Targeting mutant RAS in patient-derived colorectal cancer organoids by combinatorial drug screening

Carla S Verissimo, René M Overmeer, Bas Ponsioen, Jarno Drost, Sander Mertens, Ingrid Verlaan-Klink, Bastiaan van Gerwen, Marieke van der Ven, Marc van de Wetering, David A Egan, René Bernards, Hans Clevers, Johannes L Bos, Hugo J Snippert

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

182 Citations (Scopus)


Colorectal cancer (CRC) organoids can be derived from almost all CRC patients and therefore capture the genetic diversity of this disease. We assembled a panel of CRC organoids carrying either wild-type or mutant RAS, as well as normal organoids and tumor organoids with a CRISPR-introduced oncogenic KRAS mutation. Using this panel, we evaluated RAS pathway inhibitors and drug combinations that are currently in clinical trial for RAS mutant cancers. Presence of mutant RAS correlated strongly with resistance to these targeted therapies. This was observed in tumorigenic as well as in normal organoids. Moreover, dual inhibition of the EGFR-MEK-ERK pathway in RAS mutant organoids induced a transient cell-cycle arrest rather than cell death. In vivo drug response of xenotransplanted RAS mutant organoids confirmed this growth arrest upon pan-HER/MEK combination therapy. Altogether, our studies demonstrate the potential of patient-derived CRC organoid libraries in evaluating inhibitors and drug combinations in a preclinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2016


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