Redundancy of autocrine loops in human rhabdomyosarcoma cells: Induction of differentiation by suramin

C. De Giovanni, C. Melani, P. Nanni, L. Landuzzi, G. Nicoletti, F. Frabetti, C. Griffoni, M. P. Colombo, P. L. Lollini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three human rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines were used to investigate the presence of autocrine loops based on the production of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-II, basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and epidermal growth factor (EGF)/transforming growth factor (TGF)-α and of their corresponding receptors, and whether these loops affect cell proliferation and myogenic differentiation. Two cell lines, RD/18 and CCA, deriving from tumours of the embryonal histotype, showed the presence of both growth factors and receptors which make possible three different autocrine loops, while the alveolar RMZ-RC2 cell line lacked that based on the EGF receptor. Culture of rhabdomyosarcoma cells in the presence of specific blocking antibodies, directed to a component of single autocrine loops, inhibited cell proliferation (up to 50%), without inducing myogenic differentiation. Suramin, a drug which non-selectively interferes with the binding of growth factors to their cellular receptors, was used to block all the autocrine loops simultaneously. In CCA and RMZ-RC2 cells suramin was able to induce a significant increase (up to 3-fold) in the proportion of myosin positive cells over control cultures. Therefore rhabdomyosarcoma cells of embryonal and alveolar histotype can show a redundancy of growth-sustaining autocrine loops. Suramin could interfere with them by acting on both growth inhibition and induction of myogenic differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1224-1229
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • Autocrine loops
  • Differentiation
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma
  • Suramin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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