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01.12.2018 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research 1/2018

INPP4B promotes cell survival via SGK3 activation in NPM1-mutated leukemia

Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research > Ausgabe 1/2018
Hongjun Jin, Liyuan Yang, Lu Wang, Zailin Yang, Qian Zhan, Yao Tao, Qin Zou, Yuting Tang, Jingrong Xian, Shuaishuai Zhang, Yipei Jing, Ling Zhang



Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with mutated nucleophosmin (NPM1) has been recognized as a distinct leukemia entity in the 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) classification. The genetic events underlying oncogenesis in NPM1-mutated AML that is characterized by a normal karyotype remain unclear. Inositol polyphosphate 4-phosphatase type II (INPP4B), a new factor in the phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K) pathway-associated cancers, has been recently found a clinically relevant role in AML. However, little is known about the specific mechanistic function of INPP4B in NPM1-mutated AML.


The INPP4B expression levels in NPM1-mutated AML primary blasts and AML OCI-AML3 cell lines were determined by qRT-PCR and western blotting. The effect of INPP4B knockdown on OCI-AML3 leukemia cell proliferation was evaluated, using the Cell Counting Kit-8 and colony formation assay. After INPP4B overexpression or knockdown, the activation of serum and glucocorticoid-regulated kinase 3 (SGK3) and AKT was assessed. The effects of PI3K signaling pathway inhibitors on the levels of p-SGK3 in OCI-AML3 cells were tested. The mass of PI (3,4) P2 and PI (3) P was analyzed by ELISA upon INPP4B overexpression. Knockdown of SGK3 by RNA interference and a rescue assay were performed to confirm the critical role of SGK3 in INPP4B-mediated cell survival. In addition, the molecular mechanism underlying INPP4B expression in NPM1-mutated leukemia cells was explored. Finally, Kaplan–Meier survival analysis was conducted on the NPM1-mutated AML cohort stratified into quartiles for INPP4B expression in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) dataset.


High expression of INPP4B was observed in NPM1-mutated AML. Knockdown of INPP4B repressed cell proliferation in OCI-AML3 cells, whereas recovered INPP4B rescued this inhibitory effect in vitro. Mechanically, INPP4B enhanced phosphorylated SGK3 (p-SGK3) status, but did not affect AKT activation. SGK3 was required for INPP4B-induced cell proliferation in OCI-AML3 cells. High levels of INPP4B were at least partially caused by the NPM1 mutant via ERK/Ets-1 signaling. Finally, high expression of INPP4B showed a trend towards lower overall survival and event-free survival in NPM1-mutated AML patients.


Our results indicate that INPP4B promotes leukemia cell survival via SGK3 activation, and INPP4B might be a potential target in the treatment of NPM1-mutated AML.
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