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Benelli R.,Oncologia Molecolare e Angiogenesi | Monteghirfo S.,Oncologia Molecolare e Angiogenesi | Vene R.,Biologia Cellulare | Tosetti F.,Oncologia Molecolare e Angiogenesi | Ferrari N.,Oncologia Molecolare e Angiogenesi
Molecular Cancer | Year: 2010

Background: Prostate cancer shows an extremely slow progression, appearing in its metastatic, hormone refractory phenotype mostly in elderly men. The chemopreventive targeting of this tumor could accordingly delay its malignancy over life expectancy. The cancer chemopreventive retinoid N-(4 hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4HPR) has already been shown to restrain prostate cancer growth in vitro and in vivo, though its mechanisms of action are only partially explained.Results: We found that 4HPR impairs DU145 and PC3 prostate cancer cells migration and invasion by down-regulating FAK and AKT activation and by enhancing β-catenin degradation, causing the downregulation of target genes like cyclin D1, survivin and VEGF. This non-migratory phenotype was similarly produced in both cell lines by stable silencing of β-catenin. 4HPR was able to decrease AKT phosphorylation also when powerfully upregulated by IGF-1 and, consequently, to impair IGF-1-stimulated cell motility. Conversely, the expression of constitutively active AKT (myr-AKT) overcame the effects of 4HPR and β-catenin-silencing on cell migration. In addition, we found that BMP-2, a 4HPR target with antiangiogenic activity, decreased prostate cancer cell proliferation, migration and invasion by down-regulating the pathway described involving AKT phosphorylation, β-catenin stability and cyclin D1 expression.Conclusion: These data point to 4HPR as a negative regulator of AKT phosphorylation, effectively targeting the β-catenin pathway and inducing a relatively benign phenotype in prostate cancer cells, limiting neoangiogenesis and cell invasion. © 2010 Benelli et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Benelli R.,Immunology | Ven R.,Oncologia Molecolare e Angiogenesi | Ciarlo M.,Oncologia Molecolare e Angiogenesi | Carlone S.,Oncologia Molecolare e Angiogenesi | And 2 more authors.
Biochemical Pharmacology | Year: 2012

Although the vast majority of patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) attain remission with modern therapies, relapsed leukemia will continue to be a common malignancy both in childhood and in adults, until new treatments are available. Therapeutic options for advanced B-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia are still limited and acquired drug resistance and extramedullary tissue infiltration are two major obstacles during treatment. The prenylflavonoid xanthohumol (XN) has shown in vitro and in vivo therapeutic potential against a range of tumors. In the present study we investigated the effects of XN on B-ALL cells in vitro and in an ALL-like xenograft mouse model. Treatment of ALL cell lines with XN resulted in growth arrest and apoptosis induction. XN retained its cytotoxicity when adriamycin resistant cells were examined while ALL cell clones adapted to long-term exposure to XN resulted highly responsive to cytotoxic drugs. Administration of 50 μg XN/mouse (5 days/week) significantly increased animal life span by delaying the insurgence of neurological disorders due to leukemic cells dissemination. In agreement with a less invasive phenotype, cell migration and invasion were impaired by XN and basal levels of FAK, AKT and NF-κB signaling pathways were down-regulated in ALL cells upon XN exposure. Our data indicate that XN has significant antileukemic activity both in vitro and in vivo, which associates with impaired cell migration and invasion. Interestingly, this activity overcomes mechanisms leading to drug-resistance. XN represents a promising agent perspective for ALL therapy and recurrence prevention and would deserve clinical testing in the near future. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

Ciarlo M.,Oncologia Molecolare e Angiogenesi | Benelli R.,Oncologia Molecolare e Angiogenesi | Barbieri O.,Oncologia Molecolare e Angiogenesi | Minghelli S.,Centro Biotecnologie Avanzate | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Cancer | Year: 2012

Current diagnostic tools cannot predict clinical failure and androgen-independent disease progression for patients with prostate cancer (PC). The survival signaling pathways of prostate cells play a central role in the progression of tumors to a neuroendocrine (NE) phenotype. NE cells demonstrate attributes that suggest that they are an integral part of the signaling cascade leading to castration-resistant PC. In this study, making use of in vitro neuroendocrine differentiation (NED) of human LNCaP and mouse TRAMP-C2 cells after androgen withdrawal, and of the transgenic adenocarcinoma of mouse prostate (TRAMP) model, we characterized a sequence of molecular events leading to NED and identified a number of markers that could be detectable by routine analyses not only in castration resistant PC but also in hormone naïve PC at the time of initial diagnosis. We found that NED associates with AKT activation that in turn regulates heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K (hnRNP K), androgen receptor (AR) and β-catenin levels. Addition of molecules targeting membrane-bound receptors and protein kinases blocks NE differentiation in LNCaP and TRAMP-C2 cells. The extent of AKT phosphorylation and hnRNP K, AR and β-catenin levels may have a potential value as prognostic indicators discriminating between androgen-responsive and unresponsive cells and could be used as molecular targets to monitor the anti-tumor action of new therapeutic protocols based on antireceptor agents and/or neuroendocrine hormone antagonists. Copyright © 2011 UICC.

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