*(A M B Abiuso and M L Varela contributed equally to this work)
‡(M L Varela is now at Departments of Neurosurgery and Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan School of Medicine, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)
Recent reports indicate an increase in Leydig cell tumor (LCT) incidence. Radical orchiectomy is the standard therapy in children and adults, although it entails physical and psychosocial side effects. Testis-sparing surgery can be a consideration for benign LCT of 2.5 cm or less in size. Malignant LCTs respond poorly to conventional chemotherapy, so new treatment modalities are needed. In this study, we observed increased histidine decarboxylase expression and pro-angiogenic potential in LCT surgically resected from pediatric patients (fetal to pubertal) vs control samples from patients without endocrine or metabolic disorders which were collected at necropsy. We, therefore, evaluated for the first time the antitumor efficacy of two histidine decarboxylase inhibitors (α-methyl-dl-histidine dihydrochloride (α-MHD) and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)), alone and combined with carboplatin, in two preclinical models of LCT. MA-10 and R2C Leydig tumor cells, representing two different LCT subtypes, were used to generate syngeneic and xenograft mouse LCT models, respectively. In the syngeneic model, monotherapy with α-MHD effectively reduced tumor growth and angiogenesis. In the xenografts, which showed co-expression of histidine decarboxylase and CYP19, the combination of EGCG plus carboplatin was the most effective therapy, leading to LCT growth arrest and undetectable levels of plasmatic estradiol. Testicular and body weights remained unaltered. On the basis of this study, histidine decarboxylase may emerge as a novel pharmacological target for LCT treatment.
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