alexa Type I and II IFNs inhibit Merkel cell carcinoma via modulation of the Merkel cell polyomavirus T antigens.


Journal of Clinical & Experimental Dermatology Research

Author(s): Willmes C, Adam C, Vlkert, Houben R, Becker JC

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Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare and highly aggressive skin cancer associated with the Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV). As MCC cell lines show oncogene addiction to the MCV T antigens, pharmacologic interference of the large T antigen (LTA) may represent an effective therapeutic approach for this deadly cancer. In this study, we investigated the effects of IFNs on MCC cell lines, especially on MCV-positive (MCV(+)) lines. Type I IFNs (i.e., Multiferon, a mix of different IFN-α subtypes, and IFN-β) strongly inhibited the cellular viability. Cell-cycle analysis showed increased sub-G fractions for these cells upon IFN treatment indicating apoptotic cell death; these effects were less pronounced for IFN-γ. Notably, this inhibitory effect of type I IFNs on MCV(+) MCC cell lines was associated with a reduced expression of the MCV LTA as well as an increased expression of promyelocytic leukemia (PML) protein, which is known to interfere with the function of the LTA. In addition, the intratumoral application of Multiferon resulted in a regression of MCV(+) but not MCV(-) MCCs in vivo. Together, our findings show that type I IFNs have a strong antitumor effect, which is at least in part explained by modulation of the virally encoded LTA. PMID: 22389452 DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-11-2651

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This article was published in Cancer Res and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Dermatology Research

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