Rebecca Cook
Faculty Member
Last active: 4/15/2019

Melanoma response to anti-PD-L1 immunotherapy requires JAK1 signaling, but not JAK2.

Luo N, Formisano L, Gonzalez-Ericsson PI, Sanchez V, Dean PT, Opalenik SR, Sanders ME, Cook RS, Arteaga CL, Johnson DB, Balko JM
Oncoimmunology. 2018 7 (6): e1438106

PMID: 29872580 · PMCID: PMC5975601 · DOI:10.1080/2162402X.2018.1438106

Immunotherapies targeting programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) or its ligand, programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1), dramatically improve the survival of melanoma patients. However, only ∼40% of treated patients demonstrate a clinical response to single-agent anti-PD-1 therapy. An intact tumor response to type-II interferon (i.e. IFN-γ) correlates with response to anti-PD-1, and patients with or acquired resistance may harbor loss-of-function alterations in the JAK/STAT pathway, which lies downstream of the interferon gamma receptor (IFNGR1/2). In this study, we dissected the specific roles of individual JAK/STAT pathway members on the IFN-γ response, and identified JAK1 as the primary mediator of JAK/STAT signaling associated with IFN-γ-induced expression of antigen-presenting molecules MHC-I and MHC-II, as well as PD-L1 and the cytostatic response to IFN-γ. In contrast to the crucial role of JAK1, JAK2 was largely dispensable in mediating most IFN-γ effects. In a mouse melanoma model, inhibition of JAK1/2 in combination with anti-PD-L1 therapy partially blocked anti-tumor immunologic responses, while selective JAK2 inhibition appeared to augment therapy. Amplification of JAK/STAT signaling in tumor cells through genetic inhibition of the negative regulator potentiated IFN-γ response and , and may be a target to enhance immunotherapy efficacy.

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