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p21 Downregulation is an important component of PAX3/FKHR oncogenicity and its reactivation by HDAC inhibitors enhances combination treatment


Hecker, R M; Amstutz, R A; Wachtel, M; Walter, D; Niggli, F K; Schäfer, B W (2010). p21 Downregulation is an important component of PAX3/FKHR oncogenicity and its reactivation by HDAC inhibitors enhances combination treatment. Oncogene, 29(27):3942-3952.

Abstract

A number of drugs developed against cancer-specific molecular targets have been shown to offer survival benefits alone or in combination with standard treatments, especially for those cases in which tumor pathogenesis is dominated by a single molecular abnormality. One example for such a tumor type is alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (aRMS), which is characterized by a specific translocation creating the oncogenic PAX3/FKHR transcription factor, believed to be the molecular basis of the disease. Recently, we were able to show that the small molecule inhibitor PKC412 (midostaurin) shows strong antitumor activity against aRMS by reducing the transcriptional activity of PAX3/FKHR. In this study, we screened for combination strategies that are superior to PKC412-only treatment and found that the combination of PKC412 with histone deacetylase inhibitors like valproic acid (VPA) synergistically induced apoptosis resulting in suppressed aRMS tumor growth in vivo. We provide evidence that the antitumor effect on combination treatment is achieved by VPA-induced reactivation of p21, which is downregulated in aRMS cells by destabilization of the transcriptional regulator EGR1 by PAX3/FKHR. Our study highlights a possible mechanism behind the increased efficacy and indicates that different arms of PAX3/FKHR oncogenicity can be exploited therapeutically by the specific combination of drugs to increase their therapeutic potential.

Abstract

A number of drugs developed against cancer-specific molecular targets have been shown to offer survival benefits alone or in combination with standard treatments, especially for those cases in which tumor pathogenesis is dominated by a single molecular abnormality. One example for such a tumor type is alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (aRMS), which is characterized by a specific translocation creating the oncogenic PAX3/FKHR transcription factor, believed to be the molecular basis of the disease. Recently, we were able to show that the small molecule inhibitor PKC412 (midostaurin) shows strong antitumor activity against aRMS by reducing the transcriptional activity of PAX3/FKHR. In this study, we screened for combination strategies that are superior to PKC412-only treatment and found that the combination of PKC412 with histone deacetylase inhibitors like valproic acid (VPA) synergistically induced apoptosis resulting in suppressed aRMS tumor growth in vivo. We provide evidence that the antitumor effect on combination treatment is achieved by VPA-induced reactivation of p21, which is downregulated in aRMS cells by destabilization of the transcriptional regulator EGR1 by PAX3/FKHR. Our study highlights a possible mechanism behind the increased efficacy and indicates that different arms of PAX3/FKHR oncogenicity can be exploited therapeutically by the specific combination of drugs to increase their therapeutic potential.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Molecular Biology
Life Sciences > Genetics
Life Sciences > Cancer Research
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:14 Jan 2011 18:44
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 23:27
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:0950-9232
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/onc.2010.145
PubMed ID:20453878

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