Leukemia cell-targeted STAT3 silencing and TLR9 triggering generate systemic antitumor immunity

Academic Article


  • Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is an oncogene and immune checkpoint commonly activated in cancer cells and in tumor-associated immune cells. We previously developed an immunostimulatory strategy based on targeted Stat3 silencing in Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9)-positive hematopoietic cells using CpG-small interfering RNA(siRNA) conjugates. Here, weassessed the therapeutic effectofsystemic STAT3 blocking/TLR9 triggering in disseminated acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We used mouse Cbfb-MYH11/Mpl-induced leukemia model, which mimics human inv(16) AML. Our results demonstrate that intravenously delivered CpG-Stat3 siRNA, but not control oligonucleotides, can eradicate established AML and impair leukemia-initiating potential. These antitumor effects require host's effector T cells but not TLR9-positive antigen-presenting cells. Instead, CpG-Stat3 siRNA has direct immunogenic effect on AML cells in vivo upregulating major histocompatibility complex class-II, costimulatory and proinflammatory mediators, such as interleukin-12, while downregulating coinhibi-tory PD-L1 molecule. Systemic injections of CpG-Stat3 siRNA generate potent tumor antigen-specific immune responses, increase the ratio of tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells to regulatory T cells in various organs, and result in CD8+ T-cell-dependent regression of leukemia. Our findings underscore the potential of using targeted STAT3 inhibition/TLR9 triggering to break tumor tolerance and induce immunity against AML and potentially other TLR9-positive blood cancers. © 2014 by The American Society of Hematology.
  • Published In

  • Blood  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hossain DMS; Dos Santos C; Zhang Q; Kozlowska A; Liu H; Gao C; Moreira D; Swiderski P; Jozwiak A; Kline J
  • Start Page

  • 15
  • End Page

  • 25
  • Volume

  • 123
  • Issue

  • 1