Combined Targeting of JAK2 and Bcl-2/Bcl-xL to Cure Mutant JAK2-Driven Malignancies and Overcome Acquired Resistance to JAK2 Inhibitors
Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
Janus Kinase 2
Precursor T-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma
To design rational therapies for JAK2-driven hematological malignancies, we functionally dissected the key survival pathways downstream of hyperactive JAK2. In tumors driven by mutant JAK2, Stat1, Stat3, Stat5, and the Pi3k and Mek/Erk pathways were constitutively active, and gene expression profiling of TEL-JAK2 T-ALL cells revealed the upregulation of prosurvival Bcl-2 family genes. Combining the Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibitor ABT-737 with JAK2 inhibitors mediated prolonged disease regressions and cures in mice bearing primary human and mouse JAK2 mutant tumors. Moreover, combined targeting of JAK2 and Bcl-2/Bcl-xL was able to circumvent and overcome acquired resistance to single-agent JAK2 inhibitor treatment. Thus, inhibiting the oncogenic JAK2 signaling network at two nodal points, at the initiating stage (JAK2) and the effector stage (Bcl-2/Bcl-xL), is highly effective and provides a clearly superior therapeutic benefit than targeting just one node. Therefore, we have defined a potentially curative treatment for hematological malignancies expressing constitutively active JAK2.