A novel function of STAT3β in suppressing interferon response improves outcome in acute myeloid leukemia

Sophie Edtmayer, Agnieszka Witalisz-Siepracka, Bernhard Zdársky, Kerstin Heindl, Stefanie Weiss, Thomas Eder, Sayantanee Dutta, Uwe Graichen, Sascha Klee, Omar Sharif, Rotraud Wieser, Balázs Győrffy, Valeria Poli, Emilio Casanova, Heinz Sill, Florian Grebien, Dagmar Stoiber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article


Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is frequently overexpressed in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). STAT3 exists in two distinct alternatively spliced isoforms, the full-length isoform STAT3α and the C-terminally truncated isoform STAT3β. While STAT3α is predominantly described as an oncogenic driver, STAT3β has been suggested to act as a tumor suppressor. To elucidate the role of STAT3β in AML, we established a mouse model of STAT3β-deficient, MLL-AF9-driven AML. STAT3β deficiency significantly shortened survival of leukemic mice confirming its role as a tumor suppressor. Furthermore, RNA sequencing revealed enhanced STAT1 expression and interferon (IFN) signaling upon loss of STAT3β. Accordingly, STAT3β-deficient leukemia cells displayed enhanced sensitivity to blockade of IFN signaling through both an IFNAR1 blocking antibody and the JAK1/2 inhibitor Ruxolitinib. Analysis of human AML patient samples confirmed that elevated expression of IFN-inducible genes correlated with poor overall survival and low STAT3β expression. Together, our data corroborate the tumor suppressive role of STAT3β in a mouse model in vivo. Moreover, they provide evidence that its tumor suppressive function is linked to repression of the STAT1-mediated IFN response. These findings suggest that the STAT3β/α mRNA ratio is a significant prognostic marker in AML and holds crucial information for targeted treatment approaches. Patients displaying a low STAT3β/α mRNA ratio and unfavorable prognosis could benefit from therapeutic interventions directed at STAT1/IFN signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number369
Pages (from-to)369
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2024


  • Animals
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute/genetics
  • Humans
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor/metabolism
  • Mice
  • Signal Transduction
  • Interferons/metabolism
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor/metabolism
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Receptor, Interferon alpha-beta/metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Nitriles
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrimidines


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