Oncogenic RAS mutations are associated with tumor resistance to radiation therapy. Cell-cell interactions in the tumor microenvironment (TME) profoundly influence therapy outcomes. However, the nature of these interactions and their role in Ras tumor radioresistance remain unclear. Here we use Drosophila oncogenic Ras tissues and human Ras cancer cell radiation models to address these questions. We discover that cellular response to genotoxic stress cooperates with oncogenic Ras to activate JAK/STAT non-cell autonomously in the TME. Specifically, p53 is heterogeneously activated in Ras tumor tissues in response to irradiation. This mosaicism allows high p53-expressing Ras clones to stimulate JAK/STAT cytokines, which activate JAK/STAT in the nearby low p53-expressing surviving Ras clones, leading to robust tumor re-establishment. Blocking any part of this cell-cell communication loop re-sensitizes Ras tumor cells to irradiation. These findings suggest that coupling STAT inhibitors to radiotherapy might improve clinical outcomes for Ras cancer patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)