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Abstract Although oncogenic activation of NFκB has been identified in various tumors, the NFκB–activating kinases (inhibitor of NFκB kinases, IKK) responsible for this are elusive. In this study, we determined the role of IKKα and IKKβ in KRAS-mutant lung adenocarcinomas induced by the carcinogen urethane and by respiratory epithelial expression of oncogenic KRASG12D. Using NFκB reporter mice and conditional deletions of IKKα and IKKβ, we identified two distinct early and late activation phases of NFκB during chemical and genetic lung adenocarcinoma development, which were characterized by nuclear translocation of RelB, IκBβ, and IKKα in tumor-initiated cells. IKKα was a cardinal tumor promoter in chemical and genetic KRAS-mutant lung adenocarcinoma, and respiratory epithelial IKKα-deficient mice were markedly protected from the disease. IKKα specifically cooperated with mutant KRAS for tumor induction in a cell-autonomous fashion, providing mutant cells with a survival advantage in vitro and in vivo. IKKα was highly expressed in human lung adenocarcinoma, and a heat shock protein 90 inhibitor that blocks IKK function delivered superior effects against KRAS-mutant lung adenocarcinoma compared with a specific IKKβ inhibitor. These results demonstrate an actionable requirement for IKKα in KRAS-mutant lung adenocarcinoma, marking the kinase as a therapeutic target against this disease. Significance: These findings report a novel requirement for IKKα in mutant KRAS lung tumor formation, with potential therapeutic applications. Cancer Res; 78(11); 2939–51. ©2018 AACR.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancer Research


American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)

Publication Date





2939 - 2951