Recently we have shown that the transcription factor FOXO1, highly expressed in B cells, is downregulated in classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL). As primary mediastinal B cell lymphoma (PMBL) has similarities with the cHL transcription program we investigated FOXO1 expression in this entity. By using immunohistochemistry we found that FOXO1 was absent or expressed at low levels in 19 of 20 primary PMBL cases. PMBL cell lines reproduce the low FOXO1 expression observed in primary cases. By analyzing gene expression profiling data we found that FOXO1 expression inversely correlated with JAK2 in PMBL cases. Targeting JAK2 activity by the small molecular weight inhibitor TG101348 resulted in upregulation of FOXO1 mRNA and protein expression in MedB-1 and U2940 cell lines, and the MYC inhibitor 10058-F4 increased FOXO1 mRNA in MedB-1 cells. Moreover, in MedB-1 cells FOXO1 expression was strongly upregulated by the inhibitor of DNA methylation 5-aza-2-deoxycytidine and by the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A. Since FOXO1 promoter was unmethylated, this effect is most likely indirect. FOXO1 activation in the FOXO1-negative Med-B1 cell line led to growth arrest and apoptosis, which was accompanied by repression of MYC and BCL2L1/BCLxL. Thus, FOXO1 repression might contribute to the oncogenic program and phenotype of PMBL.
Primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBL) is characterized by aberrant activation of JAK/STAT-signaling resulting in constitutive presence of phosphorylated STAT6 (pSTAT6). In primary PMBL samples pSTAT6 is only expressed in a sub-population of lymphoma cells in a pattern that is reminiscent of that of the BCL6 oncogene. Double-fluorescence staining was carried out to determine the association between these two proteins in ten primary PMBL cases and three available PMBL cell line models. Surprisingly, only a minute fraction of double-positive nuclei was observed, while each sample contained considerable fractions of single-positive pSTAT6 and BCL6 nuclei. The intratumoral coexistence of BCL6+/pSTAT6- and BCL6-/pSTAT6+ subpopulations suggests a negative interaction between these factors. In silico screening of the STAT6 /BCL6 promoters for DNA consensus binding sites identified five STAT-binding-sites in the BCL6 promoter. We confirmed STAT6 binding to the BCL6 promoter in vitro and in vivo by band shift / super shift assays and chromatin immunoprecipitations. Using BCL6 luciferase reporter assays, depletion of STAT6 by siRNA, and ectopic overexpression of a constitutive active STAT6 mutant, we proved that pSTAT6 is sufficient to transcriptionally repress BCL6. Recently developed small molecule inhibitors 79-6 and TG101348 that increases BCL6 target gene expression and decreases pSTAT6 levels, respectively, demonstrate that a combined targeting results in additive efficacy regarding their negative effect on cell viability. The delineated pSTAT6-mediated molecular repression mechanism links JAK/STAT to BCL6-signaling in PMBL and may carry therapeutic potential.
Suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 (SOCS1) is frequently mutated in primary mediastinal and diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL). Currently, the prognostic relevance of these mutations in DLBCL is unknown. To evaluate the value of the SOCS1 mutation status as a prognostic biomarker in DLBCL patients, we performed full-length SOCS1 sequencing in tumors of 154 comprehensively characterized DLBCL patients. We identified 90 SOCS1 mutations in 16% of lymphomas. With respect to molecular consequences of mutations, we defined two distinct subtypes: those with truncating (major) and those with non-truncating mutations (minor), respectively. The SOCS1 mutated subgroup or the minor/major subtypes cannot be predicted on clinical grounds; however, assignment of four established gene-expression profile-based classifiers revealed significant associations of SOCS1 major cases with germinal center and specific pathway activation pattern signatures. Above all, SOCS1 major cases have an excellent overall survival, even better than the GCB-like subgroup. SOCS1 minor cases had a dismal survival, even worse than the ABC gene signature group. The SOCS1 mutation subsets retained prognostic significance in uni- and multivariate analyses. Together our data indicate that assessment of the SOCS1 mutation status is a single gene prognostic biomarker in DLBCL.
Primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBL) is a separate entity of aggressive B-cell lymphoma, characterized by a constitutive activation of janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK-STAT) signaling pathway, also observed in Hodgkin lymphoma. Although many cancers exhibit constitutive JAK-STAT pathway activation, mutations of STAT genes have not been reported in neoplasms. Here, we show that MedB-1 PMBL-derived and L1236 Hodgkin-derived cell lines and 20 of 55 (36%) PMBL cases harbor heterozygous missense mutations in STAT6 DNA binding domain, whereas no mutation was found in 25 diffuse large B-cell lymphoma samples. In 3 cases, somatic origin was indicated by the absence of the mutations in the nontumoral tissue. The pattern of STAT6 mutations was different from the classical features of somatic hypermutations. The mutant STAT6 proteins showed a decreased DNA binding ability in transfected HEK cells, but no decrease in expression of STAT6 canonical target genes was observed in PMBL cases with a mutated STAT6 gene. Although the oncogenic properties of STAT6 mutant proteins remain to be determined, their recurrent selection in PMBL strongly argues for their involvement in the pathogenesis of this aggressive B-cell lymphoma.
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