inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1)/ X-box binding protein 1 (XBP1) branch of the UPR in breast cancer via multiple mechanisms. We found that MYC directly controls IRE1 transcription by binding to its promoter and enhancer. Furthermore, MYC forms a transcriptional complex with XBP1, a target of IRE1, and enhances its transcriptional activity. Importantly, we demonstrate that XBP1 is a synthetic lethal partner of MYC. Silencing of XBP1 selectively blocked the growth of MYC-hyperactivated cells. Pharmacological inhibition of IRE1 RNase activity with small molecule inhibitor 8866 selectively restrained the MYC-overexpressing tumor growth in vivo in a cohort of preclinical patient-derived xenograft models and genetically engineered mouse models. Strikingly, 8866 substantially enhanced the efficacy of docetaxel chemotherapy, resulting in rapid regression of MYC-overexpressing tumors. Collectively, these data establish the synthetic lethal interaction of the IRE1/XBP1 pathway with MYC hyperactivation and provide a potential therapy for MYC-driven human breast cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1283-1299
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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