IFN-α with dasatinib broadens the immune repertoire in patients with chronic-phase chronic myeloid leukemia

Jani Huuhtanen, Mette Ilander, Bhagwan Yadav, Olli M.J. Dufva, Hanna Lähteenmäki, Tiina Kasanen, Jay Klievink, Ulla Olsson-Strömberg, Jesper Stentoft, Johan Richter, Perttu Koskenvesa, Martin Höglund, Stina Söderlund, Arta Dreimane, Kimmo Porkka, Tobias Gedde-Dahl, Björn T. Gjertsen, Leif Stenke, Kristina Myhr-Eriksson, Berit MarkevärnAnna Lübking, Andreja Dimitrijevic, Lene Udby, Ole Weis Bjerrum, Henrik Hjorth-Hansen, Satu Mustjoki*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


In chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), combination therapies with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) aim to improve the achievement of deep molecular remission that would allow therapy discontinuation. IFN-α is one promising candidate, as it has long-lasting effects on both malignant and immune cells. In connection with a multicenter clinical trial combining dasatinib with IFN-α in 40 patients with chronic-phase CML (NordCML007, NCT01725204), we performed immune monitoring with single-cell RNA and T cell receptor (TCR) sequencing (n = 4, 12 samples), bulk TCRβ sequencing (n = 13, 26 samples), flow cytometry (n = 40, 106 samples), cytokine analyses (n = 17, 80 samples), and ex vivo functional studies (n = 39, 80 samples). Dasatinib drove the immune repertoire toward terminally differentiated NK and CD8+ T cells with dampened functional capabilities. Patients with dasatinib-associated pleural effusions had increased numbers of CD8+ recently activated effector memory T (Temra) cells. In vitro, dasatinib prevented CD3-induced cell death by blocking TCR signaling. The addition of IFN-α reversed the terminally differentiated phenotypes and increased the number of costimulatory intercellular interactions and the number of unique putative epitope-specific TCR clusters. In vitro IFN-α had costimulatory effects on TCR signaling. Our work supports the combination of IFN-α with TKI therapy, as IFN-α broadens the immune repertoire and restores immunological function.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere152585
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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