IL2 inducible T-cell kinase, a novel therapeutic target in Melanoma

Academic Article


  • Purpose: IL2 inducible T-cell kinase (ITK) promoter CpG sites are hypomethylated in melanomas compared with nevi. The expression of ITK in melanomas, however, has not been established and requires elucidation. Experimental Design: An ITK-specific monoclonal antibody was used to probe sections from deidentified, formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor blocks or cell line arrays and ITK was visualized by IHC. Levels of ITK protein differed among melanoma cell lines and representative lines were transduced with four different lentiviral constructs that each contained an shRNA designed to knockdown ITK mRNA levels. The effects of the selective ITK inhibitor BI 10N on cell lines and mouse models were also determined. Results: ITK protein expression increased with nevus to metastatic melanoma progression. In melanoma cell lines, genetic or pharmacologic inhibition of ITK decreased proliferation and migration and increased the percentage of cells in the G0-G1 phase. Treatment of melanoma-bearing mice with BI 10N reduced growth of ITK-expressing xenografts or established autochthonous (Tyr-Cre/Ptennull/BrafV600E) melanomas. Conclusions: We conclude that ITK, formerly considered an immune cell-specific protein, is aberrantly expressed in melanoma and promotes tumor development and progression. Our finding that ITK is aberrantly expressed in most metastatic melanomas suggests that inhibitors of ITK may be efficacious for melanoma treatment. The efficacy of a small-molecule ITK inhibitor in the Tyr-Cre/Ptennull/BrafV600E mouse melanoma model supports this possibility.
  • Authors

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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Carson CC; Moschos SJ; Edmiston SN; Darr DB; Nikolaishvili-Feinberg N; Groben PA; Zhou X; Kuan PF; Pandey S; Chan KT
  • Start Page

  • 2167
  • End Page

  • 2176
  • Volume

  • 21
  • Issue

  • 9