T-Cell Receptor Signaling Activates an IKT/NF-κB/GATA-3 Axis in T-Cell Lymphomas Facilitating Resistance to Chemotherapy

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Purpose: T-cell lymphomas are a molecularly heterogeneous group of non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL) that account for a disproportionate number of NHL disease-related deaths due to their inherent and acquired resistance to standard multiagent chemotherapy regimens. Despite their molecular heterogeneity and frequent loss of various T cell-specific receptors, the T-cell antigen receptor is retained in the majority of these lymphomas. As T-cell receptor (TCR) engagement activates a number of signaling pathways and transcription factors that regulate T-cell growth and survival, we examined the TCR's role in mediating resistance to chemotherapy. Experimental Design: Genetic and pharmacologic strategies were utilized to determine the contribution of tyrosine kinases and transcription factors activated in conventional T cells following TCR engagement in acquired chemotherapy resistance in primary T-cell lymphoma cells and patient-derived cell lines. Results: Here, we report that TCR signaling activates a signaling axis that includes ITK, NF-κB, and GATA-3 and promotes chemotherapy resistance. Conclusions: These observations have significant therapeutic implications, as pharmacologic inhibition of ITK prevented the activation of this signaling axis and overcame chemotherapy resistance.