Enhanced cell cycle perturbation and apoptosis mediate the synergistic effects of ST1926 and ATRA in neuroblastoma preclinical models

Angela Maria Di Francesco, Paolo Ubezio, Anna Rita Torella, Daniela Meco, Filomena Pierri, Giuseppe Barone, Gabriella Cusano, Claudio Pisano, Maurizio D'Incalci, Riccardo Riccardi

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

5 Citazioni (Scopus)


Retinoic acid therapy is nowadays an important component of treatment for residual disease of stage IV neuroblastoma after multimodal therapy. Nevertheless, arising resistance and treatment toxicity could represent relevant limiting factors. In the present study, we show that retinoic acid enhances the cytostatic and apoptogenic properties of the novel adamantyl retinoid ST1926 in a panel of neuroblastoma cells with different p53 status and caspase 8 expression, resulting in synergistic effects as assessed by Combination Index and Isobologram analysis. Under conditions where the two drugs alone produced no toxic effects, their combination resulted in enhanced G2-M arrest and sub-G1 population as shown by BrdU pulse-chase and labeling experiments. PARP cleavage, caspase 3, 8 and 9 activation and modulation of DR4 and FAS were indicative of enhanced apoptosis triggered by the co-incubation of the two drugs whereas neither ST1926-mediated genotoxic damage nor ATRA-differentiating effects were affected by the combined treatment. Caspase-3 and 8-mediated apoptosis appeared to play an important role in the drugs synergism. In fact, the addition of a pan-caspase inhibitor ZVAD-FMK reverted this effect in SK-N-DZ cells, and synergism was confined to limited drugs doses in HTLA cells not expressing caspase-8. Although not modulated, p53 appeared to enhance cells responsiveness to retinoid/ATRA combination. In vivo studies in the most sensitive neuroblastoma model SK-N-DZ, confirmed enhanced activity of the drugs combination vs single treatments. The study provides important lines of evidence that such a drugs combination could represent a less toxic and more effective approach for maintenance treatment in children with neuroblastoma.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1319-1330
Numero di pagine12
RivistaInvestigational New Drugs
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2012


  • ATRA
  • neuroblastoma
  • retinoids


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