Untwining Anti-Tumor and Immunosuppressive Effects of JAK Inhibitors-A Strategy for Hematological Malignancies?

Klara Klein, Dagmar Stoiber, Veronika Sexl, Agnieszka Witalisz-Siepracka

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

14 Citations (Scopus)


The Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK-STAT) pathway propagates signals from a variety of cytokines, contributing to cellular responses in health and disease. Gain of function mutations in JAKs or STATs are associated with malignancies, with JAK2V617F being the main driver mutation in myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). Therefore, inhibition of this pathway is an attractive therapeutic strategy for different types of cancer. Numerous JAK inhibitors (JAKinibs) have entered clinical trials, including the JAK1/2 inhibitor Ruxolitinib approved for the treatment of MPN. Importantly, loss of function mutations in JAK-STAT members are a cause of immune suppression or deficiencies. MPN patients undergoing Ruxolitinib treatment are more susceptible to infections and secondary malignancies. This highlights the suppressive effects of JAKinibs on immune responses, which renders them successful in the treatment of autoimmune diseases but potentially detrimental for cancer patients. Here, we review the current knowledge on the effects of JAKinibs on immune cells in the context of hematological malignancies. Furthermore, we discuss the potential use of JAKinibs for the treatment of diseases in which lymphocytes are the source of malignancies. In summary, this review underlines the necessity of a robust immune profiling to provide the best benefit for JAKinib-treated patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2611
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2021


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