We have previously demonstrated the role of gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) as an autocrine growth factor for neuroblastoma. Here, we report that GRP silencing regulates cell signaling involved in the invasion-metastasis cascade. Using a doxycycline inducible system, we demonstrate that GRP silencing decreased anchorage-independent growth, inhibited migration and neuroblastoma cell-mediated angiogenesis in vitro, and suppressed metastasis in vivo. Targeted inhibition of GRP decreased the mRNA levels of oncogenes responsible for neuroblastoma progression. We also identified PTEN/AKT signaling as a key mediator of the tumorigenic properties of GRP in neuroblastoma cells. Interestingly, PTEN overexpression decreased GRP-mediated migration and angiogenesis; a novel role for this, otherwise, understated tumor suppressor in neuroblastoma. Furthermore, activation of AKT (pAKT) positively correlated with neuroblastoma progression in an in vivo tumor-metastasis model. PTEN expression was slightly decreased in metastatic lesions. A similar phenomenon was observed in human neuroblastoma sections, where, early-stage localized tumors had a higher PTEN expression relative to pAKT; however, an inverse expression pattern was observed in liver lesions. Taken together, our results argue for a dual purpose of targeting GRP in neuroblastoma -1) decreasing expression of critical oncogenes involved in tumor progression, and 2) enhancing activation of tumor suppressor genes to treat aggressive, advanced-stage disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)