N-Myc down regulation induced differentiation, early cell cycle exit, and apoptosis in human malignant neuroblastoma cells having wild type or mutant p53

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Graphical abstractCombination of 4-HPR and GST controlled neuroblastoma by (i) decreasing Id2 and fibronectin for neuronal differentiation, (ii) increasing p53 and PTEN, and (iii) inducing G1/S phase arrest leading to apoptosis.Neuroblastomas, which mostly occur in children, are aggressive metastatic tumors of the sympathetic nervous system. The failure of the previous therapeutic regimens to target multiple components of N-Myc pathway resulted in poor prognosis. The present study investigated the efficacy of the combination of N-(4-hydroxyphenyl) retinamide (4-HPR, 0.5 μM) and genistein (GST, 25 μM) to control the growth of human neuroblastoma cells (SH-SY5Y and SK-N-BE2) harboring divergent molecular attributes. Combination of 4-HPR and GST down regulated N-Myc, Notch-1, and Id2 to induce neuronal differentiation. Transition to neuronal phenotype was accompanied by increase in expression of e-cadherin. Induction of neuronal differentiation was associated with decreased expression of hTERT, PCNA, survivin, and fibronectin. This is the first report that combination of 4-HPR and GST mediated reactivation of multiple tumor suppressors (p53, p21, Rb, and PTEN) for early cell cycle exit (due to G1/S phase arrest) in neuroblastoma cells. Reactivation of tumor suppressor(s) repressed N-Myc driven growth factor mediated angiogenic and invasive pathways (VEGF, b-FGF, MMP-2, and MMP-9) in neuroblastoma. Repression of angiogenic factors led to the blockade of components of mitogenic pathways [phospho-Akt (Thr 308), p65 NF-κB, and p42/44 Erk 1/2]. Taken together, the combination of 4-HPR and GST effectively blocked survival, mitogenic, and angiogenic pathways and activated proteases for apoptosis in neuroblastoma cells. These results suggested that combination of 4-HPR and GST could be effective for controlling the growth of heterogeneous human neuroblastoma cell populations.

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