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Cancer Lett. 2017 Sep 10;403:206-215. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2017.06.016. Epub 2017 Jun 20.

Anti-myeloma effects of ruxolitinib combined with bortezomib and lenalidomide: A rationale for JAK/STAT pathway inhibition in myeloma patients.

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Clinical and Experimental Oncology Department, Federal University of São Paulo, UNIFESP, Brazil.
Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at UAMS, Little Rock, AR, USA.
Clinical and Experimental Oncology Department, Federal University of São Paulo, UNIFESP, Brazil. Electronic address:


JAK proteins have been linked with survival and proliferation of multiple myeloma (MM) cells; therefore, JAK inhibition could be a therapeutic strategy for MM. We evaluated JAK1 and JAK2 expression in MM patients and the effects of JAK/STAT pathway inhibition on apoptosis, cell cycle, gene and protein expression in RPMI-8226 and U266 MM cell lines. 57% of patients presented overexpression of JAK2 and 27%, of JAK1. After treatment with ruxolitinib and bortezomib, RPMI-8226 and U266 presented 50% of cells in late apoptosis, reduction of anti-apoptotic genes expression and higher number of cells in SubG0 phase. Co-culture with stromal cells protected RPMI-8226 cells from apoptosis, which was reversed by lenalidomide addition. Combination of ruxolitinib, bortezomib and lenalidomide induced 72% of cell death, equivalent to bortezomib, lenalidomide and dexamethasone, combination used in clinical practice. Many JAK/STAT pathway genes, after treatment, had their expression reduced, mainly in RPMI-8226, with insignificant changes in U266. In this scenario, JAK/STAT pathway could pose as a new therapeutic target to be exploited, since it is constitutively active and contributes to survival of MM tumor cells.


JAK/STAT; JAK1; JAK2; Multiple myeloma; Ruxolitinib; Small molecule inhibitor

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