CRISPR/Cas9 Screen in Gastric Cancer Patient-Derived Organoids Reveals KDM1A-NDRG1 Axis as a Targetable Vulnerability

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Viability CRISPR screens have proven indispensable in parsing genome function. However, their application in new, more physiologically relevant culturing systems like patient-derived organoids (PDOs) has been much slower. To probe epigenetic contribution to gastric cancer (GC), the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, the first negative selection CRISPR screen in GC PDOs that faithfully preserve primary tumor characteristics is performed. Extensive quality control measurements showing feasibility of CRISPR screens in primary organoid culture are provided. The screen reveals the histone lysine demethylase-1A (KDM1A) to constitute a GC vulnerability. Both genetic and pharmacological inhibition of KDM1A cause organoid growth retardation. Further, it is shown that most of KDM1A cancer-supporting functions center on repression of N-myc downstream regulates gene-1 (NDRG1). De-repression of NDRG1 by KDM1A inhibitors (KDM1Ai) causes inhibition of Wnt signaling and a strong G1 cell cycle arrest. Finally, by profiling 20 GC PDOs, it is shown that NDRG1 upregulation predicts KDM1Ai response with 100% sensitivity and 82% specificity in the tested cohort. Thus, this work pioneers the use of negative selection CRISPR screens in patient-derived organoids, identifies a marker of KDM1Ai response, and accordingly a cohort of patients who may benefit from such therapy.


Original languageEnglish
Article number2201605
Number of pages14
JournalSmall Methods
Issue number6
Early online dateMar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2023

External IDs

Scopus 85150633400
WOS 000947120000001
Mendeley ed37758c-64e5-307e-aa4d-2c255e6d00d5
PubMed 36908010
ORCID /0000-0001-7367-5525/work/151437320


Research priority areas of TU Dresden

DFG Classification of Subject Areas according to Review Boards

Subject groups, research areas, subject areas according to Destatis

Sustainable Development Goals


  • CRISPR screen, Epigenetic regulators, Gastric cancer, KDM1A-NDRG1 axis, Patient-derived organoids, gastric cancer, epigenetic regulators, patient-derived organoids, Stomach Neoplasms/genetics, Humans, Organoids/metabolism, CRISPR-Cas Systems/genetics, Histone Demethylases/genetics, Cell Line, Tumor

Library keywords