Cytokine receptor signaling is required for the survival of ALK- anaplastic large cell lymphoma, even in the presence of JAK1/STAT3 mutations.
ABSTRACT: Activating Janus kinase (JAK) and signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) mutations have been discovered in many T-cell malignancies, including anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)- anaplastic large cell lymphomas (ALCLs). However, such mutations occur in a minority of patients. To investigate the clinical application of targeting JAK for ALK- ALCL, we treated ALK- cell lines of various histological origins with JAK inhibitors. Interestingly, most exogenous cytokine-independent cell lines responded to JAK inhibition regardless of JAK mutation status. JAK inhibitor sensitivity correlated with the STAT3 phosphorylation status of tumor cells. Using retroviral shRNA knockdown, we have demonstrated that these JAK inhibitor-sensitive cells are dependent on both JAK1 and STAT3 for survival. JAK1 and STAT3 gain-of-function mutations were found in some, but not all, JAK inhibitor-sensitive cells. Moreover, the mutations alone cannot explain the JAK1/STAT3 dependency, given that wild-type JAK1 or STAT3 was sufficient to promote cell survival in the cells that had either JAK1or STAT3 mutations. To investigate whether other mechanisms were involved, we knocked down upstream receptors GP130 or IL-2R?. Knockdown of GP130 or IL-2R? induced cell death in selected JAK inhibitor-sensitive cells. High expression levels of cytokines, including IL-6, were demonstrated in cell lines as well as in primary ALK- ALCL tumors. Finally, ruxolitinib, a JAK1/2 inhibitor, was effective in vivo in a xenograft ALK- ALCL model. Our data suggest that cytokine receptor signaling is required for tumor cell survival in diverse forms of ALK- ALCL, even in the presence of JAK1/STAT3 mutations. Therefore, JAK inhibitor therapy might benefit patients with ALK- ALCL who are phosphorylated STAT3.
Project description:Activating JAK and STAT mutations were discovered in many T-cell malignancies including ALK- anaplastic large cell lymphomas (ALCL). However, such mutations often occur in a minority of patients. To investigate the clinical application of targeting Janus Kinase (JAK) for ALK- ALCL, we treated ALK- cell lines of different histologic origins with JAK inhibitors. Interestingly, most exogenous cytokine independent cell lines responded to JAK inhibition regardless of JAK mutation status. JAK inhibitor sensitivity correlated with STAT3 phosphorylation status of tumor cells. Employing retroviral shRNA knockdown, we demonstrated that these JAK inhibitor sensitive cells were dependent on both JAK1 and STAT3 for survival. JAK1 and STAT3 gain-of-function mutations were found in some but not all JAK inhibitor sensitive cells. Moreover, the mutations alone could not explain the JAK1/STAT3 dependency as wild-type JAK1 or STAT3 was sufficient to promote cell survival in the cells that had either JAK1or STAT3 mutations. To investigate whether other mechanisms were involved, we knocked down upstream receptors GP130 or IL-2Rγ. Knockdown of GP130 or IL-2Rγ induced cell death in select JAK inhibitor sensitive cells. High levels of cytokine expression including IL-6 were demonstrated in cell lines as well as in primary ALK- ALCL tumors. Finally, ruxolitinib, a JAK1/2 inhibitor, was effective in vivo in a xenograft ALK- ALCL model. Our data suggest cytokine receptor signaling was required for tumor cell survival in diverse forms of ALK- ALCL even in the presence of JAK1/STAT3 mutations. Therefore, JAK-inhibitor therapy might benefit patients with ALK- ALCL that are pSTAT3+. Overall design: We performed RNA-seq to examine whether JAK and STAT genes were mutated in these JAK inhibitor sensitive ALK-ALCL cell lines: Mac-1, Mac-2A, Mac-2B, Fe-Pd, TLBR1, and TLBR2,(n=6). pSTAT3 negative ALK-ALCL cell lines DL40 and TLBR3 (n=2) (also JAK inhibitor insensitive) were used as negative cell controls. All ALK- cell lines grew independent of exogenous cytokines with the exception of TLBR4, which needed exogenous IL-2 to grow.
Project description:Peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCL) are a heterogeneous, and often aggressive group of non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Recent advances in the molecular and genetic characterization of PTCLs have helped to delineate differences and similarities between the various subtypes, and the JAK/STAT pathway has been found to play an important oncogenic role. Here, we aimed to characterize the JAK/STAT pathway in PTCL subtypes and investigate whether the activation of the pathway correlates with the frequency of STAT gene mutations. Patient samples from AITL (n = 30), ALCL (n = 21) and PTCL-NOS (n = 12) cases were sequenced for STAT3, STAT5B, JAK1, JAK3, and RHOA mutations using amplicon sequencing and stained immunohistochemically for pSTAT3, pMAPK, and pAKT. We discovered STAT3 mutations in 13% of AITL, 13% of ALK+ ALCL, 38% of ALK- ALCL and 17% of PTCL-NOS cases. However, no STAT5B mutations were found and JAK mutations were only present in ALK- ALCL (15%). Concurrent mutations were found in all subgroups except ALK+ ALCL where STAT3 mutations were always seen alone. High pY-STAT3 expression was observed especially in AITL and ALCL samples. When studying JAK-STAT pathway mutations, pY-STAT3 expression was highest in PTCLs harboring either JAK1 or STAT3 mutations and CD30+ phenotype representing primarily ALK- ALCLs. Further investigation is needed to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of JAK-STAT pathway activation in PTCL.
Project description:A systematic characterization of the genetic alterations driving ALCLs has not been performed. By integrating massive sequencing strategies, we provide a comprehensive characterization of driver genetic alterations (somatic point mutations, copy number alterations, and gene fusions) in ALK(-) ALCLs. We identified activating mutations of JAK1 and/or STAT3 genes in ?20% of 88 [corrected] ALK(-) ALCLs and demonstrated that 38% of systemic ALK(-) ALCLs displayed double lesions. Recurrent chimeras combining a transcription factor (NFkB2 or NCOR2) with a tyrosine kinase (ROS1 or TYK2) were also discovered in WT JAK1/STAT3 ALK(-) ALCL. All these aberrations lead to the constitutive activation of the JAK/STAT3 pathway, which was proved oncogenic. Consistently, JAK/STAT3 pathway inhibition impaired cell growth in vitro and in vivo.
Project description:Inflammatory hepatocellular adenomas (IHCAs) are benign liver lesions that can be characterized histologically by the presence of an inflammatory infiltrate and at the molecular level by the overexpression of acute phase inflammatory response genes. Recurrent somatic mutations of the interleukin-6 (IL-6) signal transducer (IL6ST) locus, encoding the critical component of the IL-6 signal transduction machinery gp130, are present in 60% of IHCAs and in a subset (2%) of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCCs). By screening of 256 human hepatic adenoma specimens (the largest genetic analysis of IL6ST performed to date in this setting), we identified 24 distinct somatic IL6ST mutations among 66 mutant adenomas. The functional analysis of nine different gp130 mutants expressed in hepatic cancer cell lines consistently revealed the constitutive and IL-6-independent activation of the JAK/STAT signaling pathway. We further demonstrated that the signaling activity of mutant gp130 in IHCA remains responsive to suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3), a physiological gp130 inhibitor. Specifically, cells expressing a double mutant variant of gp130 with a disrupted SOCS3-binding site at residue 759 (Y186/Y759F) displayed a hyperactivation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) as compared with cells expressing the endogenous IHCA-associated Y186 gp130 mutant. Notably, we identified that constitutive signaling via gp130 in IHCA requires the Janus kinase family member JAK1, but not JAK2 or tyrosine kinase 2. In support of this notion, AG490, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that selectively blocks JAK2, had no effect on gp130 activity. In stark contrast, we showed that ruxolitinib, a JAK1/JAK2-selective tyrosine kinase inhibitor used to treat patients with myelofibrosis, dramatically impaired JAK1-STAT signaling downstream of all IHCA-associated gp130 mutants. In conclusion, our findings provide a rationale for the use of JAK1 inhibitors for the treatment of HCAs expressing mutant gp130 as well as a subset of HCCs that bear similar mutations.
Project description:NKL homeobox genes encode developmental transcription factors and display an NKL-code according to their physiological expression pattern in hematopoiesis. Here, we analyzed public transcriptome data from primary innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) for NKL homeobox gene activities and found that ILC3 expressed exclusively HHEX while in ILC1 and ILC2 these genes were silenced. Deregulation of the NKL-code promotes hematopoietic malignancies, including anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) which reportedly may derive from ILC3. Accordingly, we analyzed NKL homeobox gene activities in ALCL cell lines and investigated their role in this malignancy. Transcriptome analyses demonstrated low expression levels of HHEX but powerfully activated HLX. Forced expression of HHEX in ALCL cell lines induced genes involved in apoptosis and ILC3 differentiation, indicating tumor suppressor activity. ALCL associated NPM1-ALK and JAK-STAT3-signalling drove enhanced expression of HLX while discounting HHEX. Genomic profiling revealed copy number gains at the loci of HLX and STAT3 in addition to genes encoding both STAT3 regulators (AURKA, BCL3, JAK3, KPNB1, NAMPT, NFAT5, PIM3, ROCK1, SIX1, TPX2, WWOX) and targets (BATF3, IRF4, miR135b, miR21, RORC). Transcriptome data of ALCL cell lines showed absence of STAT3 mutations while MGA was mutated and downregulated, encoding a novel potential STAT3 repressor. Furthermore, enhanced IL17F-signalling activated HLX while TGFbeta-signalling inhibited HHEX expression. Taken together, our data extend the scope of the NKL-code for ILCs and spotlight aberrant expression of NKL homeobox gene HLX in ALCL. HLX represents a direct target of ALCL hallmark factor STAT3 and deregulates cell survival and differentiation in this malignancy.
Project description:The Janus kinase / signal transducer and activator of transcription (Jak/STAT) pathway can be activated by many different cytokines, among them all members of the Interleukin (IL-)6 family. Dysregulation of this pathway, resulting in its constitutive activation, is associated with chronic inflammation and cancer development. In the present study, we show that activity of protein kinase II (CK2), a ubiquitously expressed serine/threonine kinase, is needed for induced activation of STAT1 and STAT3 by IL-6 classic and trans-signaling, IL-11, IL-27, oncostatin M (OSM), leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and cardiotrophin-1 (CT-1). Inhibition of CK2 efficiently prevented STAT phosphorylation and inhibited cytokine-dependent cell proliferation in a Jak1-dependent manner. Conversely, forced activation of CK2 alone was not sufficient to induce activation of the Jak/STAT signaling pathway. Inhibition of CK2 in turn inhibited Jak1-dependent STAT activation by oncogenic gp130 mutations. Furthermore, CK2 inhibition diminished the Jak1- and Src kinase-dependent phosphorylation of a constitutively active STAT3 mutant recently described in human large granular lymphocytic leukemia. In conclusion, we characterize CK2 as an essential component of the Jak/STAT pathway. Pharmacologic inhibition of this kinase is therefore a promising strategy to treat human inflammatory diseases and malignancies associated with constitutive activation of the Jak/STAT pathway.
Project description:Iron dysregulation is associated with several diseases, including lung cancer, but the underlying mechanism is yet unknown. Iron directly binds CDK1, which is upregulated in several cancers, thereby promoting JAK1 phosphorylation and activation of STAT3 signaling to promote colorectal carcinogenesis. This study aimed to investigate the role of iron/CDK1/STAT3 signaling in lung carcinogenesis. We found that iron-dependent CDK1 activity upregulated IL-6 receptor subunit GP130 post-transcriptionally via phosphorylation of 4E-BP1, which is critical for activation of JAK/STAT3 signaling. CDK1 and STAT3 are essential for iron-mediated colony formation in lung cancer cell lines. CDK1 knockdown and iron chelator DFO decreased tumorigenicity and GP130/STAT3 signaling in vivo. Moreover, CDK1/GP130/STAT3 signaling were elevated in lung cancer tissues compared with adjacent normal lung tissues. Altogether, the present results suggest that CDK1 inhibition and iron deprivation are potential strategies to target GP130/STAT3 signaling to suppress lung cancer.
Project description:Interleukin (IL)-21 has been reported to both stimulate cell growth and promote survival in benign lymphoid cells and several types of hematopoietic neoplasms. It induces JAK3/STAT3 signaling, a biologically important cellular pathway activated in most cases of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-expressing anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALK(+)ALCL). Therefore, we hypothesize that IL-21 may contribute to JAK3/STAT3 activation and cell growth in ALK(+)ALCL. By reverse transcription-PCR, we found consistent expression of IL-21 receptor (IL-21R) in all ALK(+)ALCL cell lines and frozen tumors examined. IL-21 was also consistently expressed in ALK(+)ALCL tumors, although its mRNA was detectable in only one of three cell lines tested. By immunohistochemistry, we examined 10 paraffin-embedded ALK(+)ALCL tumors; all cases were positive for both IL-21 and IL-21R in these neoplastic cells. IL-21 signaling is biologically significant in ALK(+)ALCL since the addition of recombinant IL-21 enhanced the activation of JAK3/STAT3 and significantly increased cell growth in ALK(+)ALCL cell lines. However, small interfering RNA down-regulation of IL-21R significantly decreased both STAT3 activation and cell growth. IL-21R expression is not linked to nucleophosmin-ALK since forced expression of nucleophosmin-ALK and small interfering RNA down-regulation of nucleophosmin-ALK did not significantly change the expression of either IL-21R or IL-21. Our findings thus support the enhancement of JAK3/STAT3 activation and cell growth in ALK(+)ALCL via IL-21 signaling. These results further support the concept that constitutive activation of STAT3 in these tumors is multifactorial.
Project description:Abnormal activation of the ?c cytokine JAK/STAT signaling pathway assessed by STAT3 or STAT5b phosphorylation was present in a proportion of many T-cell malignancies. Activating mutations of STAT3/STAT5b and JAK1/3 were present in some but not in all cases with constitutive signaling pathway activation. Using shRNA analysis pSTAT malignant T-cell lines were addicted to JAKs/STATs whether they were mutated or not. Activating JAK/STAT mutations were not sufficient to support leukemic cell proliferation but only augmented upstream pathway signals. Functional cytokine receptors were required for pSTAT expression. Combining a JAK1/2 inhibitor with a Bcl-xL inhibitor navitoclax provided additive/synergistic activity with IL-2 dependent ATLL cell lines and in a mouse model of human IL-2 dependent ATLL. The insight that disorders of the ?c/JAK/STAT system are pervasive suggests approaches including those that target gamma cytokines, their receptors or that use JAK kinase inhibitors may be of value in multicomponent therapy for T-cell malignancies.
Project description:ALK inhibitor crizotinib has shown potent antitumor activity in children with refractory Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL) and the opportunity to include ALK inhibitors in first-line therapies is oncoming. However, recent studies suggest that crizotinib-resistance mutations may emerge in ALCL patients. In the present study, we analyzed ALK kinase domain mutational status of 36 paediatric ALCL patients at diagnosis to identify point mutations and gene aberrations that could impact on NPM-ALK gene expression, activity and sensitivity to small-molecule inhibitors. Amplicon ultra-deep sequencing of ALK kinase domain detected 2 single point mutations, R335Q and R291Q, in 2 cases, 2 common deletions of exon 23 and 25 in all the patients, and 7 splicing-related INDELs in a variable number of them. The functional impact of missense mutations and INDELs was evaluated. Point mutations were shown to affect protein kinase activity, signalling output and drug sensitivity. INDELs, instead, generated kinase-dead variants with dominant negative effect on NPM-ALK kinase, in virtue of their capacity of forming non-functional heterocomplexes. Consistently, when co-expressed, INDELs increased crizotinib inhibitory activity on NPM-ALK signal processing, as demonstrated by the significant reduction of STAT3 phosphorylation. Functional changes in ALK kinase activity induced by both point mutations and structural rearrangements were resolved by molecular modelling and dynamic simulation analysis, providing novel insights into ALK kinase domain folding and regulation. Therefore, these data suggest that NPM-ALK pre-therapeutic mutations may be found at low frequency in ALCL patients. These mutations occur randomly within the ALK kinase domain and affect protein activity, while preserving responsiveness to crizotinib.