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2779 JAK/STAT Inhibition Targets TP53 altered Primary Human Acute Myeloid Leukemia Stem Cells

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 604. Molecular Pharmacology and Drug Resistance in Myeloid Diseases: Poster III
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Biological, apoptosis, Therapies, Combinations, Biological Processes, Clinically relevant, stem cells, pathways, signal transduction
Monday, December 7, 2020, 7:00 AM-3:30 PM

Marie Lue Antony, PhD1,2*, Klara Noble-Orcutt, BS, MS1,2*, Yoonku Lee, MS1,2*, Oluwateniayo Ogunsan2*, Jeffrey Lee Jensen, MD, PhD2*, Fiona He, MD1,2 and Zohar Sachs, MD, PhD1,2

1Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology Oncology and Transplantation, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
2Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

In acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the impact of genetic drivers on response to therapy and long-term survival has been well characterized. AML with complex cytogenetics and TP53 alterations (TP53Alt) is a poor-risk AML subtype that is largely insensitive to chemotherapy, modern targeted agents, and hematopoietic stem cell transplant leading to survival rates 0-10% at 1 year. In contrast, AML with favorable risk molecular features is highly sensitive to chemotherapy and confers survival rates of 50-70%. AML with intermediate risk molecular features can be responsive to chemotherapy and can be cured with hematopoietic stem cell transplant leading to overall survival rates of 30-60%. Leukemia stem cells (LSCs), the cells that recapitulate and propagate leukemia, are central to leukemia progression and relapse. Given the differences in chemo-sensitivity and clinical behavior of genetic subgroups of AML, we asked whether LSCs from poor risk AMLs exhibit distinct signaling activation profiles. We assembled a panel of 23 primary human AML samples with intermediate- and poor- risk genetics and used CyTOF (mass cytometry) to quantitatively measure the levels of immunophenotypic proteins and intracellular signaling molecules in each sample, at the single-cell level. We gated on CD34+CD123+CD3-CD19- cells (LSCs) and measured the level of intracellular signaling molecules within the LSCs of each sample. Notably, the intracellular signaling activation state of LSCs from each AML subtype was distinct; NFkB, pERK, p4EBP1, and pSTAT3 were uniquely upregulated in complex cytogenetics and TP53Alt LSCs, relative to LSCs from intermediate risk AML, suggesting that these signaling pathways may be important for LSC function in this AML subtype. Given that TP53Alt independently confer treatment resistance in AML, we focused on this genetic subgroup. We compared the gene expression profiles of TP53Alt and TP53-wild-type AML samples from the BEAT AML dataset (Tyner et al. Nature 2018) and found that the gene expression profiles of TP53Alt samples are enriched for gene sets representing JAK/STAT signaling, consistent with our CyTOF data, which identified activation of STAT3 in TP53Alt LSCs. A recent drug screen in AML demonstrated that a JAK1/2 kinase inhibitor, AZD1480, can reduce the in vitro viability of TP53-deleted AML cell lines (Nechiporuk et al. Ca Discovery 2019), but these effects were not tested in primary AML samples or on LSCs. Since LSCs confer treatment resistance, we investigated the effect of the AZD1480 on the LSC population in TP53Alt primary human AML samples. AZD1480 treatment abolished all colony formation in primary human TP53Alt AML samples (n=7, 6 replicates per sample, p<0.01). Treatment of these samples in liquid cultures led to a 50% reduction in LSC frequency. We used CyTOF to profile the intracellular signaling states of in vitro treated samples and found that AZD1480 attenuated pSTAT3, pSTAT5, p4EBP1, and NFkB in the LSCs of these samples. The mTOR/4EBp1 and NFB pathways have been implicated as drivers of self-renewal and LSC function in AML. Our data suggest that JAK/STAT inhibition may target these pathways in TP53Alt LSCs. These data demonstrate the unique signaling states of TP53Alt LSCs, relative to other LSCs, and show that inhibition of the JAK/STAT pathway specifically targets LSCs within human TP53Alt AML.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

*signifies non-member of ASH