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Novel Kras-mutant murine models of non-small cell lung cancer possessing co-occurring oncogenic mutations and increased tumor mutational burden.

Abstract

Conditional genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harbor common oncogenic driver mutations of the disease, but in contrast to human NSCLC these models possess low tumor mutational burden (TMB). As a result, these models often lack tumor antigens that can elicit host adaptive immune responses, which limits their utility in immunotherapy studies. Here, we establish Kras-mutant murine models of NSCLC bearing the common driver mutations associated with the disease and increased TMB, by in vitro exposure of cell lines derived from GEMMs of NSCLC [KrasG12D (K), KrasG12DTp53-/-(KP), KrasG12DTp53+/-Lkb1-/- (KPL)] to the alkylating agent N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU). Increasing the TMB enhanced host anti-tumor T cell responses and improved anti-PD-1 efficacy in syngeneic models across all genetic backgrounds. However, limited anti-PD-1 efficacy was observed in the KPL cell lines with increased TMB, which possessed a distinct immunosuppressed tumor microenvironment (TME) primarily composed of granulocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells (G-MDSCs). This KPL phenotype is consistent with findings in human KRAS-mutant NSCLC where LKB1 loss is a driver of primary resistance to PD-1 blockade. In summary, these novel Kras-mutant NSCLC murine models with known driver mutations and increased TMB have distinct TMEs and recapitulate the therapeutic vulnerabilities of human NSCLC. We anticipate that these immunogenic models will facilitate the development of innovative immunotherapies in NSCLC.

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