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Neoplasia. 2009 Aug;11(8):753-62.

Mdm2 deficiency suppresses MYCN-Driven neuroblastoma tumorigenesis in vivo.

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Texas Children's Cancer Center and Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Neuroblastoma is derived from neural crest precursor components of the peripheral sympathetic nervous system and accounts for more than 15% of all pediatric cancer deaths. A clearer understanding of the molecular basis of neuroblastoma is required for novel therapeutic approaches to improve morbidity and mortality. Neuroblastoma is uniformly p53 wild type at diagnosis and must overcome p53-mediated tumor suppression during pathogenesis. Amplification of the MYCN oncogene correlates with the most clinically aggressive form of the cancer, and MDM2, a primary inhibitor of the p53 tumor suppressor, is a direct transcriptional target of, and positively regulated by, both MYCN and MYCC. We hypothesize that MDM2 contributes to MYCN-driven tumorigenesis helping to ameliorate p53-dependent apoptotic oncogenic stress during tumor initiation and progression. To study the interaction of MYCN and MDM2, we generated an Mdm2 haploinsufficient transgenic animal model of neuroblastoma. In Mdm2(+/-)MYCN transgenics, tumor latency and animal survival are remarkably extended, whereas tumor incidence and growth are reduced. Analysis of the Mdm2/p53 pathway reveals remarkable p53 stabilization counter-balanced by epigenetic silencing of the p19(Arf) gene in the Mdm2 haploinsufficient tumors. In human neuroblastoma xenograft models, conditional small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of MDM2 in cells expressing wild-type p53 dramatically suppresses tumor growth in a p53-dependent manner. In summary, we provided evidence for a crucial role for direct inhibition of p53 by MDM2 and suppression of the p19(ARF)/p53 axis in neuroblastoma tumorigenesis, supporting the development of therapies targeting these pathways.

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