Preclinical evaluation of a MYCN-specific inhibitor for the treatment of small cell lung cancer

Bortolotti, Sonia (2023) Preclinical evaluation of a MYCN-specific inhibitor for the treatment of small cell lung cancer, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze biotecnologiche, biocomputazionali, farmaceutiche e farmacologiche, 35 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/10672.
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Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is the most aggressive form of lung cancer, characterized by rapid growth, early metastasis and acquired drug resistance. SCLC is usually sensitive to initial treatment, however, most patients relapse within few months; thus more effective therapies are urgently needed. Key genetic alterations very frequently observed in SCLC include loss of TP53 and RB1 and mutations in the MYC family genes (MYC, MYCL or MYCN). One of them is amplified and overexpressed in a mutually exclusive manner and represents the most prominent activating oncogene alteration in this malignancy. In particular, MYCN amplification is associated with tumor progression, treatment failure and poor prognosis. Given the role of MYCN in SCLC and its restricted expression profile, MYCN represents a promising therapeutic target; although it is considered undruggable by traditional approaches. An innovative approach to target the oncogene concerns specific MYCN expression inhibition, acting directly at the level of DNA, through an antigene peptide nucleic acid (agPNA) oligonucleotide, called BGA002. This thesis focused on the study of BGA002, as a possible targeted therapeutic strategy for the treatment of MYCN-related SCLC. In this context, BGA002 proved to be a specific and highly effective inhibitor. Furthermore, MYCN silencing induced alterations in many downstream pathways and led to apoptosis, in concomitance with autophagy reactivation. Moreover, systemic administration of BGA002 was effective in vivo as well, significantly increasing survival in MNA mouse models, even in the scenario of multidrug-resistance. In addition, BGA002 treatment successfully reduced N-Myc protein expression and, more importantly, caused a massive diminishment in tumor vascularization in the multidrug-resistant model. Overall, these results proved that MYCN inhibition by BGA002 may represent a new promising precision medicine approach, to treat MYCN-related SCLC.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Bortolotti, Sonia
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
SCLC, MYCN, targeted therapy, mTOR
Data di discussione
17 Marzo 2023

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