Metastatic melanoma is challenging to clinically address. Although standard-of-care targeted therapy has high response rates in patients with BRAF-mutant melanoma, therapy relapse occurs in most cases. Intrinsically resistant melanoma cells drive therapy resistance and display molecular and biologic properties akin to neural crest-like stem cells (NCLSC) including high invasiveness, plasticity, and self-renewal capacity. The shared transcriptional programs and vulnerabilities between NCLSCs and cancer cells remains poorly understood. Here, we identify a developmental LPAR1-axis critical for NCLSC viability and melanoma cell survival. LPAR1 activity increased during progression and following acquisition of therapeutic resistance. Notably, genetic inhibition of LPAR1 potentiated BRAFi ± MEKi efficacy and ablated melanoma migration and invasion. Our data define LPAR1 as a new therapeutic target in melanoma and highlights the promise of dissecting stem cell–like pathways hijacked by tumor cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research