BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: 13-cis-Retinoic acid represents a well-established clinical strategy for the management of minimal residual disease of high risk neuroblastoma (NB) patients. However, the clinical efficacy on the overall survival of these patients remains limited, addressing the issue of better understanding the molecular mechanisms and intracellular pathways mediating Retinoic Acid (RA) clinical effects. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: This work investigates the mechanism underlying the sensitivity/resistance to RA in NB by taking advantage of the paired SK-N-AS/rAS-ST cells showing different responsivity to ATRA. The subline rAS-ST was selected by inducing resistance to the novel retinoid ST1926 in the NB SK-N-AS cell line. KEY RESULTS: Resistance to ST1926 was neither dependent on cellular uptake nor on multi-drug resistance phenotype. Rather, both delayed/lower DNA damage and apoptosis appeared involved in reduced sensitivity of rAS-ST cells to ST1926. This subline showed enhanced responsivity to ATRA compared to the wt counterpart, that was associated with enhanced RARα/β expression, DNA damage, G2 accumulation, PI3K/AKT pathway inhibition, cellular differentiation and delayed telomerase inhibition, without involvement of either p27/p53 or caspase-mediated apoptosis. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: The present data add important information to the understanding of RA sensitivity in NB, providing further insights towards a more efficacious clinical use of this drug.
- Retinoic acid