Roniciclib down-regulates stemness and inhibits cell growth by inducing nucleolar stress in neuroblastoma

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Neuroblastoma, an embryonic tumor arising from neuronal crest progenitor cells, has been shown to contain a population of undifferentiated stem cells responsible for the malignant state and the unfavorable prognosis. Although many previous studies have analyzed neuroblastoma stem cells and their therapeutic targeting, this topic appears still open to novel investigations. Here we found that neurospheres derived from neuroblastoma stem-like cells showed a homogeneous staining for several key nucleolar proteins, such as Nucleolin, Nucleophosmin-1, Glypican-2 and PES-1. We investigated the effects of Roniciclib (BAY 1000394), an anticancer stem cells agent, on neurospheres and on an orthotopic neuroblastoma mouse model, discovering an impressive inhibition of tumor growth and indicating good chances for the use of Roniciclib in vivo. We demonstrated that Roniciclib is not only a Wnt/β-catenin signaling inhibitor, but also a nucleolar stress inducer, revealing a possible novel mechanism underlying Roniciclib-mediated repression of cell proliferation. Furthermore, we found that high expression of Nucleophosmin-1 correlates with patients' short survival. The co-expression of several stem cell surface antigens such as CD44v6 and CD114, together with the nucleolar markers here described, extends new possibilities to isolate undifferentiated subpopulations from neuroblastoma and identify new targets for the treatment of this childhood malignancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12902
JournalSci. Rep.
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 31 2020


  • Animals
  • Biomarkers, Tumor/biosynthesis
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Nucleolus/metabolism
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Down-Regulation/drug effects
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic/drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasm Proteins/biosynthesis
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells/metabolism
  • Neuroblastoma/metabolism
  • Nuclear Proteins/biosynthesis
  • Pyrimidines/pharmacology
  • Sulfoxides/pharmacology
  • Survival Rate


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