Aberrant JAK2 tyrosine kinase signaling drives the development of Philadelphia chromosome-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), including polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia, and primary myelofibrosis. However, JAK2 kinase inhibitors have failed to significantly reduce allele burden in MPN patients, underscoring the need for improved therapeutic strategies. Members of the PIM family of serine/threonine kinases promote cellular proliferation by regulating a variety of cellular processes, including protein synthesis and the balance of signaling that regulates apoptosis. Overexpression of PIM family members is oncogenic, exemplified by their ability to induce lymphomas in collaboration with c-Myc. Thus, PIM kinases are potential therapeutic targets for several malignancies such as solid tumors and blood cancers. We and others have shown that PIM inhibitors augment the efficacy of JAK2 inhibitors by using in vitro models of MPNs. Here we report that the recently developed pan-PIM inhibitor INCB053914 augments the efficacy of the US Food and Drug Administration-approved JAK1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib in both in vitro and in vivo MPN models. INCB053914 synergizes with ruxolitinib to inhibit cell growth in JAK2-driven MPN models and induce apoptosis. Significantly, low nanomolar INCB053914 enhances the efficacy of ruxolitinib to inhibit the neoplastic growth of primary MPN patient cells, and INCB053914 antagonizes ruxolitinib persistent myeloproliferation in vivo. These findings support the notion that INCB053914, which is currently in clinical trials in patients with advanced hematologic malignancies, in combination with ruxolitinib may be effective in MPN patients, and they support the clinical testing of this combination in MPN patients.
© 2019 by The American Society of Hematology.