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Mol Carcinog. 2013 May;52(5):377-86. doi: 10.1002/mc.21866. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

Tolfenamic acid inhibits neuroblastoma cell proliferation and induces apoptosis: a novel therapeutic agent for neuroblastoma.

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MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando, Orlando, Florida, USA.


Current therapeutic options for recurrent neuroblastoma have poor outcomes that warrant the development of novel therapeutic strategies. Specificity protein (Sp) transcription factors regulate several genes involved in cell proliferation, survival, and angiogenesis. Sp1 regulates genes believed to be important determinants of the biological behavior of neuroblastoma. Tolfenamic acid (TA), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, is known to induce the degradation of Sp proteins and may serve as a novel anti-cancer agent. The objective of this investigation was to examine the anti-cancer activity of TA using established human neuroblastoma cell lines. We tested the anti-proliferative effect of TA using SH-SY5Y, CHLA90, LA1 55n, SHEP, Be2c, CMP 13Y, and SMS KCNR cell lines. Cells were treated with TA (0/25/50/100 µM) and cell viability was measured at 24, 48, and 72 h post-treatment. Selected neuroblastoma cell lines were treated with 50 µM TA for 24 and 48 h and tested for cell apoptosis using Annexin-V staining. Caspase activity was measured with caspase 3/7 Glo kit. Cell lysates were prepared and the expression of Sp1, survivin, and c-PARP were evaluated through Western blot analysis. TA significantly inhibited the growth of neuroblastoma cells in a dose/time-dependent manner and significantly decreased Sp1 and survivin expression. Apart from cell cycle (G0/G1) arrest, TA caused significant increase in the apoptotic cell population, caspase 3/7 activity, and c-PARP expression. These results show that TA effectively inhibits neuroblastoma cell growth potentially through suppressing mitosis, Sp1, and survivin expression, and inducing apoptosis. These results show TA as a novel therapeutic agent for neuroblastoma.

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