Background: All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), a derivate of vitamin A, has been successfully used as a therapy to induce differentiation in M3 acute promyelocytic leukemia (APML), and has led to marked improvement in outcomes. Previously, attempts to use ATRA in non-APML in the clinic, however, have been underwhelming, likely due to persistent signaling through other oncogenic drivers. Dysregulated JAK/STAT signaling is known to drive several hematologic malignancies, and targeting JAK1 and JAK2 with the JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor ruxolitinib has led to improvement in survival in primary myelofibrosis and alleviation of vasomotor symptoms and splenomegaly in polycythemia vera and myelofibrosis.
Objective: While dose-dependent anemia and thrombocytopenia limit the use of JAK2 inhibition, selectively targeting JAK1 has been explored as a means to suppress inflammation and STAT-associated pathologies related to neoplastogenesis. The objective of this study is to employ JAK1 inhibition (JAK1i) in the presence of ATRA as a potential therapy in non-M3 acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Methods: Efficacy of JAK1i using INCB52793 was assessed by changes in cell cycle and apoptosis in treated AML cell lines. Transcriptomic and proteomic analysis evaluated effects of JAK1i. Synergy between JAK1i+ ATRA was assessed in cell lines in vitro while efficacy in vivo was assessed by tumor reduction in MV-4-11 cell line-derived xenografts.
Results: Here we describe novel synergistic activity between JAK1i inhibition and ATRA in non-M3 leukemia. Transcriptomic and proteomic analysis confirmed structural and functional changes related to maturation while in vivo combinatory studies revealed significant decreases in leukemic expansion.
Conclusions: JAK1i+ ATRA lead to decreases in cell cycle followed by myeloid differentiation and cell death in human leukemias. These findings highlight potential uses of ATRA-based differentiation therapy of non-M3 human leukemia.
© 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.