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The IL-6 signaling complex is a critical driver, negative prognostic factor, and therapeutic target in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma


Hashwah, Hind; Bertram, Katrin; Stirm, Kristin; Stelling, Anna; Wu, Cheuk-Ting; Kasser, Sabrina; Manz, Markus G; Theocharides, Alexandre P; Tzankov, Alexandar; Müller, Anne (2019). The IL-6 signaling complex is a critical driver, negative prognostic factor, and therapeutic target in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. EMBO Molecular Medicine, 12:e10576.

Abstract

Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a growth factor for normal B cells and plasma cell-derived malignancies. Here, we show that the IL-6 signaling pathway is also active in a subset of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) patients with particularly poor prognosis. Primary DLBCL cells and DLBCL cell lines expressing IL-6R engraft and form orthotopic lymphomas in humanized mice that ectopically produce human IL-6, and in mice reconstituted with a human immune system. We show that a subset of DLBCL cases have evolved mechanisms that ensure constitutive activation of the IL-6 signaling pathway, i.e., the expression of both chains of the IL-6R, the expression of the cytokine itself, and the mutational inactivation of a negative regulator of IL-6 signaling, SOCS1. IL-6 signaling promotes MYC-driven lymphomagenesis in a genetically engineered model, and treatment with the IL-6R-specific antibody tocilizumab reduces growth of primary DLBCL cells and of DLBCL cell lines in various therapeutic settings. The combined results uncover the IL-6 signaling pathway as a driver and negative prognosticator in aggressive DLBCL that can be targeted with a safe and well-tolerated biologic.

Abstract

Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a growth factor for normal B cells and plasma cell-derived malignancies. Here, we show that the IL-6 signaling pathway is also active in a subset of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) patients with particularly poor prognosis. Primary DLBCL cells and DLBCL cell lines expressing IL-6R engraft and form orthotopic lymphomas in humanized mice that ectopically produce human IL-6, and in mice reconstituted with a human immune system. We show that a subset of DLBCL cases have evolved mechanisms that ensure constitutive activation of the IL-6 signaling pathway, i.e., the expression of both chains of the IL-6R, the expression of the cytokine itself, and the mutational inactivation of a negative regulator of IL-6 signaling, SOCS1. IL-6 signaling promotes MYC-driven lymphomagenesis in a genetically engineered model, and treatment with the IL-6R-specific antibody tocilizumab reduces growth of primary DLBCL cells and of DLBCL cell lines in various therapeutic settings. The combined results uncover the IL-6 signaling pathway as a driver and negative prognosticator in aggressive DLBCL that can be targeted with a safe and well-tolerated biologic.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Oncology and Hematology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Molecular Cancer Research
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Molecular Cancer Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:12 September 2019
Deposited On:24 Sep 2019 14:07
Last Modified:10 Oct 2019 12:29
Publisher:Wiley Open Access
ISSN:1757-4676
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.15252/emmm.201910576
PubMed ID:31515941

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