Germline mutations in STK11, which encodes the tumor suppressor liver kinase B1 (LKB1), promote Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS), a cancer predisposition syndrome characterized by the development of gastrointestinal (GI) polyps. Here, we report that heterozygous deletion of Stk11 in T cells (LThet mice) is sufficient to promote GI polyposis. Polyps from LThet mice, Stk11+/- mice, and human PJS patients display hallmarks of chronic inflammation, marked by inflammatory immune-cell infiltration, signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) activation, and increased expression of inflammatory factors associated with cancer progression [interleukin 6 (IL-6), IL-11, and CXCL2]. Targeting either T cells, IL-6, or STAT3 signaling reduced polyp growth in Stk11+/- animals. Our results identify LKB1-mediated inflammation as a tissue-extrinsic regulator of intestinal polyposis in PJS, suggesting possible therapeutic approaches by targeting deregulated inflammation in this disease.
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