Pfister SX et al.
Histone H3K36 trimethylation (H3K36me3) is frequently lost in multiple cancer types, identifying it as an important therapeutic target. Here we identify a synthetic lethal interaction in which H3K36me3-deficient cancers are acutely sensitive to WEE1 inhibition. We show that RRM2, a ribonucleotide reductase subunit, is the target of this synthetic lethal interaction. RRM2 is regulated by two pathways here: first, H3K36me3 facilitates RRM2 expression through transcription initiation factor recruitment; second, WEE1 inhibition degrades RRM2 through untimely CDK activation. Therefore, WEE1 inhibition in H3K36me3-deficient cells results in RRM2 reduction, critical dNTP depletion, S-phase arrest, and apoptosis. Accordingly, this synthetic lethality is suppressed by increasing RRM2 expression or inhibiting RRM2 degradation. Finally, we demonstrate that WEE1 inhibitor AZD1775 regresses H3K36me3-deficient tumor xenografts.