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Repurposing a psychoactive drug for children with cancer: inhibition of metastatic neuroblastomas by Prozac

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Repurposing a psychoactive drug for children with cancer: p27Kip1-dependent inhibition of metastatic neuroblastomas by Prozac

The MYC family of transcription factors is a major driver of human cancer and potential therapeutic target. However, no clinically viable drugs have been yet developed that are able to directly tackle MYC oncoproteins. In our laboratory, we are exploring alternative approaches aiming to disturb signalling downstream of MYC. MYCN is frequently activated in neuroblastoma, a paediatric solid malignancy that, in its metastatic form, has a very poor prognosis. An important pathway regulated by MYC is the CKS1/SKP2/p27kip1 axis. In this study, we have repurposed the anti-psychotic drug Prozac to disrupt CKS1/SKP2/p27Kip1 signalling and assess its potential as an anti-neuroblastoma agent in vitro and in vivo. Using DNA editing technology, we show that stabilisation of p27Kip1 operated by Prozac in MYC-activated cells is essential for the anti-neuroblastoma activity of the drug. Furthermore, dosing mice with a concentration of Prozac equivalent to that used in long-term clinical trials in children with psychiatric disorders caused a significant reduction of metastatic disease in two models of high-risk neuroblastoma. The favourable toxicity profile of Prozac suggests that long-term treatments might be implemented in children with MYC/CKS1high neuroblastomas.