Anti-leukaemic activity of the TYK2 selective inhibitor NDI-031301 in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

Activation of tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2) contributes to the aberrant survival of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL) cells. Here we demonstrate the anti-leukaemic activity of a novel TYK2 inhibitor, NDI-031301. NDI-031301 is a potent and selective inhibitor of TYK2 that induced robust growth inhibition of human T-ALL cell lines. NDI-031301 treatment of human T-ALL cell lines resulted in induction of apoptosis that was not observed with the JAK inhibitors tofacitinib and baricitinib. Further investigation revealed that NDI-031301 treatment uniquely leads to activation of three mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), resulting in phosphorylation of ERK, SAPK/JNK and p38 MAPK coincident with PARP cleavage. Activation of p38 MAPK occurred within 1 h of NDI-031301 treatment and was responsible for NDI-031301-induced T-ALL cell death, as pharmacological inhibition of p38 MAPK partially rescued apoptosis induced by TYK2 inhibitor. Finally, daily oral administration of NDI-031301 at 100 mg/kg bid to immunodeficient mice engrafted with KOPT-K1 T-ALL cells was well tolerated, and led to decreased tumour burden and a significant survival benefit. These results support selective inhibition of TYK2 as a promising potential therapeutic strategy for T-ALL.

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