Glucocorticoid (GC) therapy occasionally relieves tumor-related fever and promotes tumor reduction in patients with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML). A mutation analysis of 24 patients with CMML revealed the relationship of GC effectiveness, defined as a monocyte reduction of > 50% within 3 days of methylprednisolone administration, with the MEFV single-nucleotide variant (SNV) and CBL mutation. Lipopolysaccharide-stimulated monocytes harboring MEFV E148Q produced greater amounts of IL-1β and TNF-α than did wild-type monocytes; this was effectively suppressed by GC. Primary CMML cells harboring the MEFV SNV and CBL mutation, and the myelomonocytic leukemia cell line GDM-1, harboring the CBL mutation, were both more significantly suppressed than non-mutated cells following GC treatment in the presence of GM-CSF. A loss-of-function CBL mutation prolonged STAT5 phosphorylation after GM-CSF stimulation, which was rapidly terminated in both patient samples and GDM-1 cells. In conclusion, GC therapy effectively treats CMML cells harboring the MEFV SNV and CBL mutation by reducing inflammatory cytokine production and terminating prolonged STAT5 phosphorylation in the GM-CSF signaling pathway.
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