Methylprednisolone (MP) and related corticosteroids are a fundamental part of regimens used to treat lymphoma and leukemia. In many of these malignancies, oncogenic activation of C-MYC and BCL2 is seen. Abnormalities of the tumor suppressor p53, which exerts growth-suppressing and apoptosis- enhancing functions through the transcriptional regulation of downstream genes including CDKN1, GADD45, and BCL2, are also often found. The goal was to determine the modulation of expression of the oncogenes (C-MYC and BCL2), the p53 pathway described above, and the apoptosis marker TGF-β1 in the human Raji lymphoma following MP treatment. Raji xenografts were grown in nude mice and growth curves characterized by sequential measurement. Mice were treated daily for 8 days with MP. Tumors were harvested untreated, or at 1 or 8 days after cessation of MP treatment, and the RNA was extracted. RT- PCR was used to determine the level of mRNA expression of the genes. Tumor growth was greatly reduced in the MP-treated mice. Gene expression levels for C-MYC and BCL2 were reduced at 1 day following MP and approached control levels 8 days after MP treatment. Expression levels of p53, CDKN1, and GADD45 were moderately and coordinately decreased at 1 day after cessation of MP treatment and remained repressed a week later. TGF-β1 exhibited no change in expression levels. These results suggest that decreased expression of C- MYC and BCL2 may play a role in the molecular events that initiate and are responsible for the growth inhibition of Raji lymphoma xenografts by MP.
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