Loss of function mutations in JAK1/2 can lead to acquired resistance to anti-programmed death protein 1 (PD-1) therapy. We reasoned they may also be involved in primary resistance to anti-PD-1 therapy. JAK1/2 inactivating mutations were noted in tumor biopsies of 1 of 23 patients with melanoma and in 1 of 16 patients with mismatch repair deficient colon cancer treated with PD-1 blockade. Both cases had a high mutational load but did not respond to anti-PD-1 therapy. Two out of 48 human melanoma cell lines had JAK1/2 mutations, which led to lack of PD-L1 expression upon interferon gamma exposure mediated by inability to signal through the interferon gamma receptor pathway. JAK1/2 loss-of-function alterations in TCGA confer adverse outcomes in patients. We propose that JAK1/2 loss-of-function mutations are a genetic mechanism of lack of reactive PD-L1 expression and response to interferon gamma, leading to primary resistance to PD-1 blockade therapy.
- Received November 1, 2016.
- Revision received November 28, 2016.
- Accepted November 28, 2016.
- Copyright ©2016, American Association for Cancer Research.