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De Robertis A.,Molecular Oncology Unit | De Robertis A.,Siena Biotech Medicine Research Center | Mennillo F.,Molecular Oncology Unit | Mennillo F.,Siena Biotech Medicine Research Center | And 12 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Sarcomas are mesenchymal tumors showing high molecular heterogeneity, reflected at the histological level by the existence of more than fifty different subtypes. Genetic and epigenetic evidences link aberrant activation of the Wnt signaling to growth and progression of human sarcomas. This phenomenon, mainly accomplished by autocrine loop activity, is sustained by gene amplification, over-expression of Wnt ligands and co-receptors or epigenetic silencing of endogenous Wnt antagonists. We previously showed that pharmacological inhibition of Wnt signaling mediated by Axin stabilization produced in vitro and in vivo antitumor activity in glioblastoma tumors. Here, we report that targeting different sarcoma cell lines with the Wnt inhibitor/Axin stabilizer SEN461 produces a less transformed phenotype, as supported by modulation of anchorage-independent growth in vitro. At the molecular level, SEN461 treatment enhanced the stability of the scaffold protein Axin1, a key negative regulator of the Wnt signaling with tumor suppressor function, resulting in downstream effects coherent with inhibition of canonical Wnt signaling. Genetic phenocopy of small molecule Axin stabilization, through Axin1 over-expression, coherently resulted in strong impairment of soft-agar growth. Importantly, sarcoma growth inhibition through pharmacological Axin stabilization was also observed in a xenograft model in vivo in female CD-1 nude mice. Our findings suggest the usefulness of Wnt inhibitors with Axin stabilization activity as a potentialyl clinical relevant strategy for certain types of sarcomas. © 2014 De Robertis et al. Source

De Robertis A.,Siena Biotech Medicine Research Center | De Robertis A.,Siena Biotech Medicine Research Center | Valensin S.,Siena Biotech Medicine Research Center | Valensin S.,Siena Biotech Medicine Research Center | And 23 more authors.
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics | Year: 2013

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and prognostically unfavorable form of brain tumor. The aggressive and highly invasive phenotype of these tumors makes them among the most anatomically damaging human cancers with a median survival of less than 1 year. Although canonical Wnt pathway activation in cancers has been historically linked to the presence of mutations involving key components of the pathway (APC, β-catenin, or Axin proteins), an increasing number of studies suggest that elevated Wnt signaling in GBM is initiated by several alternative mechanisms that are involved in different steps of the disease. Therefore, inhibition of Wnt signaling may represent a therapeutically relevant approach for GBM treatment. After the selection of a GBM cell model responsive to Wnt inhibition, we set out to develop a screening approach for the identification of compounds capable of modulating canonical Wnt signaling and associated proliferative responses in GBM cells. Here, we show that the small molecule SEN461 inhibits the canonical Wnt signaling pathway inGBMcells, with relevant effects at both molecular and phenotypic levels in vitro and in vivo. These include SEN461-induced Axin stabilization, increased β-catenin phosphorylation/ degradation, and inhibition of anchorage-independent growth of human GBM cell lines and patient-derived primary tumor cells in vitro. Moreover, in vivo administration of SEN461 antagonized Wnt signaling in Xenopus embryos and reduced tumor growth in a GBM xenograft model. These data represent the first demonstration that small-molecule-mediated inhibition of Wnt signaling may be a potential approach for GBM therapeutics. ©2013 AACR. Source

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