Mutations in five canonical Ras pathway genes (NF1, NRAS, KRAS, PTPN11 and CBL) are detected in nearly 90% of patients with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML), a frequently fatal malignant neoplasm of early childhood. In this report, we describe seven patients diagnosed with SH2B3-mutated JMML, including five patients who were found to have initiating, loss of function mutations in the gene. SH2B3 encodes the adaptor protein LNK, a negative regulator of normal hematopoiesis upstream of the Ras pathway. These mutations were identified to be germline, somatic or a combination of both. Loss of function of LNK, which has been observed in other myeloid malignancies, results in abnormal proliferation of hematopoietic cells due to cytokine hypersensitivity and activation of the JAK/STAT signaling pathway. In vitro studies of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived JMML-like hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) also demonstrated sensitivity of SH2B3- mutated HPCs to JAK inhibition. Lastly, we describe two patients with JMML and SH2B3 mutations who were treated with the JAK1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib. This report expands the spectrum of initiating mutations in JMML and raises the possibility of targeting the JAK/STAT pathway in patients with SH2B3 mutations.
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