Targeting non-canonical pathways as a strategy to modulate the NIS symporter

Research output: Working paper/PreprintPreprint


  • Katie Brookes
  • Caitlin Thornton
  • Hannah Nieto
  • Mohammed Alshahrani
  • Rashida Khan
  • Patricia Borges de Souza
  • Ling Zha
  • Jamie Webster
  • Vicki Smith
  • Christopher McCabe


The sodium iodide symporter (NIS) functions to transport iodide and is critical for successful radioiodide ablation of cancer cells. Approaches to bolster NIS function and diminish recurrence post-radioiodide therapy are impeded by oncogenic pathways that suppress NIS, as well as the inherent complexity of NIS regulation. Here, we utilised NIS in high-throughput drug screening and undertook rigorous evaluation of lead compounds to identify and target key processes underpinning NIS function. We find that multiple proteostasis pathways, including proteasomal degradation and autophagy, are central to the cellular processing of NIS. Utilizing inhibitors targeting distinct molecular processes, we pinpoint combinatorial drug strategies giving robust >5-fold increases in radioiodide uptake. We also reveal significant dysregulation of core proteostasis genes in human tumors, identifying a 13-gene riskscore classifier as an independent predictor of recurrence in radioiodide-treated patients. We thus propose and discuss a new model for targetable steps of intracellular processing of NIS function.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2021


  • NIS, radioiodide, thyroid cancer, proteosome, autophagy, protein homeostasis

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