The MYCN oncoprotein has been notoriously undruggable and is infamous for causing aggressive cancer with poor outcomes in children and adults. Following surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, patients who develop progressive disease have few treatment options. An analysis of the dysregulated protein network caused by MYCN amplification suggested co-targeting PLK1, AURKA, CKS1, AKT, MTOR, and USP7 would be useful to take advantage of synthetic lethal vulnerabilities while overcoming redundancies and resistance mechanisms that stabilize N-Myc by preventing its proteasome degradation. Naturopathic compounds, (genistein, tanshinone, resveratrol, betulinic acid) and fluoxetine were re-purposed to target the complex protein network in a patient with MYCN-amplified and PTEN-deficient multifocal, relapsed anaplastic ependymoma following standard therapy. The patient achieved a clinically meaningful and durable response for 6 months prior to developing disease progression characterized by chromosome 11q (YAP1, BIRC2/3) amplification. The experience suggests molecularly-informed integration of naturopathic compounds can have utility for disease control and survival. The success, although anecdotal, suggests that the previous failure of single agent strategies could be overcome with a network targeting approach that simultaneously precipitates cell cycle arrest, rescues FBXW7 ubiquitination, and enhances oxidative stress. As such, MYCN may no longer be strictly unactionable but appears amenable to co-targeting key nodes in its self-sustaining disease network.
Anaplastic ependymoma, MYCN, PLK1, AURKA, AKT, MTOR, FBXW7, USP7, miR-34a, Signaling pathway, Network targeting, Synthetic lethality, Integrative oncology