Marco Mazzoletti

Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Milano, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (10)57.95 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Targeting Chk1 protein kinase can enhance the antitumor effects of radio- and chemotherapy. Recent evidence disclosed a role of Chk1 in unperturbed cell proliferation and survival, implying that Chk1 inhibitors could also be effective as single agents in tumors with a specific genetic background. To identify genes in synthetic lethality with Chk1, we did a high-throughput screening using a siRNA library directed against 719 human protein kinases in the human ovarian cancer cell line OVCAR-5, resistant to Chk1 inhibitors. Wee1 tyrosine kinase was the most significant gene in synthetic lethality with Chk1. Treatment with non-toxic concentrations of a Chk1 inhibitor (PF-00477736) and a Wee1 inhibitor (MK-1775) confirmed the marked synergistic effect in various human cancer cell lines (breast, ovarian, colon, prostate), independently of the p53 status. Detailed molecular analysis showed that the combination caused cancer cells to undergo premature mitosis before the end of DNA replication, with damaged DNA leading to cell death partly by apoptosis. In vivo treatment of mice bearing OVCAR-5 xenografts with the combination of Chk1 and Wee1 inhibitors led to greater tumor growth inhibition than with the inhibitors used as single agents with no toxicity. These data provide a strong rationale for the clinical investigation of the combination of a Chk1 and a Wee1 inhibitor.
    Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.) 07/2012; 11(13):2507-17. · 5.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies showed that food-contaminant non-dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (NDL-PCBs) congeners (PCB52, PCB138, PCB180) have neurotoxic potential, but the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neuronal damage are not entirely known. The aim of this study was to assess whether in-vitro exposure to NDL-PCBs may alter the proteome profile of primary cerebellar neurons in order to expand our knowledge on NDL-PCBs neurotoxicity. Comparison of proteome from unexposed and exposed rat cerebellar neurons was performed using state-of-the-art label-free semi-quantitative mass-spectrometry method. We observed significant changes in the abundance of several proteins, that fall into two main classes: (i) novel targets for both PCB138 and 180, mediating the dysregulation of CREB pathways and ubiquitin-proteasome system; (ii) different congeners-specific targets (alpha-actinin-1 for PCB138; microtubule-associated-protein-2 for PCB180) that might lead to similar deleterious consequences on neurons cytoskeleton organization. Interference of the PCB congeners with synaptic formation was supported by the increased expression of pre- and post-synaptic proteins quantified by western blot and immunocytochemistry. Expression alteration of synaptic markers was confirmed in the cerebellum of rats developmentally exposed to these congeners, suggesting an adaptive response to neurodevelopmental toxicity on brain structures. As such, our work is expected to lead to new insights into the mechanisms of NDL-PCBs neurotoxicity.
    Journal of proteomics 02/2012; 75(8):2417-30. · 5.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt/mTOR pathway is a major target for cancer therapy. As a strategy to induce the maximal inhibition of this pathway in cancer cells, we combined allosteric mTOR inhibitors (rapamycin and RAD001) with a dual PI3K/mTOR kinase inhibitor (PI-103). Both in vitro and in vivo, the combination exhibited more activity than single agents in human ovarian and prostate cancer cells that harbor alterations in the pathway. At the molecular level, combined inhibition of mTOR prevented the rebound activation of Akt that is seen after treatment with rapamycin and its analogues and caused more sustained inhibition of Akt phosphorylation. Furthermore, the combination strongly inhibited the expression of PI3K/Akt/mTOR downstream proteins. In particular, it showed greater activity than the single agents in inhibiting the phosphorylation of 4EBP1, both in vitro and in vivo, resulting in selective inhibition of CAP-dependent translation. A proteomic approach was used to confirm the identification of c-Myc as the key regulator for the reduction in downstream proteins affected by the combined inhibition of mTOR. In conclusion, the combination of a catalytic and an allosteric inhibitor of mTOR shows greater activity, without a concomitant increase in toxicity, than either drug alone, and this may have therapeutic implications for inhibiting this pathway in the clinical setting.
    Cancer Research 05/2011; 71(13):4573-84. · 8.65 Impact Factor
  • M Mazzoletti, M Broggini
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    ABSTRACT: Phisiological activation of PI3K pathway is necessary for cells to regulate many different physiological processes such as transcription, protein synthesis, metabolic responses and membrane trafficking. Abnormal activation of the PI3K pathway leads to an increased activity resulting in tumor onset, maintenance, progression and invasion. Both genetic and epigenetic alterations could affect the normal pathway's activation. Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynaecological malignancies in the western world. PI3K pathway has been recorded as one of the most deregulated signalling pathway in many tumors, including ovarian ones. So it could be considered an attractive target to be investigated with the various classes of chemical compounds already present or in development. In this rewiew we'll try to discuss the published data of the inhibitors targeting members of the PI3K/ akt/ mTOR pathway in the ovarian cancer setting from a preclinical and clinical point of view, with particular emphasis on drugs combination and strategies of administration. Relevant issues and limitations to the use of particular compounds will be also addressed.
    Current Medicinal Chemistry 11/2010; 17(36):4433-47. · 3.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Some naturally occurring flavonols, exemplified by quercetin, seem to possess experimental cancer chemopreventive efficacy. Modulation of p53 is a mechanism thought to contribute to their activity. The hypothesis was tested that a synthetic flavonol, 3',4',5'-trimethoxyflavonol (TMFol), can interfere with tumor development and p53 expression in two models of colorectal carcinogenesis, Apc(Min) mice and human-derived HCT116 adenocarcinoma-bearing nude mice. Mice received TMFol with their diet (0.2%) from weaning to week 16 in the case of Apc(Min) or from either day 7 before ("TMFol early") or day 7 after ("TMFol late") tumor inoculation in HCT116 mice. The ability of TMFol to affect tumor proliferation or apoptosis, as reflected by staining for Ki-67 or cleaved caspase-3, respectively, was studied in HCT116 tumors. TMFol tumor levels were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography. Consumption of TMFol reduced small intestinal adenoma burden in Apc(Min) mice by 47%, compared with control mice (P < 0.002). The TMFol early regimen approximately halved HCT116 tumor size (P < 0.05), decreased tumor proliferation, and increased apoptosis, whereas the TMFol late regimen had no significant effect when compared with controls. In tumor tissues from mice, in which TMFol reduced tumor development, p53 expression was increased 3-fold in Apc(Min) and 1.5-fold in HCT116 tumor-bearing mice (P = 0.02). TMFol increased p53 also in cells derived from these tumors. TMFol was detected in HCT116 tumors, but levels did not correlate with tumor burden. TMFol was not mutagenic in the Ames test. The results suggest that chemical modification of the flavonol structure may generate safe and efficacious cancer chemopreventive agents.
    Cancer Prevention Research 08/2010; 3(8):929-39. · 4.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Owing to its role in cancer, the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway is an attractive target for therapeutic intervention. We previously reported that the inhibition of Akt by inositol 1,3,4,5,6-pentakisphosphate (InsP(5)) results in anti-tumour properties. To further develop this compound we modified its structure to obtain more potent inhibitors of the PI3K/Akt pathway. Cell proliferation/survival was determined by cell counting, sulphorhodamine or acridine orange/ethidium bromide assay; Akt activation was determined by western blot analysis. In vivo effect of compounds was tested on PC3 xenografts, whereas in vitro activity on kinases was determined by SelectScreen Kinase Profiling Service. The derivative 2-O-benzyl-myo-inositol 1,3,4,5,6-pentakisphosphate (2-O-Bn-InsP(5)) is active towards cancer types resistant to InsP(5) in vitro and in vivo. 2-O-Bn-InsP(5) possesses higher pro-apoptotic activity than InsP(5) in sensitive cells and enhances the effect of anti-cancer compounds. 2-O-Bn-InsP(5) specifically inhibits 3-phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase 1 (PDK1) in vitro (IC(50) in the low nanomolar range) and the PDK1-dependent phosphorylation of Akt in cell lines and excised tumours. It is interesting to note that 2-O-Bn-InsP(5) also inhibits the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in vitro. InsP(5) and 2-O-Bn-InsP(5) may represent lead compounds to develop novel inhibitors of the PI3K/Akt pathway (including potential dual PDK1/mTOR inhibitors) and novel potential anti-cancer drugs.
    British Journal of Cancer 01/2010; 102(1):104-14. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cell motility and invasion play an essential role in the development of metastasis. Evidence suggests that the enzyme phospholipase Cgamma1 (PLCgamma1) may be involved in tumor progression and possibly development of metastasis. In this study, we show that down-regulation of PLCgamma1 expression severely impairs activation of the small GTP-binding protein Rac and cell invasion in breast cancer cell lines and U87 in vitro. Experimental metastasis assays in nude mice show that inducible knockdown of PLCgamma1 strongly inhibits development of MDA-MB-231-derived lung metastasis and reverts metastasis formation. In addition, analysis of 60 breast cancer patients' tissues revealed an increase of PLCgamma1 expression in metastasis compared with the primary tumor in 50% of tissues analyzed. These data show a critical role of PLCgamma1 in the metastatic potential of cancer cells, and they further indicate that PLCgamma1 inhibition has a therapeutic potential in the treatment of metastasis dissemination.
    Cancer Research 01/2009; 68(24):10187-96. · 8.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Regulation of the p73 gene is complex due to the presence of two promoters and the very complex mRNA maturation in both the N-terminal and C-terminal parts of the protein. We have found an additional regulation mechanism for the p73-alpha form that occurs through proteolytic cleavage connected to the activity of the serine protease HtrA2. Following apoptotic stimuli, HtrA2 accumulates in the nucleus and cleaves p73alpha in the C-terminal portion, enabling the protein to increase its transactivation activity on the apoptotic gene bax but not on the cell-cycle regulator gene p21. In the presence of HtrA2, p73 is more prone to cause caspase activation and nuclei fragmentation: p73 needs HtrA2 to activate and enhance its apoptotic functions. This new relation between p73 and HtrA2 may help to understand the different behavior of the p73 protein in cell physiology and in the responses of cancer cells to chemotherapy.
    Cell Death and Differentiation 06/2008; 15(5):849-58. · 8.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cell motility and invasion play an essential role in the development of metastasis. Evidence suggests that the enzyme phospholipase C;1 (PLC;1) may be involved in tumor progression and possibly development of metastasis. In this study, we show that down-regulation of PLC;1 expression severely impairs activation of the small GTP-binding protein Rac and cell invasion in breast cancer cell lines and U87 in vitro. Experimental metastasis assays in nude mice show that inducible knockdown of PLC;1 strongly inhibits deve-lopment of MDA-MB-231–derived lung metastasis and reverts metastasis formation. In addition, analysis of 60 breast cancer patients' tissues revealed an increase of PLC;1 expression in metastasis compared with the primary tumor in 50% of tissues analyzed. These data show a critical role of PLC;1 in the metastatic potential of cancer cells, and they further indicate that PLC;1 inhibition has a therapeutic potential in the treatment of metastasis dissemination.
    Cancer Res. 01/2008; 68:10187-96.
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    ABSTRACT: Tumour-derived p53 mutants are thought to have acquired 'gain-of-function' properties that contribute to oncogenicity. We have tested the hypothesis that p53 mutants suppress p53-target gene expression, leading to enhanced cellular growth. Silencing of mutant p53 expression in several human cell lines was found to lead to the upregulation of wild-type p53-target genes such as p21, gadd45, PERP and PTEN. The expression of these genes was also suppressed in H1299-based isogenic cell lines expressing various hot-spot p53 mutants, and silencing of mutant p53, but not TAp73, abrogated the suppression. Consistently, these hot-spot p53 mutants were able to suppress a variety of p53-target gene promoters. Analysis using the proto-type p21 promoter construct indicated that the p53-binding sites are dispensable for mutant p53-mediated suppression. However, treatment with the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin-A resulted in relief of mutant p53-mediated suppression, suggesting that mutant p53 may induce hypo-acetylation of target gene promoters leading to the suppressive effects. Finally, we show that stable down-regulation of mutant p53 expression resulted in reduced cellular colony growth in human cancer cells, which was found to be due to the induction of apoptosis. Together, the results demonstrate another mechanism through which p53 mutants could promote cellular growth.
    Nucleic Acids Research 02/2007; 35(6):2093-104. · 8.28 Impact Factor