Axl kinase drives immune checkpoint and chemokine signalling pathways in lung adenocarcinomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Axl receptor tyrosine kinase is involved in the growth and metastasis and is an indicator of poor prognosis in several cancers including lung cancers. Although a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway and an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) program are critical, molecular mechanisms underlying the Axl-driven cancer progression have not been fully elucidated. We aimed to identify molecules up-regulated by Axl kinase in lung adenocarcinomas. Through the global gene expression analysis and the functional annotation clustering, we found that AXL expression positively correlated with mRNA expressions of immune checkpoint molecules and chemokine receptors in non-small-cell lung cancers. Validation cohorts including our biobank confirmed that the AXL expression significantly correlated with expression of genes encoding programmed death-ligand1 (PD-L1) and CXC chemokine receptor 6 (CXCR6) in lung adenocarcinoma, especially in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation-positive adenocarcinoma. Pharmacological inhibition of Axl kinase activity decreased mRNA expressions of PD-L1 and CXCR6 in EGFR mutation-positive cell lines. Our data indicates the novel role of Axl kinase as a driver of immune checkpoint molecules and chemokine signalling pathways in the progression of lung adenocarcinomas. This study also highlights the necessity of clinical trials in order to test the efficacy of Axl kinase inhibition in the Axl-highly expressing subset of lung adenocarcinomas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24
JournalMolecular Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb 11


  • Axl receptor tyrosine kinase
  • Chemokine signalling
  • Global gene expression array
  • Immune checkpoint molecules
  • Non-small-cell lung cancer


Dive into the research topics of 'Axl kinase drives immune checkpoint and chemokine signalling pathways in lung adenocarcinomas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this