Intrapleural injections of recombinant human IFN-γ have shown some efficacy in reducing tumor growth in early stages of diffuse malignant mesothelioma (DMM). Here, we have addressed the potential therapeutic effect of IFN-γ in DMM by investigating the activation of the JAK/STAT signaling pathway in seven human mesothelioma cell lines (HMCLs) that were differentially responsive to the antiproliferative activity of IFN-γ. We showed that janus kinase 2 (JAK2) and signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) were phosphorylated on tyrosine residues within 15 min in all the HMCLs in which IFN-γ (500 units/ml) inhibited proliferation. In addition, STAT1 binding activity to the gamma-activated sites DNA sequence was detected within 15 min in electrophoretic mobility-shift assay analysis, and IFN regulatory factor-1 RNA expression was observed within 6 h in the more responsive cells (72.7–95.2% inhibition of DNA synthesis after 72 h of treatment). Conversely, in several HMCLs, absent or limited growth suppressive effect (less than 22% inhibition of DNA synthesis) was associated with alterations in expression or activation of JAK2 or STAT1 or, downstream, with low induction of IFN regulatory factor-1 RNA expression and/or STAT1 protein expression following IFN-γ treatment. These data suggest that at least part of the IFN-γ effect on proliferation of HMCLs is mediated directly through activation of the JAK/STAT1 signaling pathway, and it could account for the antitumoral activity reported in DMM patients treated with IFN-γ.


This work was supported by Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale funds, by a Legs Poix subvention, and by the Association pour la Recherche sur le Cancer (to A. B.).

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