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This article is the author’s final published version in Journal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research, Volume 40, Issue 1, December 2021, Article number 325.

The published version is available at Copyright © Li et al.


Background: The small tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) subversively altered the lung cancer treatments, but patients will inevitably face the therapy resistance and disease recurrence. We aim to explore the potential roles of non-coding RNAs in sensitizing the TKIs effects.

Methods: Multiple cellular and molecular detections were applied to confirm the mechanistic regulations and intracellular connections.

Results: We explored the specific gene features of candidates in association with resistance, and found that m6A controlled the stemness of EMT features through METTL3 and YTHDF2. The miR-146a/Notch signaling was sustained highly activated in a m6A dependent manner, and the m6A regulator of YTHDF2 suppressed TUSC7, both of which contributed to the resistant features. Functionally, the sponge type of TUSC7 regulation of miR-146a inhibited Notch signaling functions, and affected the cancer progression and stem cells' renewal in Erlotinib resistant PC9 cells (PC9ER) and Erlotinib resistant HCC827 cells (HCC827ER) cells. The Notch signaling functions manipulated the cMYC and DICER inner cytoplasm, and the absence of either cMYC or DICER1 lead to TUSC7 and miR-146a decreasing respectively, formed the closed circle to maintain the balance.

Conclusion: PC9ER and HCC827ER cells harbored much more stem-like cells, and the resistance could be reversed by Notch signaling inactivation. The intrinsic miR-146 and TUSC7 levels are monitored by m6A effectors, the alternation of either miR-146 or TUSC7 expression could lead to the circling loop to sustain the new homeostasis. Further in clinics, the combined delivery of TKIs and Notch specific inhibitory non-coding RNAs will pave the way for yielding the susceptibility to targeted therapy in lung cancer.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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