Mutations in SET-binding protein 1 (SETBP1) are associated with poor outcomes in myeloid leukemias. In the Ras-driven leukemia, juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia, SETBP1 mutations are enriched in relapsed disease. While some mechanisms for SETBP1-driven oncogenesis have been established, it remains unclear how SETBP1 specifically modulates the biology of Ras-driven leukemias. In this study, we found that when co-expressed with Ras pathway mutations, SETBP1 promoted oncogenic transformation of murine bone marrow in vitro and aggressive myeloid leukemia in vivo. We demonstrate that SETBP1 enhances the NRAS gene expression signature, driving upregulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling and downregulation of differentiation pathways. SETBP1 also enhances NRAS-driven phosphorylation of MAPK proteins. Cells expressing NRAS and SETBP1 are sensitive to inhibitors of the MAPK pathway, and treatment with the MEK inhibitor trametinib conferred a survival benefit in a mouse model of NRAS/SETBP1-mutant disease. Our data demonstrate that despite driving enhanced MAPK signaling, SETBP1-mutant cells remain susceptible to trametinib in vitro and in vivo, providing encouraging preclinical data for the use of trametinib in SETBP1-mutant disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research