Involvement of A 3 Adenosine Receptor in Neuroblastoma Progression via Modulation of the Hypoxic/Angiogenic Pathway

Grazia Maugeri, Agata Grazia D'Amico, Concetta Federico, Salvatore Saccone, Salvatore Giunta, Sebastiano Cavallaro, Velia D'Agata

J Mol Neurosci. 2019 Sep;69(1):166-176.

PMID: 31166001


Neuroblastoma (NB) is the most common extracranial solid tumor of childhood. The clinical course may range from spontaneous regression towards ganglioneuroblastoma/ganglioneuroma or maturation to a very aggressive form characterized by an extensive hypoxic area. In solid tumors, extracellular microenvironment hypoxia induces the transcription of hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) leading to synthesis of pro-angiogenic factor, VEGF; also, it increases extracellular adenosine production from ATP breakdown. To date, the role of this nucleoside in the hypoxic/angiogenic pathway characterizing the core of cancer mass has not been investigated yet. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to analyze the adenosine effect on modulation of the HIF-1α/2α/VEGF pathway mediated through A3 AR binding. To this end, we have used a selective A3 AR agonist IB-MECA or antagonist VUF 5574 in an in vitro model of malignant undifferentiated and all-trans retinoic acid (RA)-differentiated SH-SY5Y cells, representing the benign form of NB. Our results have shown that specific A3 AR stimulation induces HIF and VEGF expression through the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase/Erk kinase signaling cascade. In conclusion, the data suggest that A3 AR may represent a marker of NB malignancy as well as a drug target for treatment of this solid tumor. Graphical Abstract.

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