Targeting JAK1/2 and mTOR in murine xenograft models of Ph-like acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Academic Article uri icon


  • CRLF2 rearrangements, JAK1/2 point mutations, and JAK2 fusion genes have been identified in Philadelphia chromosome (Ph)-like acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a recently described subtype of pediatric high-risk B-precursor ALL (B-ALL) which exhibits a gene expression profile similar to Ph-positive ALL and has a poor prognosis. Hyperactive JAK/STAT and PI3K/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling is common in this high-risk subset. We, therefore, investigated the efficacy of the JAK inhibitor ruxolitinib and the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin in xenograft models of 8 pediatric B-ALL cases with and without CRLF2 and JAK genomic lesions. Ruxolitinib treatment yielded significantly lower peripheral blast counts compared with vehicle (P < .05) in 6 of 8 human leukemia xenografts and lower splenic blast counts (P < .05) in 8 of 8 samples. Enhanced responses to ruxolitinib were observed in samples harboring JAK-activating lesions and higher levels of STAT5 phosphorylation. Rapamycin controlled leukemia burden in all 8 B-ALL samples. Survival analysis of 2 representative B-ALL xenografts demonstrated prolonged survival with rapamycin treatment compared with vehicle (P < .01). These data demonstrate preclinical in vivo efficacy of ruxolitinib and rapamycin in this high-risk B-ALL subtype, for which novel treatments are urgently needed, and highlight the therapeutic potential of targeted kinase inhibition in Ph-like ALL.

publication date

  • January 1, 2012