Ratio of stemness to interferon signalling as a biomarker and therapeutic target of myeloproliferative neoplasm progression to acute myeloid leukaemia
de Castro FA., Mehdipour P., Chakravarthy A., Ettayebi I., Loo Yau H., Medina TS., Marhon SA., de Almeida FC., Bianco TM., Arruda AGF., Devlin R., de Figueiredo‐Pontes LL., Chahud F., da Costa Cacemiro M., Minden MD., Gupta V., De Carvalho DD.
SummaryProgression to aggressive secondary acute myeloid leukaemia (sAML) poses a significant challenge in the management of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). Since the physiopathology of MPN is closely linked to the activation of interferon (IFN) signalling and that AML initiation and aggressiveness is driven by leukaemia stem cells (LSCs), we investigated these pathways in MPN to sAML progression. We found that high IFN signalling correlated with low LSC signalling in MPN and AML samples, while MPN progression and AML transformation were characterized by decreased IFN signalling and increased LSC signature. A high LSC to IFN expression ratio in MPN patients was associated with adverse clinical prognosis and higher colony forming potential. Moreover, treatment with hypomethylating agents (HMAs) activates the IFN signalling pathway in MPN cells by inducing a viral mimicry response. This response is characterized by double‐stranded RNA (dsRNA) formation and MDA5/RIG‐I activation. The HMA‐induced IFN response leads to a reduction in LSC signature, resulting in decreased stemness. These findings reveal the frequent evasion of viral mimicry during MPN‐to‐sAML progression, establish the LSC‐to‐IFN expression ratio as a progression biomarker, and suggests that HMAs treatment can lead to haematological response in murine models by re‐activating dsRNA‐associated IFN signalling.