Combination efficacy of ruxolitinib with standard-of-care drugs in CRLF2-rearranged Ph-like acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Julia W. Bӧhm, Keith C.S. Sia, Connor Jones, Kathryn Evans, Anna Mariana, Ignatius Pang, Tim Failes, Ling Zhong, Chelsea Mayoh, Robert Landman, Robert Collins, Stephen W. Erickson, Greg Arndt, Mark J. Raftery, Marc R. Wilkins, Murray D. Norris, Michelle Haber, Glenn M. Marshall, Richard B. Lock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Philadelphia chromosome-like acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph-like ALL) is a high-risk ALL subtype with high rates of relapse and poor patient outcome. Activating mutations affecting components of the JAK-STAT signaling pathway occur in the majority of Ph-like ALL cases. The use of JAK inhibitors represents a potential treatment option for Ph-like ALL, although we and others have shown that CRLF2-rearranged Ph-like ALL responds poorly to single-agent JAK inhibitors in the preclinical setting. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify effective combination treatments against CRLF2-rearranged Ph-like ALL, and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of synergy. We carried out a series of high-throughput combination drug screenings and found that ruxolitinib exerted synergy with standard-of-care drugs used in the treatment of ALL. In addition, we investigated the molecular effects of ruxolitinib on Ph-like ALL by combining mass spectrometry phosphoproteomics with gene expression analysis. Based on these findings, we conducted preclinical in vivo drug testing and demonstrated that ruxolitinib enhanced the in vivo efficacy of an induction-type regimen consisting of vincristine, dexamethasone, and l-asparaginase in 2/3 CRLF2-rearranged Ph-like ALL xenografts. Overall, our findings support evaluating the addition of ruxolitinib to conventional induction regimens for the treatment of CRLF2-rearranged Ph-like ALL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3101-3112
Number of pages12
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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