JAK2/STAT5 inhibition by nilotinib with ruxolitinib contributes to the elimination of CML CD34+ cells in vitro and in vivo

Academic Article


  • Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) stem cell survival is not dependent on BCR-ABL protein kinase and treatment with ABL tyrosine kinase inhibitors cures only a minority of CML patients, thus highlighting the need for novel therapeutic targets. The Janus kinase (JAK)2/signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)5 pathway has recently been explored for providing putative survival signals toCMLstem/progenitor cells (SPCs) with contradictory results. We investigated the role of this pathway using the JAK2 inhibitor, ruxolitinib (RUX). We demonstrated that the combination of RUX, at clinically achievable concentrations, with the specificandpotent tyrosine kinase inhibitor nilotinib, reduced the activity of the JAK2/STAT5 pathway in vitro relative to either single agent alone. These effects correlated with increased apoptosis of CML SPCs in vitro and a reduction in primitive quiescent CML stem cells, including NOD.Cg-Prkdcscid IL2rgtm1Wjl /SzJ mice repopulating cells, induced by combination treatment. A degree of toxicity toward normal SPCs was observed with the combination treatment, although this related to mature B-cell engraftment in NOD.Cg-Prkdcscid IL2rgtm1Wjl /SzJ mice with minimal effects on primitive CD34+ cells. These results support the JAK2/STAT5 pathway as a relevant therapeutic target in CML SPCs and endorse the current use of nilotinib in combination with RUX in clinical trials to eradicate persistent disease in CML patients. © 2014 by The American Society of Hematology.
  • Published In

  • Blood  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Gallipoli P; Cook A; Rhodes S; Hopcroft L; Wheadon H; Whetton AD; Jørgensen HG; Bhatia R; Holyoake TL
  • Start Page

  • 1492
  • End Page

  • 1501
  • Volume

  • 124
  • Issue

  • 9