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PloS one

Anti-cancer potential of MAPK pathway inhibition in paragangliomas-effect of different statins on mouse pheochromocytoma cells.


PMID 24846270

Abstract

To date, malignant pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PHEOs/PGLs) cannot be effectively cured and thus novel treatment strategies are urgently needed. Lovastatin has been shown to effectively induce apoptosis in mouse PHEO cells (MPC) and the more aggressive mouse tumor tissue-derived cells (MTT), which was accompanied by decreased phosphorylation of mitogen-activated kinase (MAPK) pathway players. The MAPK pathway plays a role in numerous aggressive tumors and has been associated with a subgroup of PHEOs/PGLs, including K-RAS-, RET-, and NF1-mutated tumors. Our aim was to establish whether MAPK signaling may also play a role in aggressive, succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) B mutation-derived PHEOs/PGLs. Expression profiling and western blot analysis indicated that specific aspects of MAPK-signaling are active in SDHB PHEOs/PGLs, suggesting that inhibition by statin treatment could be beneficial. Moreover, we aimed to assess whether the anti-proliferative effect of lovastatin on MPC and MTT differed from that exerted by fluvastatin, simvastatin, atorvastatin, pravastatin, or rosuvastatin. Simvastatin and fluvastatin decreased cell proliferation most effectively and the more aggressive MTT cells appeared more sensitive in this respect. Inhibition of MAPK1 and 3 phosphorylation following treatment with fluvastatin, simvastatin, and lovastatin was confirmed by western blot. Increased levels of CASP-3 and PARP cleavage confirmed induction of apoptosis following the treatment. At a concentration low enough not to affect cell proliferation, spontaneous migration of MPC and MTT was significantly inhibited within 24 hours of treatment. In conclusion, lipophilic statins may present a promising therapeutic option for treatment of aggressive human paragangliomas by inducing apoptosis and inhibiting tumor spread.