ETV6 dependency in Ewing sarcoma by antagonism of EWS-FLI1-mediated enhancer activation


The EWS-FLI1 fusion oncoprotein deregulates transcription to initiate the paediatric cancer Ewing sarcoma. Here we used a domain-focused CRISPR screen to implicate the transcriptional repressor ETV6 as a unique dependency in this tumour. Using biochemical assays and epigenomics, we show that ETV6 competes with EWS-FLI1 for binding to select DNA elements enriched for short GGAA repeat sequences. Upon inactivating ETV6, EWS-FLI1 overtakes and hyper-activates these cis-elements to promote mesenchymal differentiation, with SOX11 being a key downstream target. We show that squelching of ETV6 with a dominant-interfering peptide phenocopies these effects and suppresses Ewing sarcoma growth in vivo. These findings reveal targeting of ETV6 as a strategy for neutralizing the EWS-FLI1 oncoprotein by reprogramming of genomic occupancy.ETV6 dependency in Ewing sarcoma

Nat Cell Biol. 2023 Jan 19.