The Raf Kinase Inhibitor Sorafenib Inhibits JAK-STAT Signal Transduction in Human Immune Cells.

Martin Del Campo SE, Levine KM, Mundy-Bosse BL, Grignol VP, Fairchild ET, Campbell AR, Trikha P, Mace TA, Paul BK, Jaime-Ramirez AC, Markowitz J, Kondadasula SV, Guenterberg KD, McClory S, Karpa VI, Pan X, Olencki TE, Monk JP, Mortazavi A, Tridandapani S, Lesinski GB, Byrd JC, Caligiuri MA, Shah MH, Carson WE 3rd
J Immunol 195 1995-2005 09/01/2015


Sorafenib is an oral multikinase inhibitor that was originally developed as a Raf kinase inhibitor. We hypothesized that sorafenib would also have inhibitory effects on cytokine signaling pathways in immune cells. PBMCs from normal donors were treated with varying concentrations of sorafenib and stimulated with IFN-α or IL-2. Phosphorylation of STAT1 and STAT5 was measured by flow cytometry and confirmed by immunoblot analysis. Changes in IFN-α- and IL-2-stimulated gene expression were measured by quantitative PCR, and changes in cytokine production were evaluated by ELISA. Cryopreserved PBMCs were obtained from cancer patients before and after receiving 400 mg sorafenib twice daily. Patient PBMCs were thawed, stimulated with IL-2 or IFN-α, and evaluated for phosphorylation of STAT1 and STAT5. Pretreatment of PBMCs with 10 μM sorafenib decreased STAT1 and STAT5 phosphorylation after treatment with IFN-α or IL-2. This inhibitory effect was observed in PBMCs from healthy donors over a range of concentrations of sorafenib (5-20 μM), IL-2 (2-24 nM), and IFN-α (10(1)-10(6) U/ml). This effect was observed in immune cell subsets, including T cells, B cells, NK cells, regulatory T cells, and myeloid-derived suppressor cells. Pretreatment with sorafenib also inhibited PBMC expression of IFN-α- and IL-2-regulated genes and inhibited NK cell production of IFN-γ, RANTES, MIP1-α, and MIG in response to IFN-α stimulation. PBMCs from patients receiving sorafenib therapy showed decreased responsiveness to IL-2 and IFN-α treatment. Sorafenib is a Raf kinase inhibitor that could have off-target effects on cytokine-induced signal transduction in immune effector cells.

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