Systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma is a category of T-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma which can be further subdivided into two distinct entities (ALK+ and ALK-) based on the presence or absence of ALK gene rearrangements. Among several pathways triggered by ALK signaling, constitutive activation of STAT3 is strictly required for ALK-mediated transformation and survival. Here we performed genome-wide microRNA profiling and identified 48 microRNA concordantly modulated by the inducible knock-down of ALK and STAT3. To evaluate the functional role of differentially expressed miRNA, we forced their expression in ALK+ anaplastic large cell lymphoma cells, and monitored their influence after STAT3 depletion. We found that the expression of the microRNA-17~92 cluster partially rescues STAT3 knock-down by sustaining proliferation and survival of ALK+ cells. Experiments in a xenograft mouse model indicated that forced expression of microRNA-17~92 interferes with STAT3 knock-down in vivo. High expression levels of the microRNA-17~92 cluster resulted in down-regulation of BIM and TGFβRII proteins, suggesting that their targeting might mediate resistance to STAT3 knock-down in anaplastic large cell lymphoma cells. We speculate that the microRNA-17~92 cluster is involved in lymphomagenesis of STAT3+ ALCL and that its inhibition might represent an alternative avenue to interfere with ALK signaling in anaplastic large cell lymphomas.
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