The miR181ab1 cluster promotes KRAS-driven oncogenesis and progression in lung and pancreas
Few therapies are currently available for patients with KRAS-driven cancers, highlighting the need to identify new molecular targets that modulate central downstream effector pathways. Here we found the miRNA cluster mir181ab1 as a key modulator of KRAS-driven oncogenesis. Ablation of Mir181ab1 in genetically-engineered mouse models of Kras-driven lung and pancreatic cancer was deleterious to tumor initiation and progression. Expression of both resident miRNAs in the Mir181ab1 cluster, miR181a1 and miR181b1, was necessary to rescue the Mir181ab1-loss phenotype underscoring their non-redundant role. In human cancer cells, depletion of miR181ab1 impaired proliferation and 3D growth, whereas overexpression provided a proliferative advantage. Lastly, we unveiled miR181ab1-regulated genes responsible for this phenotype. These studies identified what we believe to be a previously unknown role for miR181ab1 as a potential therapeutic target in two highly aggressive and difficult to treat KRAS-mutated cancers.