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Destabilization of MYC/MYCN by the mitochondrial inhibitors, metaiodobenzylguanidine, metformin and phenformin

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In the present study, we investigated the anticancer effects of the mitochondrial inhibitors, metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG), metformin and phenformin. 131I-MIBG has been used for scintigraphic detection and the targeted radiotherapy of neuroblastoma (NB), a pediatric malignancy. Non-radiolabeled MIBG has been reported to be cytotoxic to NB cells in vitro and in vivo. However, the mechanisms behind its growth suppressive effects have not yet been fully elucidated. Metformin and phenformin are diabetes medications that are being considered in anticancer therapeutics. We investigated the anticancer mechanisms of action of MIBG and metformin in NB. Our data revealed that both drugs suppressed NB cell growth and that the combination drug treatment was more potent. MIBG reduced MYCN and MYC expression in MYCN-amplified and non-MYCN-amplified NB cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Metformin was less effective than MIBG in destabilizing MYC/MYCN. The treatment of NB cells with metformin or MIBG resulted in an increased expression of genes encoding biomarkers for favorable outcome in NB [(ephrin (EFN)B2, EFNB3, EPH receptor B6 (EPHB6), neurotrophic tyrosine kinase, receptor, type 1 (NTRK1), CD44 and Myc-interacting zinc finger protein (MIZ-1)] and tumor suppressor genes [(early growth response 1 (EGR1), EPH receptor A2 (EPHA2), growth arrest and DNA-damage-inducible, beta (GADD45B), neuregulin 1 (NRG1), TP53 apoptosis effector (PERP) and sel-1 suppressor of lin-12-like (C. elegans) (SEL1L)]. Accordingly, metformin and MIBG augmented histone H3 acetylation in these cells. Phenformin also exhibited histone modification and was more effective than metformin in destabilizing MYC/MYCN in NB cells. Our data suggest that the destabilization of MYC/MYCN by MIBG, metformin and phenformin and their effects on histone modification are important mechanisms underlying their anticancer effects.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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