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Accession IconGSE95770

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

Organism Icon Homo sapiens
Sample Icon 16 Downloadable Samples
Technology Badge Icon Affymetrix Clariom S Human array (clariomshuman)

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Patients relapsing with FLT3-ITD mutant acute myeloid leukemia (AML) after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) have a one-year-survival below 20%. We observed that sorafenib increased IL-15 production by FLT3-ITD+-leukemia cells, which synergized with the allogeneic CD8+T-cell response, leading to long-term survival in murine and humanized FLT3-ITD+AML models. Using IL-15 deficiency in recipient tissues or leukemia cells, IL-15 production upon sorafenib-treatment could be attributed to leukemia cells. Sorafenib treatment-related IL-15 production caused an increase in CD8+CD107a+IFN-+ T-cells with features of longevity (Bcl-2high/reduced PD-1-levels), which eradicated leukemia in secondary recipients. Mechanistically, sorafenib reduced ATF4 expression, thereby blocking negative regulation of IRF7-activation, which enhances IL-15 transcription. Consistent with the mouse data, IL-15 and pIRF7 levels increased in leukemic blasts of FLT3-ITD+AML patients upon sorafenib treatment. Analysis of 130 patients with FLT3-ITD-mutant AML relapsing after allo-HCT showed the highest complete remission-rate and median overall-survival-rate in the sorafenib/donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) group compared to all other groups (chemotherapy, chemotherapy/DLI, sorafenib alone). Our findings indicate that the synergism of DLI and sorafenib is mediated via reduced ATF4 expression, causing activation of the pIRF7/IL-15-axis in leukemia cells. The sorafenib/DLI strategy therefore has the potential for an immune-mediated cure of FLT3-ITD-mutant AML- relapse, an otherwise fatal complication after allo-HCT.
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