E-3-(4'-Hydroxy-3'-adamantylbiphenyl-4-yl)acrylic acid (ST1926) is a novel orally available compound belonging to the class of synthetic atypical retinoids. These agents are attracting growing attention because of their unique mechanism of antitumor action that appears different from that of classical retinoic acid. This study aims at investigating the antitumor activity of ST1926 in neuroblastoma (NB) preclinical models. In vitro, ST1926 was more cytotoxic than both its prototype, CD437 and all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) and it was active in the SK-N-AS cell line, which is refractory to ATRA. We showed that unlike ATRA, ST1926 does not induce morphological differentiation in NB cells where it produces indirect DNA damage, cell cycle arrest in late S-G2 phases and p53-independent programmed cell death. DNA damage was not mediated by oxidative stress and was repaired by 24 h after drug removal. The SK-N-DZ cell line appeared the most sensitive to the proapoptotic activity of ST1926, probably because both the extrinsic and intrinsic pathways appear involved in the process. Studies with Z-VAD-FMK, suggested that ST1926 might also mediate caspase-independent apoptosis in NB cells. In vivo, orally administered ST1926, appeared to inhibit tumor growth of NB xenografts with tolerable toxicity. Overall, our results support the view that ST1926 might represent a good drug candidate in this pediatric tumor. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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