The JAK/STAT pathway is an attractive target for breast cancer therapy due to its frequent activation, and clinical trials evaluating JAK inhibitors (JAKi) in advanced breast cancer are ongoing. Using patient biopsies and preclinical models of breast cancer, we demonstrate that the JAK/STAT pathway is active in metastasis. Unexpectedly, blocking the pathway with JAKi enhances the metastatic burden in experimental and orthotopic models of breast cancer metastasis. We demonstrate that this prometastatic effect is due to the immunosuppressive activity of JAKi with ensuing impairment of NK-cell-mediated anti-tumour immunity. Furthermore, we show that immunostimulation with IL-15 overcomes the enhancing effect of JAKi on metastasis formation. Our findings highlight the importance of evaluating the effect of targeted therapy on the tumour environment. The impact of JAKi on NK cells and the potential value of immunostimulators to overcome the weakened tumour immunosurveillance, are worthwhile considering in the clinical setting of breast cancer.
Bottos, A., Gotthardt, D., Gill, J. W., Gattelli, A., Frei, A., Tzankov, A., … Hynes, N. E. (2016). Decreased NK-cell tumour immunosurveillance consequent to JAK inhibition enhances metastasis in breast cancer models. Nature Communications, 7. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms12258