Neuroblastoma (NB) is the most common extracranial solid tumor in children. Our previous studies showed that the angiogenic integrin αvβ3 was increased in high-risk metastatic (stage 4) NB compared with localized neuroblastomas. Herein, we show that integrin αvβ3 was expressed on 68% of microvessels in MYCN-amplified stage 3 neuroblastomas, but only on 34% (means) in MYCN-non-amplified tumors (p < 0.001; n = 54). PTEN, a tumor suppressor involved in αvβ3 signaling, was expressed in neuroblastomas either diffusely, focally or not at all (immunohistochemistry). Integrin αvβ3 was expressed on 60% of tumor microvessels when PTEN was negative or focal, as compared to 32% of microvessels in tumors with diffuse PTEN expression (p < 0.001). In a MYCN transgenic mouse model, loss of one allele of PTEN promoted tumor growth, illustrating the potential role of PTEN in neuroblastoma pathogenesis. Interestingly, we report the novel dual PI-3K/BRD4 activity of SF1126 (originally developed as an RGD-conjugated pan PI3K inhibitor). SF1126 inhibits BRD4 bromodomain binding to acetylated lysine residues with histone H3 as well as PI3K activity in the MYCN amplified neuroblastoma cell line IMR-32. Moreover, SF1126 suppressed MYCN expression and MYCN associated transcriptional activity in IMR-32 and CHLA136, resulting in overall decrease in neuroblastoma cell viability. Finally, treatment of neuroblastoma tumors with SF1126 inhibited neuroblastoma growth in vivo. These data suggest integrin αvβ3, MYCN/BRD4 and PTEN/PI3K/AKT signaling as biomarkers and hence therapeutic targets in neuroblastoma and support testing of the RGD integrin αvβ3-targeted PI-3K/BRD4 inhibitor, SF1126 as a therapeutic strategy in this specific subgroup of high risk neuroblastoma.
Keywords: BRD4; PI3-kinase inhibitors; angiogenesis; integrin αvβ3; neuroblastoma.