Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common type of cancer worldwide. However, current therapeutic approaches for this epidemic disease are limited and its 5-year survival rate has not been improved in the past decades. Patient-derived xenograft (PDX) tumor models have become an excellent in vivo system for understanding of disease biology and drug discovery. In order to identify new therapeutic targets for HCC, whole-exome sequencing (WES) was performed on more than 60 HCC PDX models. Among them, four models exhibited point mutations in JAK1 (Janus Kinase) gene, which were confirmed by Sanger sequencing. To explore the transforming capability, these mutations were then introduced into 293T and Ba/F3 cells by transient transfection and retroviral infection, respectively. The results demonstrated that JAK1S703I mutation was able to activate JAK-STAT (Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription) signaling pathway and drive cell proliferation in the absence of cytokine stimulation in vitro. Furthermore, a modest sensitivity to the treatment of a JAK1/2 inhibitor, Ruxolitinib, was observed in JAK1S703I mutant PDX model, but not in other mutant or wild type models. Pharmacodynamic analysis showed that phosphorylation of STAT3 in the Ruxolitinib-treated tumor tissues was significantly inhibited. Collectively, our results suggested that JAK1S703I is an activating mutation for JAK-STAT signaling pathway in vitro and in vivo. JAK-STAT pathway might represent a new therapeutic opportunity for HCC. Monotherapy using a more potent inhibitor and combinatory therapy may be further explored in JAK1S703I mutant PDX model.

Citation Format: Shuqun Yang, Chonglin Luo, Qingyang Gu, Qiang Xu, Hongye Sun, Ziliang Qian, Yexiong Tan, Hao Wu, Yuxin Qin, Yuhong Shen, Xiaowei Xu, Shu-Hui Chen, Chi-Chung Chan, Hongyang Wang, Mao Mao, Douglas D. Fang. Activating JAK1-S703I mutation may predict the sensitivity of JAK-STAT inhibition in hepatocellular carcinoma patient-derived xenograft tumor models. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2015 Apr 18-22; Philadelphia, PA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2015;75(15 Suppl):Abstract nr 688. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2015-688