Pannexin 1 (PANX1) is expressed in many tissue types including tissues of neural origin. Neuroblastoma (NB) is a neural crest-derived malignancy mainly occurring in children. The majority of NB patients present with high-risk disease for which current therapies are ineffective. Here, we show that while PANX1 is expressed in NB of all stages, high PANX1 expression in high-risk NB is associated with a reduced survival probability. PANX1 channel inhibition using probenecid (PBN) or carbenoxolone (CBX) reduced the proliferation of our panel of high-risk NB cell lines. We show that expression of the Y10F PANX1 mutant, which cannot be phosphorylated on tyrosine 10 and acts in a dominant-negative manner,
curtailed NB cell proliferation. Furthermore, PBN and CBX treatment halted the growth of NB spheroids and in some cases triggered the regression of established NB spheroids. Finally, both drugs reduced the progression of high-risk NB in vivo. Together our data indicate that PANX1 channels regulate human NB malignant properties and that the use of PBN or CBX may provide a new therapeutic approach for high-risk NB.
Scientist, CHEO Research Institute