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Blood. 2001 Feb 15;97(4):1056-62.

STAT3-mediated constitutive expression of SOCS-3 in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

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Institute of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.


A characteristic feature of neoplastic transformation is the loss of external control by cytokines and extracellular matrix of cellular differentiation, migration, and mitogenesis. Because suppressors of cytokine signaling (SOCS) proteins are negative regulators of cytokine-induced signaling, it has been hypothesized that an aberrant SOCS expression plays a role in neoplastic transformation. This study reports on a constitutive SOCS-3 expression in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) cell lines. SOCS-3 protein is constitutively expressed in tumor cell lines (but not in nonmalignant T cells) obtained from affected skin from a patient with mycosis fungoides (MF) and from peripheral blood from a patient with Sezary syndrome (SS). In contrast, constitutive SOCS-3 expression is not found in the leukemic Jurkat T-cell line, the MOLT-4 acute lymphoblastic leukemia cell line, and the monocytic leukemic cell line U937. Expression of SOCS-3 coincides with a constitutive activation of STAT3 in CTCL tumor cells, and stable transfection of CTCL tumor cells with a dominant negative STAT3 strongly inhibits SOCS-3 expression, whereas transfection with wild-type STAT3 does not. Moreover, the reduced SOCS-3 expression in cells transfected with the dominant negative STAT3 is associated with an increased sensitivity to interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha). In conclusion, evidence is provided for a constitutive SOCS-3 expression in cancer cells obtained from patients with CTCL. Moreover, the findings indicate that the aberrant expression of SOCS-3 is mediated by a constitutive activation of STAT3 in CTCL cells and affects the IFN-alpha sensitivity of these cells. (Blood. 2001;97:1056-1062).

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