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Didymin Induces Apoptosis by Inhibiting N-Myc and up regulating RKIP in Neuroblastoma

Jyotsana Singhal, Lokesh Dalasanur Nagaprashantha, Rit Vatsyayan, Ashutosh, Sanjay Awasthi, and Sharad S. Singhal
Cancer Prev Res June 2011 4:879-889
Neuroblastomas arise from the neural crest cells and represent the most common solid tumors outside the nervous system in children. The amplification of N-Myc plays a primary role in the pathogenesis of neuroblastomas whereas acquired mutations of p53 lead to refractory and relapsed cases of neuroblastomas. In this regard, dietary compounds which can target N-Myc and exert anti-cancer effects independent of p53 status acquire significance in the management of neuroblastomas. Hence, we investigated the anti-cancer properties of the flavonoid didymin in neuroblastomas. Didymin effectively inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis irrespective of p53 status in neuroblastomas. Didymin down regulated PI3K, pAkt, Akt, vimentin and up regulated RKIP levels. Didymin induced G2/M arrest along with decreasing the levels of cyclin D1, CDK4 and cyclin B1. Importantly, didymin inhibited N-Myc as confirmed at protein, mRNA and transcriptional level by promoter-reporter assays. HPLC analysis of didymin (2 mg/kg b.w.) treated mice serum revealed effective oral absorption with free didymin concentration of 2.1 µM. Further in vivo mice xenograft studies revealed that didymin (2 mg/kg b.w.) treated animals had significant reductions in tumors size compared to controls. Didymin strongly inhibited the proliferation (Ki67) and angiogenesis (CD31) markers as well as N-Myc expression as revealed by the histopathological examination of paraffin embedded section of resected tumors. Collectively, our in vitro and in vivo studies elucidated the anti-cancer properties and mechanisms of action of a novel, orally active and palatable flavonoid didymin which makes it a potential new approach for neuroblastoma therapy (NANT) to target pediatric neuroblastomas.