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  • RITA downregulates Hedgehog-GLI in medulloblastoma and rhabdomyosarcoma via JNK-dependent but p53-independent mechanism.

RITA downregulates Hedgehog-GLI in medulloblastoma and rhabdomyosarcoma via JNK-dependent but p53-independent mechanism.

Cancer letters (2018-11-18)
Ani Azatyan, Gabriel Gallo-Oller, Yumei Diao, Galina Selivanova, John Inge Johnsen, Peter G Zaphiropoulos
ABSTRACT

Overactivation of the Hedgehog (HH) signaling pathway is implicated in many cancers. In this study, we demonstrate that the small molecule RITA, a p53 activator, effectively downregulates HH signaling in human medulloblastoma and rhabdomyosarcoma cells irrespective of p53. This is mediated by a ROS-independent activation of the MAP kinase JNK. We also show that in vitro RITA sensitized cells to the GLI antagonist GANT61, as co-administration of the two drugs had more pronounced effects on cell proliferation and apoptosis. In vivo administration of RITA or GANT61 suppressed rhabdomyosarcoma xenograft growth in nude mice; however, co-administration did not further enhance tumor suppression, even though cell proliferation was decreased. RITA was more potent than GANT61 in downregulating HH target gene expression; surprisingly, this suppressive effect was almost completely eliminated when the two drugs were administered together. Notably, RNA-seq demonstrated a broader response of pathways involved in cancer cell growth in the combination treatment, providing a plausible interpretation for tumor reduction in the absence of HH signaling downregulation.