Drugs that inhibit the function of heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) are of interest in the treatment of pediatric cancers because these agents deplete the cellular levels of signaling molecules that are important for the growth and survival of many childhood tumors. To generate preclinical data in anticipation of clinical trials of Hsp90 inhibitors in children, we evaluated the effects of the Hsp90 inhibitor geldanamycin (GA) alone and in combination with cis-platinum (II)-diamine dichloride (cisplatin) in pediatric tumor cells. Immunoblotting demonstrated depletion of the Hsp90 client proteins AKT and the type 1 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF1R) in a panel of pediatric tumor cell lines after exposure to GA. Drug exposure also led to a dramatic decrease in cell survival/proliferation in MYCN-amplified and non-amplified neuroblastoma cells. Moderate inhibition of survival/proliferation was observed in RB-deficient and wild-type osteosarcoma cells. Treatment of neuroblastoma and osteosarcoma cell lines with GA in combination with cisplatin resulted in greater than additive inhibition of survival/proliferation based on median dose analysis. Exposure to this drug combination also resulted in a marked increase in nuclear fragmentation as assessed by terminal deoxynucleotide transferase-mediated UTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) analysis. Combined exposure also abrogated the ability of GA to induce a cytoprotective heat shock response and resulted in Hsp90 adduct formation. Our findings suggest that Hsp90 inhibitors may prove useful either alone or as a component of multi-drug regimens in the treatment of neuroblastoma and osteosarcoma.
- Heat shock protein