The novel anti-neuroblastoma agent PF403, inhibits proliferation and invasion in vitro and in brain xenografts

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Neuroblastoma is the most common cancer in infants and the fourth most common cancer in children. Our previous study showed that PF403 had a potent antitumor ability. In the present study, we evaluated the anti-neuroblastoma property of PF403 and investigated the underlying mechanisms. MTT assay, colony formation assay and flow cytometry assay were used to assess cytotoxicity of PF403 on SH-SY5Y cells. Transwell assay was chosen to estimate the anti-invasion ability of PF403 on neuroblastoma cells. The protein expression was detected by western blot analysis. The SH-SY5Y brain xenograft model was used to assess in vivo antitumor activity of PF403. PF403-mediated SH-SY5Y cell death was found to be dose- and time-dependent, and PF403 was able to limit invasion and metastasis of neuroblastoma cells. MRI and pathology analysis proved that the pro-drug of PF403, CAT3, inhibited SH-SY5Y cells in vivo. PF403 decreased expression of phosphorylated FAK, MMP-2 and MMP-9 proteins, and downregulated the activity of PI3K/AKT and Raf/ERK pathways, followed by regulation of the proteins expression of Bcl-2 family, activated caspase-3, -9 and PARP and initiation of apoptosis of neuroblastoma cells. PF403 exerted cytotoxicity against SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell both in vitro and in vivo, and inhibited its invasion ability, suggesting PF403 has potential as a new anticancer drug for the treatment of neuroblastoma.

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