Small molecule selected to disrupt oncogenic protein EWS-FLI1 interaction with RNA Helicase A inhibits Ewing's Sarcoma

Georgetown University, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Oncology, Washington, DC, USA.
Nature medicine (Impact Factor: 28.05). 08/2009; 15(7):750-6. DOI: 10.1038/nm.1983
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Many sarcomas and leukemias carry nonrandom chromosomal translocations encoding tumor-specific mutant fusion transcription factors that are essential to their molecular pathogenesis. Ewing's sarcoma family tumors (ESFTs) contain a characteristic t(11;22) translocation leading to expression of the oncogenic fusion protein EWS-FLI1. EWS-FLI1 is a disordered protein that precludes standard structure-based small-molecule inhibitor design. EWS-FLI1 binding to RNA helicase A (RHA) is important for its oncogenic function. We therefore used surface plasmon resonance screening to identify compounds that bind EWS-FLI1 and might block its interaction with RHA. YK-4-279, a derivative of the lead compound from the screen, blocks RHA binding to EWS-FLI1, induces apoptosis in ESFT cells and reduces the growth of ESFT orthotopic xenografts. These findings provide proof of principle that inhibiting the interaction of mutant cancer-specific transcription factors with the normal cellular binding partners required for their oncogenic activity provides a promising strategy for the development of uniquely effective, tumor-specific anticancer agents.

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    ABSTRACT: Developmental reprogramming techniques have been used to generate induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from both normal and malignant cells. The derivation of iPS cells from cancer has the potential to provide a unique scientific tool to overcome challenges associated with the establishment of cell lines from primary patient samples and a readily expandable source of cells that may be used to model the initial disease. In the current study we developmentally reprogrammed a metastatic Ewing sarcoma (EWS) cell line to a meta-stable embryonic stem (ES)-like state sharing molecular and phenotypic features with previously established ES and iPS cell lines. EWS-iPS cells exhibited a pronounced drug resistant phenotype despite persistent expression of the oncogenic EWS-FLI1 fusion transcript. This included resistance to compounds that specifically target downstream effector pathways of EWS-FLI1, such as MAPK/ERK and PI3K/AKT, which play an important role in EWS pathogenesis. EWS-iPS cells displayed tumor initiation abilities in vivo and formed tumors exhibiting characteristic Ewing histopathology. In parallel, EWS-iPS cells re-differentiated in vitro recovered sensitivity to molecularly targeted chemotherapeutic agents, which reiterated pathophysiological features of the cells from which they were derived. These data suggest that EWS-iPS cells may provide an expandable disease model that could be used to investigate processes modulating oncogenesis, metastasis, and chemotherapeutic resistance in EWS.
    Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology 03/2015; 1(3). DOI:10.3389/fcell.2015.00015

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