The short form of RON is expressed in acute myeloid leukemia and sensitizes leukemic cells to cMET inhibitors.

Fialin C, Larrue C, Vergez F, Sarry JE, Bertoli S, Mansat-De Mas V, Demur C, Delabesse E, Payrastre B, Manenti S, Roche S, Récher C.

Leukemia. 2013 Feb;27(2):325-35.
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Several receptor tyrosine kinases (TKs) are involved in the pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Here, we have assessed the expression of the Recepteur d’Origine Nantais (RON) in leukemic cell lines and samples from AML patients. In a series of 86 AML patients, we show that both the full length and/or the short form (sf) of RON are expressed in 51% and 43% of cases, respectively. Interestingly, sfRON is not expressed in normal CD34+ hematopoietic cells and induces part of its oncogenic signaling through interaction with the Src kinase Lyn. sfRON-mediated signaling in leukemic cells also involves mTORC1, the proapoptotic bcl2-family member, BAD, but not the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway. Furthermore, the expression of sfRON was specifically downregulated by 5-azacytidine (AZA). Conversely, AZA could induce the expression of sfRON in sfRON-negative leukemic cells suggesting that the activity of this drug in AML and myelodysplastic syndromes could involve modulation of TKs. cMET/RON inhibitors exhibited an antileukemic activity exclusively in AML samples and cell lines expressing sfRON. These results might support clinical trials evaluating cMET/RON inhibitors in AML patients expressing sfRON.