The IL6/JAK/STAT3 signaling axis is a therapeutic vulnerability in SMARCB1-deficient bladder cancer

Nat Commun. 2024 Feb 14;15(1):1373. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-45132-2.


SMARCB1 loss has long been observed in many solid tumors. However, there is a need to elucidate targetable pathways driving growth and metastasis in SMARCB1-deficient tumors. Here, we demonstrate that SMARCB1 deficiency, defined as genomic SMARCB1 copy number loss associated with reduced mRNA, drives disease progression in patients with bladder cancer by engaging STAT3. SMARCB1 loss increases the chromatin accessibility of the STAT3 locus in vitro. Orthotopically implanted SMARCB1 knockout (KO) cell lines exhibit increased tumor growth and metastasis. SMARCB1-deficient tumors show an increased IL6/JAK/STAT3 signaling axis in in vivo models and patients. Furthermore, a pSTAT3 selective inhibitor, TTI-101, reduces tumor growth in SMARCB1 KO orthotopic cell line-derived xenografts and a SMARCB1-deficient patient derived xenograft model. We have identified a gene signature generated from SMARCB1 KO tumors that predicts SMARCB1 deficiency in patients. Overall, these findings support the clinical evaluation of STAT3 inhibitors for the treatment of SMARCB1-deficient bladder cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6* / genetics
  • Interleukin-6* / metabolism
  • SMARCB1 Protein / genetics
  • SMARCB1 Protein / metabolism
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms* / genetics


  • Interleukin-6
  • SMARCB1 Protein
  • SMARCB1 protein, human
  • STAT3 protein, human
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor