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  • 1
    Keywords: GENE-EXPRESSION ; DIFFERENTIATION ; TUMORS ; BIOLOGY ; PROGRESSION ; PHENOTYPE ; P-TEFB ; RISK STRATIFICATION ; SUBGROUPS ; MIRNA EXPRESSION
    Abstract: Neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer that originates from neural crest-derived cells, is the most common deadly solid tumor of infancy. Amplification of the MYCN oncogene, which occurs in approximately 20-25% of human neuroblastomas, is the most prominent genetic marker of high-stage disease. The availability of valid preclinical in vivo models is a prerequisite to develop novel targeted therapies. We here report on the generation of transgenic mice with Cre-conditional induction of MYCN in dopamine beta-hydroxylase-expressing cells, termed LSL-MYCN;Dbh-iCre. These mice develop neuroblastic tumors with an incidence of 〉75%, regardless of strain background. Molecular profiling of tumors revealed upregulation of the MYCN-dependent miR-17-92 cluster as well as expression of neuroblastoma marker genes, including tyrosine hydroxylase and the neural cell adhesion molecule 1. Gene set enrichment analyses demonstrated significant correlation with MYC-associated expression patterns. Array comparative genome hybridization showed that chromosomal aberrations in LSL-MYCN;Dbh-iCre tumors were syntenic to those observed in human neuroblastomas. Treatment of a cell line established from a tumor derived from a LSL-MYCN;Dbh-iCre mouse with JQ1 or MLN8237 reduced cell viability and demonstrated oncogene addiction to MYCN. Here we report establishment of the first Cre-conditional human MYCN-driven mouse model for neuroblastoma that closely recapitulates the human disease with respect to tumor localization, histology, marker expression and genomic make up. This mouse model is a valuable tool for further functional studies and to assess the effect of targeted therapies.Oncogene advance online publication, 1 September 2014; doi:10.1038/onc.2014.269.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25174395
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  • 2
    Keywords: CANCER ; EXPRESSION ; tumor ; ACTIVATION ; RESPONSES ; C-MYC ; neuroblastoma ; CHROMOSOMES ; SUBGROUPS ; BRD4
    Abstract: Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor of childhood, and represents a significant clinical challenge in pediatric oncology, since overall survival currently remains under 70%. Patients with tumors overexpressing MYC or harboring a MYC oncogene amplification have an extremely poor prognosis. Pharmacologically inhibiting MYC expression may, thus, have clinical utility given its pathogenetic role in medulloblastoma. Recent studies using the selective small molecule BET inhibitor, JQ1, have identified BET bromodomain proteins, especially BRD4, as epigenetic regulatory factors for MYC and its targets. Targeting MYC expression by BET inhibition resulted in antitumoral effects in various cancers. Our aim here was to evaluate the efficacy of JQ1 against preclinical models for high-risk MYC-driven medulloblastoma. Treatment of medulloblastoma cell lines with JQ1 significantly reduced cell proliferation and preferentially induced apoptosis in cells expressing high levels of MYC. JQ1 treatment of medulloblastoma cell lines downregulated MYC expression and resulted in a transcriptional deregulation of MYC targets, and also significantly altered expression of genes involved in cell cycle progression and p53 signalling. JQ1 treatment prolonged the survival of mice harboring medulloblastoma xenografts and reduced the tumor burden in these mice. Our preclinical data provide evidence to pursue testing BET inhibitors, such as JQ1, as molecular targeted therapeutic options for patients with high-risk medulloblastomas overexpressing MYC or harboring MYC amplifications.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24231268
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  • 3
    Keywords: APOPTOSIS ; CANCER ; GROWTH ; GENE-EXPRESSION ; STEM-CELLS ; CENTRAL-NERVOUS-SYSTEM ; neuroblastoma ; N-MYC ; BRAIN-TUMORS ; TUMOR-SUPPRESSOR
    Abstract: Previous studies have evaluated the role of miRNAs in cancer initiation and progression. MiR-34a was found to be downregulated in several tumors, including medulloblastomas. Here we employed targeted transgenesis to analyze the function of miR-34a in vivo. We generated mice with a constitutive deletion of the miR-34a gene. These mice were devoid of mir-34a expression in all analyzed tissues, but were viable and fertile. A comprehensive standardized phenotypic analysis including more than 300 single parameters revealed no apparent phenotype. Analysis of miR-34a expression in human medulloblastomas and medulloblastoma cell lines revealed significantly lower levels than in normal human cerebellum. Re-expression of miR-34a in human medulloblastoma cells reduced cell viability and proliferation, induced apoptosis and downregulated the miR-34a target genes, MYCN and SIRT1. Activation of the Shh pathway by targeting SmoA1 transgene overexpression causes medulloblastoma in mice, which is dependent on the presence and upregulation of Mycn. Analysis of miR-34a in medulloblastomas derived from ND2:SmoA1(tg) mice revealed significant suppression of miR-34a compared to normal cerebellum. Tumor incidence was significantly increased and tumor formation was significantly accelerated in mice transgenic for SmoA1 and lacking miR-34a. Interestingly, Mycn and Sirt1 were strongly expressed in medulloblastomas derived from these mice. We here demonstrate that miR-34a is dispensable for normal development, but that its loss accelerates medulloblastomagenesis. Strategies aiming to re-express miR-34a in tumors could, therefore, represent an efficient therapeutic option. (c) 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25348795
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  • 4
    Abstract: Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) is a serine/threonine kinase that promotes G2/M-phase transition, is expressed in elevated levels in high-risk neuroblastomas and correlates with unfavorable patient outcome. Recently, we and others have presented PLK1 as a potential drug target for neuroblastoma, and reported that the BI2536 PLK1 inhibitor showed antitumoral actvity in preclinical neuroblastoma models. Here we analyzed the effects of GSK461364, a competitive inhibitor for ATP binding to PLK1, on typical tumorigenic properties of preclinical in vitro and in vivo neuroblastoma models. GSK461364 treatment of neuroblastoma cell lines reduced cell viability and proliferative capacity, caused cell cycle arrest and massively induced apoptosis. These phenotypic consequences were induced by treatment in the low-dose nanomolar range, and were independent of MYCN copy number status. GSK461364 treatment strongly delayed established xenograft tumor growth in nude mice, and significantly increased survival time in the treatment group. These preclinical findings indicate PLK1 inhibitors may be effective for patients with high-risk or relapsed neuroblastomas with upregulated PLK1 and might be considered for entry into early phase clinical trials in pediatric patients.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28036269
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  • 5
    Abstract: Current therapy of medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor of childhood, achieves 40-70% survival. Secondary chemotherapy resistance contributes to treatment failure, where TP53 pathway dysfunction plays a key role. MDM2 interaction with TP53 leads to its degradation. Reactivating TP53 functionality using small-molecule inhibitors, such as RITA, to disrupt TP53-MDM2 binding may have therapeutic potential. We show here that RITA decreased viability of all 4 analyzed medulloblastoma cell lines, regardless of TP53 functional status. The decrease in cell viability was accompanied in 3 of the 4 medulloblastoma cell lines by accumulation of TP53 protein in the cells and increased CDKN1A expression. RITA treatment in mouse models inhibited medulloblastoma xenograft tumor growth. These data demonstrate that RITA treatment reduces medulloblastoma cell viability in both in vitro and in vivo models, and acts independently of cellular TP53 status, identifying RITA as a potential therapeutic agent to treat medulloblastoma.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28427187
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  • 6
    Keywords: IN-VIVO ; CANCER-THERAPY ; CHRONIC LYMPHOCYTIC-LEUKEMIA ; WILD-TYPE P53 ; INHIBITORS ; RESTORATION ; SUPPRESSOR FUNCTION ; SMALL-MOLECULE ANTAGONISTS ; MDM2 ANTAGONISTS ; NEUROECTODERMAL TUMOR
    Abstract: Medulloblastomas account for 20% of pediatric brain tumors. With an overall survival of 40%-70%, their treatment is still a challenge. The majority of medulloblastomas lack p53 mutations, but even in cancers retaining wild-type p53, the tumor surveillance function of p53 is inhibited by the oncoprotein MDM2. Deregulation of the MDM2/p53 balance leads to malignant transformation. Here, we analyzed MDM2 mRNA and protein expression in primary medulloblastomas and normal cerebellum and assessed the mutational status of p53 and MDM2 expression in 6 medulloblastoma cell lines. MDM2 expression was elevated in medulloblastomas, compared with cerebellum. Four of 6 medulloblastoma cell lines expressed wild-type p53 and high levels of MDM2. The tumor-promoting p53-MDM2 interaction can be inhibited by the small molecule, nutlin-3, restoring p53 function. Targeting the p53-MDM2 axis using nutlin-3 significantly reduced cell viability and induced either cell cycle arrest or apoptosis and expression of the p53 target gene p21 in these 4 cell lines. In contrast, DAOY and UW-228 cells harboring TP53 mutations were almost unaffected by nutlin-3 treatment. MDM2 knockdown in medulloblastoma cells by siRNA mimicked nutlin-3 treatment, whereas expression of dominant negative p53 abrogated nutlin-3 effects. Oral nutlin-3 treatment of mice with established medulloblastoma xenografts inhibited tumor growth and significantly increased survival. Thus, nutlin-3 reduced medulloblastoma cell viability in vitro and in vivo by re-activating p53 function. We suggest that inhibition of the MDM2-p53 interaction with nutlin-3 is a promising therapeutic option for medulloblastomas with functional p53 that should be further evaluated in clinical trials.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22591662
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