IFNα targets homozygous JAK2V617F HSPCs more efficiently than heterozygous JAK2V617F HSPCs.
Heterozygous JAK2V617F HSPCs are more rapidly depleted by high doses than low doses of IFNα.
Classical BCR-ABL–negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are clonal disorders of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) caused mainly by recurrent mutations in genes encoding JAK2 (JAK2), calreticulin (CALR), or the thrombopoietin receptor (MPL). Interferon α (IFNα) has demonstrated some efficacy in inducing molecular remission in MPNs. To determine factors that influence molecular response rate, we evaluated the long-term molecular efficacy of IFNα in patients with MPN by monitoring the fate of cells carrying driver mutations in a prospective observational and longitudinal study of 48 patients over more than 5 years. We measured the clonal architecture of early and late hematopoietic progenitors (84 845 measurements) and the global variant allele frequency in mature cells (409 measurements) several times per year. Using mathematical modeling and hierarchical Bayesian inference, we further inferred the dynamics of IFNα-targeted mutated HSCs. Our data support the hypothesis that IFNα targets JAK2V617F HSCs by inducing their exit from quiescence and differentiation into progenitors. Our observations indicate that treatment efficacy is higher in homozygous than heterozygous JAK2V617F HSCs and increases with high IFNα dose in heterozygous JAK2V617F HSCs. We also found that the molecular responses of CALRm HSCs to IFNα were heterogeneous, varying between type 1 and type 2 CALRm, and a high dose of IFNα correlates with worse outcomes. Our work indicates that the long-term molecular efficacy of IFNα implies an HSC exhaustion mechanism and depends on both the driver mutation type and IFNα dose.