The Important Role of STAT3 in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia Biology


Klin Onkol 2020; 33(1): 32-38. DOI: 10.14735/amko202032.

Background: Signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) proteins are cytoplasmic transcription factors that transmit the signal of cytokines, hormones and growth factors. STAT proteins control fundamental cellular processes including survival, proliferation and differentiation. Inappropriate activation of STATs might contribute to cellular transformation and leukaemogenesis. About 70% of all solid and haematological tumours exhibit aberrant STAT3 expression and/or activation, highlighting its essential role in tumourigenesis. Aberrant STAT3 activation has been found in several solid tumours and haematologic malignancies. Importantly, constitutive activation of STAT proteins has been found in several leukaemias including acute myeloid leukaemia, acute promyelocytic leukaemia, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, chronic myeloid leukaemia and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). Constitutively activated STAT3 plays an important role in CLL biology. CLL cells harbour constitutive phosphorylation on S727 and acetylation on K685 and transient phosphorylation on Y705 residues. Moreover, STAT3 messenger RNA expression is significantly higher in CLL cells compared to healthy B-lymphocytes. Interestingly, STAT3 inhibition was disclosed as an important by-product of ibrutinib treatment in CLL patients. Purpose: The purpose of this review is to describe the consequences of STAT3 dysregulation in CLL cells. Here, we discuss aberrantly modified processes by STAT3 activation in CLL cells such as proliferation, apoptosis, B cell receptor signalling, cytokine secretion, immune checkpoint regulation, microRNA regulation, free fatty acid metabolism and electron transport chain in the mitochondria.

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