Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors in the treatment of inflammatory and neoplastic diseases

Authors: Roskoski R
Publication: Pharm Res


The Janus kinase (JAK) family of non-receptor protein-tyrosine kinases consists of JAK1, JAK2, JAK3, and TYK2 (tyrosine kinase-2). Each of these proteins contains a JAK homology pseudokinase (JH2) domain that regulates the adjacent protein kinase domain (JH1). JAK1/2 and TYK2 are ubiquitously expressed whereas JAK3 is found predominantly in hematopoietic cells. The Janus kinase family is regulated by numerous cytokines including interleukins, interferons, and hormones such as erythropoietin, thrombopoietin, and growth hormone. Ligand binding to cytokine and hormone receptors leads to the activation of associated Janus kinases, which then mediate the phosphorylation of the receptors. The SH2 domain of STATs (signal transducers and activators of transcription) binds to the receptor phosphotyrosines thereby promoting STAT phosphorylation by the Janus kinases and consequent activation. STAT dimers are translocated to the nucleus where they participate in the regulation of the expression of thousands of proteins. JAK-STAT dysregulation results in autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn disease. JAK-STAT dysregulation also plays a role in the pathogenesis of myelofibrosis, polycythemia vera, and other myeloproliferative illnesses. An activating JAK2 V617F mutation occurs in 95% of people with polycythemia vera and in a lower percentage of people with other neoplasms. JAK1/3 signaling participates in the pathogenesis of inflammatory afflictions while JAK1/2 signaling participates in the development of several malignancies including leukemias and lymphomas as well as myeloproliferative neoplasms. Tofacitinib is a pan-JAK inhibitor that is approved by the FDA for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and ruxolitinib is a JAK1/2 inhibitor that is approved for the treatment of polycythemia vera and myelofibrosis.