Bladder cancer is a genetically heterogeneous disease, and novel therapeutic strategies are needed to expand treatment options and improve clinical outcomes. Here, we identified a unique subset of urothelial tumors with focal amplification of the RAF1 (CRAF) kinase gene. RAF1-amplified tumors had activation of the RAF/MEK/ERK signaling pathway and exhibited a luminal gene expression pattern. Genetic studies demonstrated that RAF1-amplified tumors were dependent upon RAF1 activity for survival, and RAF1-activated cell lines and patient-derived models were sensitive to available and emerging RAF inhibitors as well as combined RAF plus MEK inhibition. Furthermore, we found that bladder tumors with HRAS- or NRAS-activating mutations were dependent on RAF1-mediated signaling and were sensitive to RAF1-targeted therapy. Together, these data identified RAF1 activation as a dependency in a subset making up nearly 20% of urothelial tumors and suggested that targeting RAF1-mediated signaling represents a rational therapeutic strategy.
Raie T. Bekele, Amruta S. Samant, Amin H. Nassar, Jonathan So, Elizabeth P. Garcia, Catherine R. Curran, Justin H. Hwang, David L. Mayhew, Anwesha Nag, Aaron R. Thorner, Judit Börcsök, Zsofia Sztupinszki, Chong-Xian Pan, Joaquim Bellmunt, David J. Kwiatkowski, Guru P. Sonpavde, Eliezer M. Van Allen, Kent W. Mouw