Role of altered growth factor receptor-mediated JAK2 signaling in growth and maintenance of human acute myeloid leukemia stem cells

Academic Article


  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is sustained by small populations of leukemia stem cells (LSCs) that can resist available treatments and represent important barriers to cure. Although previous studies have shown increased signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)3 and STAT5 phosphorylation in AML leukemic blasts, the role of Janus kinase (JAK) signaling in primary AML compared with normal stem cells has not been directly evaluated. Weshowhere that JAK/STAT signaling is increased in LSCs, particularly from high-risk AML. JAK2 inhibition using small molecule inhibitors or interference RNA reduced growth of AML LSCs while sparing normal stem cells both in vitro and in vivo. Increased JAK/STAT activity was associated with increased expression and altered signaling through growth factor receptors in AML LSCs, including receptor tyrosine kinase c-KIT and FMS-related tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3). Inhibition of c-KIT and FLT3 expression significantly inhibited JAK/STAT signaling in AML LSCs, and JAK inhibitors effectively inhibited FLT3-mutated AML LSCs. Our results indicate that JAK/STAT signaling represents an important signaling mechanism supporting AML LSC growth and survival. These studies support continued evaluation of strategies for JAK/STAT inhibition for therapeutic targeting of AML LSCs. © 2014 by The American Society of Hematology.
  • Published In

  • Blood  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cook AM; Li L; Ho Y; Lin A; Li L; Stein A; Forman S; Perrotti D; Jove R; Bhatia R
  • Start Page

  • 2826
  • End Page

  • 2837
  • Volume

  • 123
  • Issue

  • 18