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J Clin Invest. 2015 Sep;125(9):3505-18. doi: 10.1172/JCI78488. Epub 2015 Aug 10.

Reversal of microRNA-150 silencing disadvantages crizotinib-resistant NPM-ALK(+) cell growth.


The regulatory microRNA miR-150 is involved in the development of hemopathies and is downregulated in T-lymphomas, such as anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL) tumors. ALCL is defined by the presence or absence of translocations that activate the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), with nucleophosmin-ALK (NPM-ALK) fusions being the most common. Here, we compared samples of primary NPM-ALK(+) and NPM-ALK(-) ALCL to investigate the role of miR-150 downstream of NPM-ALK. Methylation of the MIR150 gene was substantially elevated in NPM-ALK(+) biopsies and correlated with reduced miR-150 expression. In NPM-ALK(+) cell lines, DNA hypermethylation-mediated miR-150 repression required ALK-dependent pathways, as ALK inhibition restored miR-150 expression. Moreover, epigenetic silencing of miR-150 was due to the activation of STAT3, a major downstream substrate of NPM-ALK, in cooperation with DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1). Accordingly, miR-150 repression was turned off following treatment with the DNMT inhibitor, decitabine. In murine NPM-ALK(+) xenograft models, miR-150 upregulation induced antineoplastic activity. Treatment of crizotinib-resistant NPM-ALK(+) KARPAS-299-CR06 cells with decitabine or ectopic miR-150 expression reduced viability and growth. Altogether, our results suggest that hypomethylating drugs, alone or in combination with other agents, may benefit ALK(+) patients harboring tumors resistant to crizotinib and other anti-ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Moreover, these results support further work on miR-150 in these and other ALK(+) malignancies.

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