Purpose:

STAT3 is a key transcription factor that mediates cancer progression through phosphorylation or gain-of-function mutations. STAT3 activation in myeloid neoplasms (MN) is primarily mediated through phosphorylation. STAT3 mutation has only rarely been reported in MNs.

Experimental Design:

We assessed the clinicopathologic and molecular genetic features of 32 STAT3-mutated MNs.

Results:

The frequency of STAT3 mutation in MNs was <0.5%. Twenty (62.5%) cases were classified as acute myeloid leukemia, 7 (21.9%) as myelodysplastic syndrome, and 5 (15.6%) as chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, but none as myeloproliferative neoplasms. STAT3 mutations occurred at initial diagnosis in 22 (88%) cases or at relapse or upon leukemic transformation. Clonal hierarchy analysis revealed that STAT3 mutations represented the dominant clone in 30% of acute myeloid leukemia cases but were subclonal in myelodysplastic syndrome and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. Most were missense mutations located at the SH2 domain, Y640F being the most common. STAT3 mutation was accompanied by coexisting mutations in all cases, most frequently SRSF2, TET2, ASXL1, and SETBP1. STAT3 mutations were usually associated with morphologic dysplasia, increased blasts, and monosomy 7/del7q. With a median follow-up of 24.5 months, 21 patients died, 6 had persistent disease, and 5 achieved complete remission after stem cell transplantation.

Conclusions:

STAT3 mutation is present in various MNs but not in myeloproliferative neoplasms. It is often an early event or occurs upon leukemic transformation, which suggests an important role in the pathogenesis and progression of MNs by activating the JAK-STAT pathway. It may help determine a subset of patients with MNs who may benefit from targeted therapy.

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