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Sci Transl Med. 2018 May 16;10(441). pii: eaao4680. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aao4680.

Targeted inhibition of histone H3K27 demethylation is effective in high-risk neuroblastoma.

Author information

1
Virginia Commonwealth University Philips Institute, School of Dentistry and Massey Cancer Center, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.
2
Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.
3
Department of Biostatistics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.
4
Division of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Stem Cell Transplantation, Children's Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.
5
AbbVie, 1 North Waukegan Road, North Chicago, IL 60064, USA.
6
Cancer Center, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, Lubbock, TX 79430, USA.
7
Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA. acfaber@vcu.edu cbenes@mgh.harvard.edu.
8
Virginia Commonwealth University Philips Institute, School of Dentistry and Massey Cancer Center, Richmond, VA 23298, USA. acfaber@vcu.edu cbenes@mgh.harvard.edu.

Abstract

High-risk neuroblastoma is often distinguished by amplification of MYCN and loss of differentiation potential. We performed high-throughput drug screening of epigenetic-targeted therapies across a large and diverse tumor cell line panel and uncovered the hypersensitivity of neuroblastoma cells to GSK-J4, a small-molecule dual inhibitor of lysine 27 of histone 3 (H3K27) demethylases ubiquitously transcribed tetratricopeptide repeat, X chromosome (UTX), and histone demethylase Jumonji D3 (JMJD3). Mechanistically, GSK-J4 induced neuroblastoma differentiation and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, with accompanying up-regulation of p53 up-regulated modulator of apoptosis (PUMA) and induction of cell death. Retinoic acid (RA)-resistant neuroblastoma cells were sensitive to GSK-J4. In addition, GSK-J4 was effective at blocking the growth of chemorefractory and patient-derived xenograft models of high-risk neuroblastoma in vivo. Furthermore, GSK-J4 and RA combination increased differentiation and ER stress over GSK-J4 effects and limited the growth of neuroblastomas resistant to either drug alone. In MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma, PUMA induction by GSK-J4 sensitized tumors to the B cell lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) inhibitor venetoclax, demonstrating that epigenetic-targeted therapies and BCL-2 homology domain 3 mimetics can be rationally combined to treat this high-risk subset of neuroblastoma. Therefore, H3K27 demethylation inhibition is a promising therapeutic target to treat high-risk neuroblastoma, and H3K27 demethylation can be part of rational combination therapies to induce robust antineuroblastoma activity.

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