Molecular Pharmacology Unit

Milano, Italy

Molecular Pharmacology Unit

Milano, Italy
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Stacchiotti S.,Adult Sarcoma Medical Oncology Unit | Stacchiotti S.,Fondazione IRCCS Instituto Nazionale Tumori | Tortoreto M.,Molecular Pharmacology Unit | Bozzi F.,Experimental Molecular Pathology Unit | And 9 more authors.
Clinical Cancer Research | Year: 2013

Purpose: To explore the value of triazines in solitary fibrous tumor (SFT). Experimental Design: We retrospectively reviewed 8 cases of patients with SFT treated with dacarbazine (1,200mg/m2 every 3 weeks) as from January 2012. Then, we studied a dedifferentiated-SFT subcutaneously xenotransplanted into severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice. Dacarbazine, temozolomide, sunitinib, bevacizumab, and pazopanib were administered at their reported optimal doses for the mouse model when mean tumor volume (TV) was about 80mm3; each experimental groups included 6 mice. Drug activity was assessed as tumor volume inhibition percentage (TVI%). Dacarbazine was tested according to two different schedules of administration. One hunded twenty days after treatment interruption, mouse tumor samples were analyzed. Results: Among the eight patients treated with dacarbazine, best response evaluation criteria in solid tumors responses (RECIST) were three partial responses, 4 stable disease, 1 progression. Two responsive patients had paraneoplastic hypoglycemia that disappeared after 10 days from starting dacarbazine. In the dedifferentiated-SFT xenograft model, dacarbazine and temozolomide showed the highest antitumor activity (about 95% TVI), confirmed pathologically. Sunitinib and pazopanib were only marginally active (52% and 41% TVI, respectively), whereas bevacizumab caused a 78% TVI. No tumor regrowth was observed up to 100 days from end of treatment with temozolomide and dacarbazine, whereas secondary progression followed sunitinib, pazopanib, and bevacizumab interruption. Conclusions: Dacarbazine as single agent has antitumor activity in SFT. Our preclinical results suggest a cytotoxic effect of temozolomide and dacarbazine, as compared with a cytostatic role for sunitinib, pazopanib, and bevacizumab. A phase II study on dacarbazine in advanced SFT is planned. © 2013 American Association for Cancer Research.


PubMed | Adult Mesenchymal Tumor Medical Oncology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Instituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Molecular Pharmacology Unit, Italian National Cancer Institute and Laboratory of Experimental Molecular Pathology
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Oncotarget | Year: 2016

The aim of this study was to reconsider the biological characteristics of epithelioid malignant peritoneal mesothelioma (E-MpM) in the light of new concepts about epithelial mesenchymal transition and mesenchymal epithelial reverse transition (EMT/MErT) and the role of epigenetic reprogramming in this context. To this end we profiled surgical specimens and derived cells cultures by a number of complementary approaches i.e. immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, in situ hybridization, biochemistry, pluripotent stem cell arrays, treatments with cytokines, growth factors and specific inhibitors.The analyses of the surgical specimens showed that i) EZH2 is expressed throughout the spectrum of MpM, ii) that E-MpM (including the high-grade undifferentiated form) are characterised by c-MYC and miRNA 17-5p expression, and iii) that progression to sarcomatoid MpM is dictated by EMT regulators. They also showed that E-MpM expressed c-MET and are enriched in E- and P-cadherins- and VEGFR2-expressing CSCs, thus strongly supporting a role for MErT reprogramming in endowing E-MpM tumour cells with stemness and plasticity, and hence with a drug resistant phenotype. The cell culture-based experiments confirmed the stemness traits and plasticity of E-MpM, and support the view that EZH2 is a druggable target in this tumor.


Nicolini V.,Molecular Pharmacology Unit | Cassinelli G.,Molecular Pharmacology Unit | Cuccuru G.,Molecular Pharmacology Unit | Cuccuru G.,University of Turin | And 10 more authors.
Biochemical Pharmacology | Year: 2011

Emerging evidence suggests that Ret oncoproteins expressed in medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) might evade the pro-apoptotic function of the dependence receptor proto-Ret by directly impacting the apoptosis machinery. Identification of the molecular determinants of the interplay between Ret signaling and apoptosis might provide a relevant contribution to the optimization of Ret-targeted therapies. Here, we describe the cross-talk between Ret-M918T oncogenic mutant responsible for type 2B multiple endocrine syndrome (MEN2B), and components of death receptor-mediated extrinsic apoptosis pathway. In the human MEN2B-type MTC cell line MZ-CRC-1 expressing Ret-M918T, Ret was found associated with Fap-1, known as inhibitor of the CD95 death receptor trafficking to the cell membrane, and with procaspase-8, the initiator pro-form caspase in the extrinsic apoptosis pathway. Cell treatment with the anti-tumor Ret kinase inhibitor RPI-1 inhibited tyrosine phosphorylation of procaspase-8, likely inducing its local activation, followed by downregulation of both Ret and Fap-1, and translocation of CD95 into lipid rafts. According to the resulting increase of CD95 cell surface expression, the CD95 agonist antibody CH11 enhanced RPI-1-induced cell growth inhibition and apoptosis. RET RNA interference downregulated Fap-1 protein in MZ-CRC-1 cells, whereas exogenous RET-M918T upregulated Fap-1 in HEK293 cells. Overall, these data indicate that the Ret oncoprotein exerts opposing controls on Fap-1 and CD95, increasing Fap-1 expression and decreasing CD95 cell surface expression. The functional interplay of the Ret mutant with the extrinsic apoptosis pathway provides a mechanism possibly contributing to MTC malignant phenotype and a rational basis for novel therapeutic strategies combining Ret inhibitors and CD95 agonists. © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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