• New molecular approaches to control rhabdomyosarcoma onset and metastasis in preclinical systems

Ianzano, Marianna Lucia


MED/04 Patologia generale


Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft tissue sarcoma of childhood. The aim of this study was to identify molecular events involved in rhabdomyosarcoma onset for the development of new therapeutic approaches against specific molecular targets. BALB-p53neu mice develop pelvic rhabdomyosarcoma and combines the activation of HER-2/neu oncogene with the inactivation of an allele of p53 oncosuppressor gene. Gene expression profiling led to the identification of genes potentially involved in rhabdomyosarcoma genesis and therefore of candidate targets. The pattern of expression of p53, HER-2/neu, CDKN2A/p19ARF and IGF-2 suggested that these alterations might be involved in gender-, site- and strain-specific development of rhabdomyosarcoma. Other genes such as CDKN1A/p21 might be involved. The role of IGF-2, CDKN2A/p19ARF and CDKN1A/p21 in tumor growth was investigated with siRNA in murine rhabdomyosarcoma cells. Silencing of p19ARF and p21 induced inhibition of growth and of migration ability, indicating a possible pro-tumor and pro-metastatic role in rhabdomyosarcoma in absence of p53. In addition the autocrine IGF-2/IGF-1R loop found in early phases of cancer progression strengthens its key role in sustaining rhabdomyosarcoma growth. As rhabdomyosarcoma displays defective myogenic differentiation, a therapeutic approach aimed at enhancing myogenic differentiation of rhabdomyosarcoma cells. Forced expression of myogenin was able to restore myogenic differentiation, significantly reduced cell motility and impaired tumor growth and metastatic spread. IL-4 treatment increased rhabdomyosarcoma cell growth, decreased myogenin expression and promoted migration of cells lacking myogenin. Another approach was based on small kinase inhibitors. Agents specifically targeting members of the HER family (Lapatinib), of the IGF system (NVP-AEW541) or downstream signal transducers (NVP-BEZ235) were investigated in vitro in human rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines as therapeutic anti-tumor and anti-metastatic tools. The major effects were obtained with NVP-BEZ235 treatment that was able to strongly inhibit cell growth in vitro and showed anti-metastatic effects in vivo.




Tesi di dottorato






Ianzano, Marianna Lucia (2011) New molecular approaches to control rhabdomyosarcoma onset and metastasis in preclinical systems, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biotecnologie, farmacologia e tossicologia: progetto n. 1 "Biotecnologie cellulari e molecolari" , 23 Ciclo.