Identifying hyperactive kinases in cancer is crucial for individualized treatment with specific inhibitors. Kinase activity can be discerned from global protein phosphorylation profiles obtained with mass spectrometry-based phosphoproteomics. A major challenge is to relate such profiles to specific hyperactive kinases fueling growth/progression of tumors. Hitherto, the focus has been on phosphorylation of either kinases or their substrates. Here, we combined label-free kinase-centric and substrate-centric information in an Integrative Inferred Kinase Activity (INKA) analysis. This multipronged, stringent analysis enables ranking of kinase activity and visualization of kinase-substrate networks in a single biological sample. To demonstrate utility, we analyzed (i) cancer cell lines with known oncogenes, (ii) cell lines in a differential setting (wild-type versus mutant, +/- drug), (iii) pre- and on-treatment tumor needle biopsies, (iv) cancer cell panel with available drug sensitivity data, and (v) patient-derived tumor xenografts with INKA-guided drug selection and testing. These analyses show superior performance of INKA over its components and substrate-based single-sample tool KARP, and underscore target potential of high-ranking kinases, encouraging further exploration of INKA's functional and clinical value.
- computational tool
- drug selection
- kinase–substrate phosphorylation network
- single‐sample analysis