This project is aimed at identifying effective targets to address a major problem facing cancer treatment: bone marrow environment-mediated drug resistance (EMDR). One potential key target that may prevent/reduce EMDR is STATS, in part because it is persistenfiy activated in both tumor cells and in the tumor microenvironment, and because it is a transcription factor that regulates expression of numerous tumorpromoting and drug resistance factors. Many of these factors are also STATS activators, thereby forming a feed-foHA/ard loop linking tumor cells with the tumor microenvironment. lL-6, produced by bone marrow stromal cells has been shown to activate STATS in neuroblastoma cells (collaborative work with Project 1), leading to tumor growth and EMDR, Our preliminary studies show that ablafing STATS in bone marrow-derived cells prevents formation of lung niches that harbor metastatic tumor cells. However, due to a lack of intrinsic enzymatic activity, there are no clinical reagents to specifically target some of the key oncogenic transcription factors such as STATS. Our recent studies demonstrate that STATS upregulates expression of S1PR1, a key G protein-coupled receptor for the phospholipid metabolite, SIP. SI PRI, in turn, activates STATS through tyrosine kinase JAK2, which is also critical for IL-6 receptor signaling. Elevafing SI PRI expression in either tumor cells or bone marrow-derived myeloid cells leads to production of numerous factors that promote STATS-dependent niche formation to provide sanctuary for tumor cells. Furthermore, recent studies implicate SI PRI in mediating drug resistance of both solid and blood-borne cancers, including ALL. Importantly, both SI PRI and JAK2 inhibitors have recently entered clinical trials. We therefore propose to test the hypothesis that targeting S1PR1/JAK2/STAT3 signaling in bone marrow stromal cells will effectively inhibit EMDR for both neuroblastoma and ALL. We will test our hypothesis in co-cultures of neuroblastoma and ALL tumor cells with mouse and patient bone marrow stromal cells, and in syngeneic transgenic mouse and xenograft neuroblastoma/ALL models. We will also adapt a novel in vivo ectopic bone-forming system to reproduce the tumor/bone marrow niche (both mouse and human). With the availability of transgenic mice and SiRNA technologies allowing S1PR1, JAK2, or STAT3 knockout/knockdown in specific types of bone marrow cells as well as the availability of small molecule drugs currently under clinical tesfing, our proposed studies may lead to paradigm-shifting novel therapies to overcome EMDR in neuroblastoma, ALL, and other types of cancer.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Specialized Center--Cooperative Agreements (U54)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-SRLB-3)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Children's Hospital of Los Angeles
Los Angeles
United States
Zip Code
Borriello, Lucia; Seeger, Robert C; Asgharzadeh, Shahab et al. (2016) More than the genes, the tumor microenvironment in neuroblastoma. Cancer Lett 380:304-14
Yue, Chanyu; Shen, Shudan; Deng, Jiehui et al. (2015) STAT3 in CD8+ T Cells Inhibits Their Tumor Accumulation by Downregulating CXCR3/CXCL10 Axis. Cancer Immunol Res 3:864-70
Bergfeld, Scott A; Blavier, Laurence; DeClerck, Yves A (2014) Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells promote survival and drug resistance in tumor cells. Mol Cancer Ther 13:962-75
Borriello, Lucia; DeClerck, Yves A (2014) [Tumor microenvironment and therapeutic resistance process]. Med Sci (Paris) 30:445-51
Priceman, Saul J; Shen, Shudan; Wang, Lin et al. (2014) S1PR1 is crucial for accumulation of regulatory T cells in tumors via STAT3. Cell Rep 6:992-9
Yang, Chunmei; Lee, Heehyoung; Jove, Veronica et al. (2013) Prognostic significance of B-cells and pSTAT3 in patients with ovarian cancer. PLoS One 8:e54029
Ara, Tasnim; Nakata, Rie; Sheard, Michael A et al. (2013) Critical role of STAT3 in IL-6-mediated drug resistance in human neuroblastoma. Cancer Res 73:3852-64
Yang, Chunmei; Lee, Heehyoung; Pal, Sumanta et al. (2013) B cells promote tumor progression via STAT3 regulated-angiogenesis. PLoS One 8:e64159
Xin, Hong; Lu, Rongze; Lee, Heehyoung et al. (2013) G-protein-coupled receptor agonist BV8/prokineticin-2 and STAT3 protein form a feed-forward loop in both normal and malignant myeloid cells. J Biol Chem 288:13842-9
Fang, Hua; Declerck, Yves A (2013) Targeting the tumor microenvironment: from understanding pathways to effective clinical trials. Cancer Res 73:4965-77