Amino acids regulate cisplatin insensitivity in neuroblastoma

Venugopal Gunda, Anup S. Pathania, Srinivas Chava, Philip Prathipati, Nagendra K. Chaturvedi, Don W. Coulter, Manoj K. Pandey, Donald L. Durden, Kishore B. Challagundla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Neuroblastoma are pediatric, extracranial malignancies showing alarming survival prognosis outcomes due to their resilience to current aggressive treatment regimens, including chemotherapies with cisplatin (CDDP) provided in the first line of therapy regimens. Metabolic deregulation supports tumor cell survival in drug-treated conditions. However, metabolic pathways underlying cisplatin-resistance are least studied in neuroblastoma. Our metabolomics analysis revealed that cisplatin-insensitive cells alter their metabolism; especially, the metabolism of amino acids was upregulated in cisplatin-insensitive cells compared to the cisplatin-sensitive neuroblastoma cell line. A significant increase in amino acid levels in cisplatin-insensitive cells led us to hypothesize that the mechanisms upregulating intracellular amino acid pools facilitate insensitivity in neuroblastoma. We hereby report that amino acid depletion reduces cell survival and cisplatin-insensitivity in neuroblastoma cells. Since cells regulate their amino acids levels through processes, such as autophagy, we evaluated the effects of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a terminal autophagy inhibitor, on the survival and amino acid metabolism of cisplatin-insensitive neuroblastoma cells. Our results demonstrate that combining HCQ with CDDP abrogated the amino acid metabolism in cisplatin-insensitive cells and sensitized neuroblastoma cells to sub-lethal doses of cisplatin. Our results suggest that targeting of amino acid replenishing mechanisms could be considered as a potential approach in developing combination therapies for treating neuroblastomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2576
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Amino acids
  • Cisplatin-sensitivity
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • MYCN
  • Metabolism
  • Neuroblastoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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