Cancer cell radioresistance is the primary cause of the decreased curability of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) observed in patients receiving definitive radiotherapy (RT). Following RT, a set of microenvironmental stress responses is triggered, including cell senescence. However, cell senescence is often ignored in designing effective strategies to resolve cancer cell radioresistance. Herein, we identify the senescence-like characteristics of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) after RT and clarify the formidable ability of senescence-like CAFs in promoting NSCLC cell proliferation and radioresistance through the JAK/STAT pathway. Specific induction of senescence-like CAF apoptosis using FOXO4-DRI, a FOXO4-p53–interfering peptide, resulted in remarkable effects on radiosensitizing NSCLC cells in vitro and in vivo. In addition, in this study, we also uncovered an obvious therapeutic effect of FOXO4-DRI on alleviating radiation-induced pulmonary fibrosis (RIPF) by targeting senescence-like fibroblasts in vivo. In conclusion, by targeting senescence, we offer a strategy that simultaneously decreases radioresistance of NSCLC and the incidence of RIPF.
Jingshu Meng, Yan Li, Chao Wan, Yajie Sun, Xiaomeng Dai, Jing Huang, Yan Hu, Yanan Gao, Bian Wu, Zhanjie Zhang, Ke Jiang, Shuangbing Xu, Jonathan F. Lovell, Yu Hu, Gang Wu, Honglin Jin, Kunyu Yang