Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-5 (5)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

Year of Publication
Document Types
1.  Histone deacetylase inhibition synergistically enhances pemetrexed cytotoxicity through induction of apoptosis and autophagy in non-small cell lung cancer 
Molecular Cancer  2014;13(1):230.
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Pemetrexed, a multi-target folate antagonist, has demonstrated efficacy in NSCLC histological subtypes characterized by low thymidylate synthase (TS) expression. Among many other potential targets, histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) modulate TS expression, potentially sensitizing to the cytotoxic action of anti-cancer drugs that target the folate pathway, such as pemetrexed. Since high levels of TS have been linked to clinical resistance to pemetrexed in NSCLC, herein we investigated the molecular and functional effects of combined pemetrexed and ITF2357, a pan-HDACi currently in clinical trials as an anti-cancer agent.
In NSCLC cell lines, HDAC inhibition by ITF2357 induced histone and tubulin acetylation and downregulated TS expression at the mRNA and protein level. In combination experiments in vitro ITF2357 and pemetrexed demonstrated sequence-dependent synergistic growth-inhibitory effects, with the sequence pemetrexed followed by ITF2357 inducing a strikingly synergistic reduction in cell viability and induction of both apoptosis and autophagy in all cell line models tested, encompassing both adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Conversely, simultaneous administration of both drugs achieved frankly antagonistic effects, while the sequence of ITF2357 followed by pemetrexed had additive to slightly synergistic growth-inhibitory effects only in certain cell lines. Similarly, highly synergistic growth inhibition was also observed in patient-derived lung cancer stem cells (LCSC) exposed to pemetrexed followed by ITF2357. In terms of molecular mechanisms of interaction, the synergistic growth-inhibitory effects observed were only partially related to TS modulation by ITF2357, as genetic silencing of TS expression potentiated growth inhibition by either pemetrexed or ITF2357 and, to a lesser extent, by their sequential combination. Genetic and pharmacological approaches provided an interesting link between the autophagic and apoptotic pathways, and showed that sequential pemetrexed/ITF2357 causes a toxic form of autophagy with consequent activation of a caspase-dependent apoptotic program. In vivo experiments in NSCLC xenografts confirmed that sequential pemetrexed/ITF2357 is feasible and results in increased inhibition of tumor growth and increased mice survival.
Overall, these data provide a strong rationale for the clinical development of sequential schedules employing pemetrexed followed by HDACi in NSCLC.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1476-4598-13-230) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4198757  PMID: 25301686
HDAC inhibitors; ITF2357; Givinostat; Pemetrexed; Apoptosis; Autophagy; Synergism; NSCLC
2.  Removal of the BH4 Domain from Bcl-2 Protein Triggers an Autophagic Process that Impairs Tumor Growth12 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2013;15(3):315-327.
Here, we show that forced expression of a B-cell lymphoma 2 (bcl-2) protein lacking residues 1 to 36 at the N-terminal, including the entire Bcl-2 homology 4 (BH4) domain, determines reduction of in vitro and in vivo human melanoma growth. Noteworthy, melanoma cells in vivo exhibit markedly increased autophagy, as response to expression of bcl-2 protein deleted of its BH4 domain. This observation led to the identification of a novel gain of function for bcl-2 protein lacking the BH4 domain. In particular, upon different autophagic stimuli in vitro, overexpression of bcl-2 protein deleted of BH4 domain induces autophagosome accumulation, conversion of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3B-II, reduced expression of p62/SQSTM1 protein, and thereby enhanced autophagic flux. The relevance of Beclin-1 is evidenced by the fact that 1) the autophagy-promoting and growth-inhibiting properties are partially rescued by Beclin-1 knockdown in cells expressing bcl-2 protein lacking the BH4 domain, 2) Beclin-1 only interacts with wild-type but not with deleted bcl-2, and 3) BH4 domain removal from bcl-2 protein does not influence in vitro and in vivo growth of tumor cells expressing low levels of endogenous Beclin-1. These results provide new insight into molecular mechanism of bcl-2 functions and represent a rationale for the development of agents interfering with the BH4 domain of bcl-2 protein.
PMCID: PMC3593154  PMID: 23479509
3.  LMNA Knock-Down Affects Differentiation and Progression of Human Neuroblastoma Cells 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45513.
Neuroblastoma (NB) is one of the most aggressive tumors that occur in childhood. Although genes, such as MYCN, have been shown to be involved in the aggressiveness of the disease, the identification of new biological markers is still desirable. The induction of differentiation is one of the strategies used in the treatment of neuroblastoma. A-type lamins are components of the nuclear lamina and are involved in differentiation. We studied the role of Lamin A/C in the differentiation and progression of neuroblastoma.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Knock-down of Lamin A/C (LMNA-KD) in neuroblastoma cells blocked retinoic acid-induced differentiation, preventing neurites outgrowth and the expression of neural markers. The genome-wide gene-expression profile and the proteomic analysis of LMNA-KD cells confirmed the inhibition of differentiation and demonstrated an increase of aggressiveness-related genes and molecules resulting in augmented migration/invasion, and increasing the drug resistance of the cells. The more aggressive phenotype acquired by LMNA-KD cells was also maintained in vivo after injection into nude mice. A preliminary immunohistochemistry analysis of Lamin A/C expression in nine primary stages human NB indicated that this protein is poorly expressed in most of these cases.
We demonstrated for the first time in neuroblastoma cells that Lamin A/C plays a central role in the differentiation, and that the loss of this protein gave rise to a more aggressive tumor phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3458895  PMID: 23049808
4.  Bcl-2 Regulates HIF-1α Protein Stabilization in Hypoxic Melanoma Cells via the Molecular Chaperone HSP90 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11772.
Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1 (HIF-1) is a transcription factor that is a critical mediator of the cellular response to hypoxia. Enhanced levels of HIF-1α, the oxygen-regulated subunit of HIF-1, is often associated with increased tumour angiogenesis, metastasis, therapeutic resistance and poor prognosis. It is in this context that we previously demonstrated that under hypoxia, bcl-2 protein promotes HIF-1/Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)-mediated tumour angiogenesis.
Methodology/Principal Findings
By using human melanoma cell lines and their stable or transient derivative bcl-2 overexpressing cells, the current study identified HIF-1α protein stabilization as a key regulator for the induction of HIF-1 by bcl-2 under hypoxia. We also demonstrated that bcl-2-induced accumulation of HIF-1α protein during hypoxia was not due to an increased gene transcription or protein synthesis. In fact, it was related to a modulation of HIF-1α protein expression at a post-translational level, indeed its degradation rate was faster in the control lines than in bcl-2 transfectants. The bcl-2-induced HIF-1α stabilization in response to low oxygen tension conditions was achieved through the impairment of ubiquitin-dependent HIF-1α degradation involving the molecular chaperone HSP90, but it was not dependent on the prolyl hydroxylation of HIF-1α protein. We also showed that bcl-2, HIF-1α and HSP90 proteins form a tri-complex that may contribute to enhancing the stability of the HIF-1α protein in bcl-2 overexpressing clones under hypoxic conditions. Finally, by using genetic and pharmacological approaches we proved that HSP90 is involved in bcl-2-dependent stabilization of HIF-1α protein during hypoxia, and in particular the isoform HSP90β is the main player in this phenomenon.
We identified the stabilization of HIF-1α protein as a mechanism through which bcl-2 induces the activation of HIF-1 in hypoxic tumour cells involving the β isoform of molecular chaperone HSP90.
PMCID: PMC2910721  PMID: 20668552
5.  Growth-Inhibitory and Antiangiogenic Activity of the MEK Inhibitor PD0325901 in Malignant Melanoma with or without BRAF Mutations12 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2009;11(8):720-731.
The Raf/MEK/ERK pathway is an important mediator of tumor cell proliferation and angiogenesis. Here, we investigated the growth-inhibitory and antiangiogenic properties of PD0325901, a novel MEK inhibitor, in human melanoma cells. PD0325901 effects were determined in a panel of melanoma cell lines with different genetic aberrations. PD0325901 markedly inhibited ERK phosphorylation and growth of both BRAF mutant and wild-type melanoma cell lines, with IC50 in the nanomolar range even in the least responsive models. Growth inhibition was observed both in vitro and in vivo in xenograft models, regardless of BRAF mutation status, and was due to G1-phase cell cycle arrest and subsequent induction of apoptosis. Cell cycle (cyclin D1, c-Myc, and p27KIP1) and apoptosis (Bcl-2 and survivin) regulators were modulated by PD0325901 at the protein level. Gene expression profiling revealed profound modulation of several genes involved in the negative control of MAPK signaling and melanoma cell differentiation, suggesting alternative, potentially relevant mechanisms of action. Finally, PD0325901 inhibited the production of the proangiogenic factors vascular endothelial growth factor and interleukin 8 at a transcriptional level. In conclusion, PD0325901 exerts potent growth-inhibitory, proapoptotic, and antiangiogenic activity in melanoma lines, regardless of their BRAF mutation status. Deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms of action of MEK inhibitors will likely translate into more effective treatment strategies for patients experiencing malignant melanoma.
PMCID: PMC2713590  PMID: 19649202

Results 1-5 (5)