Sci Adv. 2021 Oct;7(40):eabg1850. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abg1850. Epub 2021 Oct 1.
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) has a high degree of plasticity and is characterized by a remarkable response to chemotherapy followed by the development of resistance. Here, we use a mouse SCLC model to show that intratumoral heterogeneity of SCLC is progressively established during SCLC tumorigenesis. YAP/TAZ and Notch are required for the generation of non-neuroendocrine (Non-NE) SCLC tumor cells, but not for the initiation of SCLC. YAP signals through Notch-dependent and Notch-independent pathways to promote the fate conversion of SCLC from NE to Non-NE tumor cells by inducing Rest expression. In addition, YAP activation enhances the chemoresistance in NE SCLC tumor cells, while the inactivation of YAP in Non-NE SCLC tumor cells switches cell death induced by chemotherapy drugs from apoptosis to pyroptosis. Our study demonstrates that YAP plays critical roles in the establishment of intratumoral heterogeneity and highlights the potential of targeting YAP for chemoresistant SCLC.