The navigation cue netrin-1 is well-documented for its key role in cancer development and represents a promising therapeutic target currently under clinical investigation. Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials are ongoing with NP137, a humanized monoclonal antibody against netrin-1. Interestingly, the epitope recognized by NP137 in netrin-1 shares 90% homology with its counterpart in netrin-3, the closest member to netrin-1 in humans, for which little is known in the field of cancer. Here, we unveiled that netrin-3 appears to be expressed specifically in human neuroblastoma (NB) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC), two subtypes of neuroectodermal/neuroendocrine lineages. Netrin-3 and netrin-1 expression are mutually exclusive, and the former is driven by the MYCN oncogene in NB, and the ASCL-1 or NeuroD1 transcription factors in SCLC. Netrin-3 expression is correlated with disease stage, aggressiveness, and overall survival in NB. Mechanistically, we confirmed the high affinity of netrin-3 for netrin-1 receptors and we demonstrated that netrin-3 genetic silencing or interference using NP137, delayed tumor engraftment, and reduced tumor growth in animal models. Altogether, these data support the targeting of netrin-3 in NB and SCLC.
Targeting netrin-3 in small cell lung cancer and neuroblastoma
Publié le 09/04/2021