Glioblastoma ranks among the most aggressive and lethal of all human cancers. Self-renewing, highly tumorigenic glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) contribute to therapeutic resistance and maintain cellular heterogeneity. Here, we interrogated superenhancer landscapes of primary glioblastoma specimens and patient-derived GSCs, revealing a kelch domain-containing gene (KLHDC8A) with a previously unknown function as an epigenetically-driven oncogene. Targeting KLHDC8A decreased GSC proliferation and self-renewal, induced apoptosis, and impaired in vivo tumor growth. Transcription factor control circuitry analyses revealed that the master transcriptional regulator SOX2 stimulated KLHDC8A expression. Mechanistically, KLHDC8A bound Chaperonin-Containing TCP1 (CCT) to promote assembly of primary cilia to activate Hedgehog signaling. KLHDC8A expression correlated with Aurora B/C Kinase inhibitor activity, which induced primary cilia and Hedgehog signaling. Combinatorial targeting of Aurora B/C Kinase and Hedgehog displayed augmented benefit against GSC proliferation. Collectively, superenhancer-based discovery revealed KLHDC8A as a novel molecular target of cancer stem cells that promotes ciliogenesis to activate the Hedgehog pathway, offering insights into therapeutic vulnerabilities for glioblastoma treatment.
Derrick Lee, Ryan C. Gimple, Xujia Wu, Briana C. Prager, Zhixin Qiu, Qiulian Wu, Vikas Daggubati, Aruljothi Mariappan, Jay Gopalakrishnan, Matthew R. Sarkisian, David R. Raleigh, Jeremy N. Rich