October 8, 2018
Targeting KRAS mutant tumors through inhibition of individual downstream pathways has had limited clinical success. Here we report that RAF inhibitors exhibit little efficacy in KRAS mutant tumors. In combination drug screens, MEK and PI3K inhibitors synergized with pan-RAF inhibitors through an RAS-GTP-dependent mechanism. Broad cell line profiling with RAF/MEK inhibitor combinations revealed synergistic efficacy in KRAS mutant and wild-type tumors, with KRASG13D mutants exhibiting greater synergy versus KRASG12 mutant tumors. Mechanistic studies demonstrate that MEK inhibition induced RAS-GTP levels, RAF dimerization and RAF kinase activity resulting in MEK phosphorylation in synergistic tumor lines regardless of KRAS status. Taken together, our studies uncover a strategy to rewire KRAS mutant tumors to confer sensitivity to RAF kinase inhibition.