Pharmacological profiling of kinase dependency in cell lines across triple-negative breast cancer subtypes

Lauren S. Fink, Alexer Beatty, Karthik Devarajan, Suraj Peri, Jeffrey R. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC), negative for estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and ERBB2 amplification, are resistant to standard targeted therapies and exhibit a poor prognosis. Furthermore, they are highly heterogeneous with respect to genomic alterations, and common therapeutic targets are lacking though substantial evidence implicates dysregulated kinase signaling. Recently, six subtypes of TNBC were identified based on gene expression and were proposed to predict sensitivity to a variety of therapeutic agents including kinase inhibitors. To test this hypothesis, we screened a large collection of well-characterized, small molecule kinase inhibitors for growth inhibition in a panel of TNBC cell lines representing all six subtypes. Sensitivity to kinase inhibition correlated poorly with TNBC subtype. Instead, unsupervised clustering segregated TNBC cell lines according to clinically relevant features including dependence on epidermal growth factor signaling and mutation of the PTEN tumor suppressor. We further report the discovery of kinase inhibitors with selective toxicity to these groups. Overall, however, TNBC cell lines exhibited diverse sensitivity to kinase inhibition consistent with the lack of common driver mutations in this disease. Although our findings support specific kinase dependencies in subsets of TNBC, they are not associated with gene expression-based subtypes. Instead, we find that mutation status can be an effective predictor of sensitivity to inhibition of particular kinase pathways for subsets of TNBC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-306
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Cancer Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


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