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Accession IconGSE41747

MEK inhibition exhibits efficacy in human and mouse neurofibromatosis tumors, despite transcriptional feedback onto ERK.

Organism Icon Homo sapiens, Mus musculus
Sample Icon 66 Downloadable Samples
Technology Badge Icon Affymetrix Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 Array (hgu133plus2)

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Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) patients develop benign neurofibromas and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST). These incurable peripheral nerve tumors result from loss of NF1 tumor suppressor gene function, causing hyperactive Ras signaling. Activated Ras controls numerous downstream effectors, but specific pathways mediating effects of hyperactive Ras in NF1 tumors are unknown. Cross-species transcriptome analyses of mouse and human neurofibromas and MPNSTs identified global negative feedback of genes that regulate Ras-Raf- MEK- extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) signaling in both species. Nonetheless, activation of ERK was sustained in mouse and human neurofibromas and MPNST. PD0325901, a highly selective pharmacological inhibitor of MEK, was used to test whether sustained Ras-Raf-MEK-ERK signaling contributes to neurofibroma growth in the Nf1fl/fl;Dhh-cre mouse model or in NF1 patient MPNST cell xenografts. PD0325901 treatment reduced aberrantly proliferating cells in neurofibroma and MPNST, prolonged survival of mice implanted with human MPNST cells, and shrank neurofibromas in >80% of mice tested. PD0325901 also caused effects on tumor vasculature. Our data demonstrate that deregulated Ras/ERK signaling is critical for the growth of NF1 peripheral nerve tumors and provide strong rationale for testing MEK inhibitors in NF1 clinical trials.
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