Triple negative breast cancers (TNBCs) lack recurrent targetable driver mutations but demonstrate frequent copy number aberrations (CNAs). Here, we describe an integrative genomic and RNAi-based approach that identifies and validates gene addictions in TNBCs. CNAs and gene expression alterations are integrated and genes scored for pre-specified target features revealing 130 candidate genes. We test functional dependence on each of these genes using RNAi in breast cancer and non-malignant cells, validating malignant cell selective dependence upon 37 of 130 genes. Further analysis reveals a cluster of 13 TNBC addiction genes frequently co-upregulated that includes genes regulating cell cycle checkpoints, DNA damage response, and malignant cell selective mitotic genes. We validate the mechanism of addiction to a potential drug target: the mitotic kinesin family member C1 (KIFC1/HSET), essential for successful bipolar division of centrosome-amplified malignant cells and develop a potential selection biomarker to identify patients with tumors exhibiting centrosome amplification.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1044
Number of pages16
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Early online date13 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2018


  • Journal Article


Dive into the research topics of 'Integrated genomics and functional validation identifies malignant cell specific dependencies in triple negative breast cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this