Mass cytometry analysis reveals hyperactive NF Kappa B signaling in myelofibrosis and secondary acute myeloid leukemia
Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) feature a malignant clone containing the JAK2 V617F mutation, or another mutation causing dysregulated JAK2 kinase activity. The multiple disease phenotypes of MPNs, and their tendency to transform phenotypically, suggest pathophysiologic heterogeneities beyond a common phenomenon of JAK2 hyperactivation. JAK2 has the potential to activate multiple other signaling molecules, either directly through downstream effectors, or indirectly through induction of target gene expression. We have interrogated myeloproliferative signaling in myelofibrosis (MF) and secondary acute myeloid leukemia (sAML) patient samples using mass cytometry, which allows the quantitative measurement of multiple signaling molecules simultaneously at the single-cell level, in cell populations representing a nearly complete spectrum of hematopoiesis. MF and sAML malignant cells demonstrated a high prevalence of hyperactivation of the JAK-STAT, MAP kinase, PI3 kinase and NFκB signaling pathways. Constitutive NFκB signaling was evident across MF and sAML patients. A supporting gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) of MF showed many NFκB target genes to be expressed above normal levels in MF patient CD34+ cells. NFκB inhibition suppressed colony formation from MF CD34+ cells. This study indicates that NFκB signaling contributes to human myeloproliferative disease and is abnormally activated in MF and sAML.