ATRX is one of the most frequently altered genes in solid tumors, and mutation is especially frequent in soft tissue sarcomas. However, the role of ATRX in tumor development and response to cancer therapies remains poorly understood. Here, we developed a primary mouse model of soft tissue sarcoma and showed that Atrx deleted tumors were more sensitive to radiation therapy and to oncolytic herpesvirus. In the absence of Atrx, irradiated sarcomas had increased persistent DNA damage, telomere dysfunction, and mitotic catastrophe. Our work also showed that Atrx deletion resulted in downregulation of the CGAS/STING signaling pathway at multiple points in the pathway, and was not driven by mutations or by transcriptional downregulation of the CGAS/STING pathway components. We found that both human and mouse models of Atrx deleted sarcoma had a reduced adaptive immune response, markedly impaired CGAS/STING signaling, and increased sensitivity to TVEC, an oncolytic herpesvirus that is currently FDA approved for the treatment of aggressive melanomas. Translation of these results to patients with ATRX mutant cancers could enable genomically-guided cancer therapeutic approaches that improve patient outcomes.
Warren Floyd, Matthew Pierpoint, Chang Su, Rutulkumar Patel, Lixia Luo, Katherine Deland, Amy J. Wisdom, Daniel Zhu, Yan Ma, Suzanne Bartholf DeWitt, Nerissa T. Williams, Alexander L. Lazarides, Jason A. Somarelli, David L. Corcoran, William C. Eward, Diana M. Cardona, David G. Kirsch