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Lung squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) is a considerable global health burden, with an incidence of over 600,000 cases per year. Treatment options are limited, and patient’s 5-year survival rate is less than 5%. The ubiquitin-specific protease 28 (USP28) has been implicated in tumourigenesis through its stabilization of the oncoproteins c-MYC, c-JUN, and Δp63. Here, we show that genetic inactivation of Usp28-induced regression of established murine LSCC lung tumours. We developed a small molecule that inhibits USP28 activity in the low nanomole range. While displaying cross-reactivity against the closest homologue USP25, this inhibitor showed a high degree of selectivity over other deubiquitinases. USP28 inhibitor treatment resulted in a dramatic decrease in c-MYC, c-JUN, and Δp63 proteins levels and consequently induced substantial regression of autochthonous murine LSCC tumours and human LSCC xenografts, thereby phenocopying the effect observed by genetic deletion. Thus, USP28 may represent a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of squamous cell lung carcinoma.

Original publication




Journal article




eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd

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