Germline mutations in the gene encoding tumor suppressor kinase LKB1 lead to gastrointestinal tumorigenesis in Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS) patients and mouse models; however, the cell types and signaling pathways underlying tumor formation are unknown. Here, we demonstrated that mesenchymal progenitor- or stromal fibroblast–specific deletion of Lkb1 results in fully penetrant polyposis in mice. Lineage tracing and immunohistochemical analyses revealed clonal expansion of Lkb1-deficient myofibroblast-like cell foci in the tumor stroma. Loss of Lkb1 in stromal cells was associated with induction of an inflammatory program including IL-11 production and activation of the JAK/STAT3 pathway in tumor epithelia concomitant with proliferation. Importantly, treatment of LKB1-defcient mice with the JAK1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib dramatically decreased polyposis. These data indicate that IL-11–mediated induction of JAK/STAT3 is critical in gastrointestinal tumorigenesis following Lkb1 mutations and suggest that targeting this pathway has therapeutic potential in Peutz-Jeghers syndrome.
Saara Ollila, Eva Domènech-Moreno, Kaisa Laajanen, Iris P.L. Wong, Sushil Tripathi, Nalle Pentinmikko, Yajing Gao, Yan Yan, Elina H. Niemelä, Timothy C. Wang, Benoit Viollet, Gustavo Leone, Pekka Katajisto, Kari Vaahtomeri, Tomi P. Mäkelä
Mesenchymal loss of Lkb1 is sufficient to drive fully penetrant PJS polyposis in mice.