Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in the world. Conventional cytotoxic-based chemotherapy regimens are at their limits of maximal effectiveness. New treatment paradigms incorporating inhibitors to specific driver mutations, such as EGFR and ALK, have shown improved clinical benefits. These new treatments depend on identification and evaluation of clinically relevant genetic lesions that drive and maintain the malignancy. Lung cancer is a heterogeneous disease. Clinically relevant mutations in ~50% of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remain to be identified and evaluated. It is envisioned that recent advances in genomic technologies will accelerate the discovery of new genetic alternations in human cancer. An important aspect in translating the new genomic findings into improved treatments is to have in vivo preclinical models that faithfully phenocopy the newly identified genes in the human diseases for evaluating drug response and resistance. Recurrent gene fusion between kinesin family member 5B (KIF5B) and the RET tyrosine kinase (KIF5B-RET) is the most recent genetic alternation identified in human lung adenocarcinoma. Preclinical models of KIF5B-RET have been limited to xenografts of transfected NIH3T3 fibroblasts and Ba/F3 pre-B- lymphocytes. The goal of this study is to generate doxycycline-inducible, lung-specific KIF5B-RET transgenic mice by Cre recombinase-mediated cassette exchange (Cre-RMCE) to model the oncogenic activity of KIF5B- RET in lung type II alveolar cells in bitransgenic mice.
In Specific Aim 1, plasmids carrying a tetO-KIF5B-RET cassette flanked by heterospecific L2/L3 loxP sites and Cre will be co-injected into fertilized eggs (zygotes) derived from different lines of existing Cre-RMCE-capable transgenic mice to replace the original floxed tetO- SHP2 transgenes with tetO-KIF5B-RET.
In Specific Aim II, inducible KIF5B-RET expression and effects of KIF5B-RET on lung tumor development and maintenance will be evaluated in CCSP-rtTA/tetO-KIF5B-RET bitransgenic mice. Since our Cre-RMCE-capable SHP2 transgenic mice have already been characterized for inducible expression and function of the transgene in the lung, new transgenic mice derived from these lines by cassette exchange are expected to display reliable inducible transgene expression. This will accelerate the generation and examination of novel useful transgenic mouse models. Thus, the study will generate genetically engineered animals urgently needed for development of new therapy targeting the KIF5B-RET molecular subtype of lung adenocarcinoma. Furthermore, the study will identify the most efficient Cre-RMCE- capable transgenic line(s) harboring a single copy of the KIF5B-RET transgene for subsequent studies to derive new transgenic mice. This will provide an important resource for the research community to accelerate the generation of mouse models of newly identified molecular lesions.

Public Health Relevance

Lung cancer is a heterogeneous disease, which has limited the effectiveness of the one-size-fits-all cytotoxic-based chemotherapy. New treatment paradigms now incorporate molecular subtypes to target the specific mutations in individual cancer patients. This requires evaluation of each of clinically relevant mutations in preclinical models. We aim to establish a method to accelerate the generation of animal models that accurately reflect the corresponding human lung cancer subtypes. Most recently, a fusion gene called KIF5B- RET was identified in non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This study will generate a genetically engineered mouse model of KIF5B-RET using our novel technique to evaluate this new oncogene in NSCLC. This project will contribute to our understanding of the oncogenicity of RET fusion and the development of new therapy for patients with the RET molecular subtype of NSCLC. It will also provide an invaluable resource for the research community to derive new animal models for comparatively evaluation of other new mutations in cancer.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-SRLB-1 (J1))
Program Officer
Johnson, Ronald L
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
United States
Zip Code
Huang, Qingling; Schneeberger, Valentina E; Luetteke, Noreen et al. (2016) Preclinical Modeling of KIF5B-RET Fusion Lung Adenocarcinoma. Mol Cancer Ther 15:2521-2529
Schneeberger, Valentina E; Ren, Yuan; Luetteke, Noreen et al. (2015) Inhibition of Shp2 suppresses mutant EGFR-induced lung tumors in transgenic mouse model of lung adenocarcinoma. Oncotarget 6:6191-202
Schneeberger, Valentina E; Luetteke, Noreen; Ren, Yuan et al. (2014) SHP2E76K mutant promotes lung tumorigenesis in transgenic mice. Carcinogenesis 35:1717-25