Sorafenib promotes graft-versus-leukemia activity in mice and humans through IL-15 production in FLT3-ITD-mutant leukemia cells.

Mathew, Nimitha R; Baumgartner, Francis; Braun, Lukas; O'Sullivan, David; Thomas, Simone; Waterhouse, Miguel; Müller, Tony A; Hanke, Kathrin; Taromi, Sanaz; Apostolova, Petya; Illert, Anna L; Melchinger, Wolfgang; Duquesne, Sandra; Schmitt-Graeff, Annette; Osswald, Lena; Yan, Kai-Li; Weber, Arnim; Tugues, Sonia; Spath, Sabine; Pfeifer, Dietmar; ... (2018). Sorafenib promotes graft-versus-leukemia activity in mice and humans through IL-15 production in FLT3-ITD-mutant leukemia cells. Nature medicine, 24(3), pp. 282-291. Nature Publishing Group 10.1038/nm.4484

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Individuals with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) harboring an internal tandem duplication (ITD) in the gene encoding Fms-related tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) who relapse after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) have a 1-year survival rate below 20%. We observed that sorafenib, a multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor, increased IL-15 production by FLT3-ITD leukemia cells. This synergized with the allogeneic CD8 T cell response, leading to long-term survival in six mouse models of FLT3-ITD AML. Sorafenib-related IL-15 production caused an increase in CD8CD107aIFN-γ T cells with features of longevity (high levels of Bcl-2 and reduced PD-1 levels), which eradicated leukemia in secondary recipients. Mechanistically, sorafenib reduced expression of the transcription factor ATF4, thereby blocking negative regulation of interferon regulatory factor 7 (IRF7) activation, which enhanced IL-15 transcription. Both IRF7 knockdown and ATF4 overexpression in leukemia cells antagonized sorafenib-induced IL-15 production in vitro. Human FLT3-ITD AML cells obtained from sorafenib responders following sorafenib therapy showed increased levels of IL-15, phosphorylated IRF7, and a transcriptionally active IRF7 chromatin state. The mitochondrial spare respiratory capacity and glycolytic capacity of CD8 T cells increased upon sorafenib treatment in sorafenib responders but not in nonresponders. Our findings indicate that the synergism of T cells and sorafenib is mediated via reduced ATF4 expression, causing activation of the IRF7-IL-15 axis in leukemia cells and thereby leading to metabolic reprogramming of leukemia-reactive T cells in humans. Therefore, sorafenib treatment has the potential to contribute to an immune-mediated cure of FLT3-ITD-mutant AML relapse, an otherwise fatal complication after allo-HCT.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Clinic of Medical Oncology

UniBE Contributor:

Pabst Müller, Thomas Niklaus

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

1078-8956

Publisher:

Nature Publishing Group

Language:

English

Submitter:

Rebeka Gerber

Date Deposited:

07 Mar 2019 09:07

Last Modified:

25 Oct 2019 23:44

Publisher DOI:

10.1038/nm.4484

PubMed ID:

29431743

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.124048

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/124048

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