Differential inhibition of T-cell receptor and STAT5 signaling pathways determines the immunomodulatory effects of dasatinib in chronic phase chronic myeloid leukemia

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Dasatinib is a multi-kinase inhibitor with activity against the SRC kinase LCK, which plays a critical role in T-cell receptor signaling. Dasatinib, initially developed as an immunosuppressive agent, is by contrast, also noted to result in enhanced tumor immunity in a subset of patients. We studied the impact of dasatinib in chronic myeloid leukemia patients and compared it with patients taking other tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) and healthy controls. We found that patients on dasatinib showed inhibition of both T-cell receptor (TCR) and STAT5 signaling pathways, and reduced expression of T-effector pro-inflammatory cytokines. In addition, dasatinib induced selective depletion of regulatory T cells (Tregs) and effector Tregs, particularly in patients with clonal expansion of effector CD8+ T cells, who demonstrated greater and preferential inhibition of Treg TCR intracellular signaling. In addition, we show that dasatinib selectively reduces Treg STAT5 phosphorylation via reduction of IL-2, in relation with the marked reduction of plasma IL-2 levels in patients taking dasatinib. Finally, patients on other TKI had significantly increased TCR signaling in TIM3+ cells compared to patients taking dasatinib, suggesting that chronic SRC kinase inhibition by dasatinib may play a role in preventing TIM-3-mediated T-cell exhaustion and preserve anti-tumor immunity. These data provide further insight into the selective immunomodulatory effects of dasatinib and its potential use for pharmacologic control of immunotherapies..

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1555-1566
Number of pages12
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

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