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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jan 4;108(1):319-24. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0913297108. Epub 2010 Dec 20.

Therapeutically targeting cyclin D1 in primary tumors arising from loss of Ini1.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


Rhabdoid tumors (RTs) are rare, highly aggressive pediatric malignancies with poor prognosis and with no standard or effective treatment strategies. RTs are characterized by biallelic inactivation of the INI1 tumor suppressor gene. INI1 directly represses CCND1 and activates cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) inhibitors p16(Ink4a) and p21(CIP). RTs are exquisitely dependent on cyclin D1 for genesis and survival. To facilitate translation of unique therapeutic strategies, we have used genetically engineered, Ini1(+/-) mice for therapeutic testing. We found that PET can be used to noninvasively and accurately detect primary tumors in Ini1(+/-) mice. In a PET-guided longitudinal study, we found that treating Ini1(+/-) mice bearing primary tumors with the pan-cdk inhibitor flavopiridol resulted in complete and stable regression of some tumors. Other tumors showed resistance to flavopiridol, and one of the resistant tumors overexpressed cyclin D1, more than flavopiridol-sensitive cells. The concentration of flavopiridol used was not sufficient to down-modulate the high level of cyclin D1 and failed to induce cell death in the resistant cells. Furthermore, FISH and PCR analyses indicated that there is aneuploidy and increased CCND1 copy number in resistant cells. These studies indicate that resistance to flavopiridol may be correlated to elevated cyclin D1 levels. Our studies also indicate that Ini1(+/-) mice are valuable tools for testing unique therapeutic strategies and for understanding mechanisms of drug resistance in tumors that arise owing to loss of Ini1, which is essential for developing effective treatment strategies against these aggressive tumors.

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