Monogenic early-onset lymphoproliferation and autoimmunity: Natural history of STAT3 gain-of-function syndrome

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2023 Apr;151(4):1081-1095. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2022.09.002. Epub 2022 Oct 11.


Background: In 2014, germline signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 3 gain-of-function (GOF) mutations were first described to cause a novel multisystem disease of early-onset lymphoproliferation and autoimmunity.

Objective: This pivotal cohort study defines the scope, natural history, treatment, and overall survival of a large global cohort of patients with pathogenic STAT3 GOF variants.

Methods: We identified 191 patients from 33 countries with 72 unique mutations. Inclusion criteria included symptoms of immune dysregulation and a biochemically confirmed germline heterozygous GOF variant in STAT3.

Results: Overall survival was 88%, median age at onset of symptoms was 2.3 years, and median age at diagnosis was 12 years. Immune dysregulatory features were present in all patients: lymphoproliferation was the most common manifestation (73%); increased frequencies of double-negative (CD4-CD8-) T cells were found in 83% of patients tested. Autoimmune cytopenias were the second most common clinical manifestation (67%), followed by growth delay, enteropathy, skin disease, pulmonary disease, endocrinopathy, arthritis, autoimmune hepatitis, neurologic disease, vasculopathy, renal disease, and malignancy. Infections were reported in 72% of the cohort. A cellular and humoral immunodeficiency was observed in 37% and 51% of patients, respectively. Clinical symptoms dramatically improved in patients treated with JAK inhibitors, while a variety of other immunomodulatory treatment modalities were less efficacious. Thus far, 23 patients have undergone bone marrow transplantation, with a 62% survival rate.

Conclusion: STAT3 GOF patients present with a wide array of immune-mediated disease including lymphoproliferation, autoimmune cytopenias, and multisystem autoimmunity. Patient care tends to be siloed, without a clear treatment strategy. Thus, early identification and prompt treatment implementation are lifesaving for STAT3 GOF syndrome.

Keywords: STAT3; autoimmunity; cytopenia; gain of function; immune dysregulation; immunodeficiency; lymphoproliferation; precision medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmunity / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Gain of Function Mutation
  • Humans
  • Immune System Diseases*
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes* / genetics
  • Lymphocytes
  • Mutation
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / genetics


  • STAT3 protein, human
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor