Research Papers:

Inhibition of STAT3 with orally active JAK inhibitor, AZD1480, decreases tumor growth in Neuroblastoma and Pediatric Sarcomas In vitro and In vivo

Shuang Yan _, Zhijie Li and Carol J Thiele

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Oncotarget. 2012; 4:433-445. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.930

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Shuang Yan1, Zhijie Li1 and Carol J Thiele1

1 Cell & Molecular Biology Section, Pediatric Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute


Carol J Thiele, email:

Keywords: neuroblastoma, Ewing sarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, JAK inhibitor, STAT3

Received: March 13, 2013 Accepted: March 19, 2013 Published: March 19, 2013


The IL-6/JAK/STAT pathway is a key signal transduction pathway implicated in the pathogenesis of many human cancers, suggesting that kinase inhibitors targeting JAK/STAT3 may have a broad spectrum of antitumor activity. AZD1480, a pharmacological JAK1/2 inhibitor, exhibits anti-tumor potency in multiple adult malignancies. To evaluate the efficacy of inhibition of JAK/STAT3 signal transduction pathway we assessed the activity of AZD1480 in pediatric malignancies using preclinical models of three highly malignant pediatric solid tumors: neuroblastoma (NB), rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) and the Ewing Sarcoma Family Tumors (ESFT). In this study, we employed panels of biomedical and biological experiments to evaluate the in vitro and in vivo activity of AZD1480 in NB, RMS and ESFT. Our data indicate that AZD1480 blocks endogenous as well as IL-6 induced STAT3 activation. AZD1480 decreases cell viability in 7/7NB, 7/7RMS and 2/2 ESFT cell lines (median EC50 is 1.5 μM, ranging from 0.36-5.37μM). AZD1480 induces cell growth inhibition and caspase-dependent apoptosis in vitro and decreases expression of STAT3 target genes, including cell cycle regulators CyclinD1, 3 and CDC25A, anti-apoptotic genes Bcl-2 and survivin, the metastasis-related factor TIMP-1 and c-Myc. In vivo studies showed AZD1480 significantly decreased tumor growth and prolonged overall survival in tumor-bearing mice. Tumors from AZD1480-treated mice showed inhibition of activated STAT3 as well as decreased expression of STAT3 downstream targets. Our study provides strong evidence of the anti-tumor growth potency of JAK inhibitor AZD1480 in pediatric solid tumors, providing proof-of principle that inhibition of the JAK/STAT3 signal transduction could be a promising therapeutic target for high-risk pediatric solid tumors.

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