RAF1 amplification drives a subset of bladder tumors and confers sensitivity to MAPK-directed therapeutics

Raie T. Bekele, Amruta S. Samant, Amin H. Nassar, Jonathan So, Elizabeth P. Garcia, Catherine R. Curran, Justin H. Hwang, David L. Mayhew, Anwesha Nag, Aaron R. Thorner, Judit Börcsök, Zsofia Sztupinszki, Chong Xian Pan, Joaquim Bellmunt, David J. Kwiatkowski, Guru P. Sonpavde, Eliezer M. van Allen, Kent W. Mouw

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1 Scopus citations


Bladder cancer is a genetically heterogeneous disease, and novel therapeutic strategies are needed to expand treatment options and improve clinical outcomes. Here, we identified a unique subset of urothelial tumors with focal amplification of the RAF1 (CRAF) kinase gene. RAF1-amplified tumors had activation of the RAF/MEK/ERK signaling pathway and exhibited a luminal gene expression pattern. Genetic studies demonstrated that RAF1-amplified tumors were dependent upon RAF1 activity for survival, and RAF1-activated cell lines and patient-derived models were sensitive to available and emerging RAF inhibitors as well as combined RAF plus MEK inhibition. Furthermore, we found that bladder tumors with HRAS- or NRAS-activating mutations were dependent on RAF1-mediated signaling and were sensitive to RAF1-targeted therapy. Together, these data identified RAF1 activation as a dependency in a subset making up nearly 20% of urothelial tumors and suggested that targeting RAF1-mediated signaling represents a rational therapeutic strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere147849
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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