ERK Inhibitor Ulixertinib Inhibits High-Risk Neuroblastoma Growth In Vitro and In Vivo. Academic Article uri icon


  • Neuroblastoma (NB) is a pediatric tumor of the peripheral nervous system. Approximately 80% of relapsed NB show RAS-MAPK pathway mutations that activate ERK, resulting in the promotion of cell proliferation and drug resistance. Ulixertinib, a first-in-class ERK-specific inhibitor, has shown promising antitumor activity in phase 1 clinical trials for advanced solid tumors. Here, we show that ulixertinib significantly and dose-dependently inhibits cell proliferation and colony formation in different NB cell lines, including PDX cells. Transcriptomic analysis revealed that ulixertinib extensively inhibits different oncogenic and neuronal developmental pathways, including EGFR, VEGF, WNT, MAPK, NGF, and NTRK1. The proteomic analysis further revealed that ulixertinib inhibits the cell cycle and promotes apoptosis in NB cells. Additionally, ulixertinib treatment significantly sensitized NB cells to the conventional chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin. Furthermore, ulixertinib potently inhibited NB tumor growth and prolonged the overall survival of the treated mice in two different NB mice models. Our preclinical study demonstrates that ulixertinib, either as a single agent or in combination with current therapies, is a novel and practical therapeutic approach for NB.

published proceedings

  • Cancers (Basel)

altmetric score

  • 2

author list (cited authors)

  • Yu, Y., Zhao, Y., Choi, J., Shi, Z., Guo, L., Elizarraras, J., ... Yang, J.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Yu, Yang||Zhao, Yanling||Choi, Jongmin||Shi, Zhongcheng||Guo, Linjie||Elizarraras, John||Gu, Andy||Cheng, Feng||Pei, Yanxin||Lu, Dai||Fabbri, Muller||Agarwal, Saurabh||Zhang, Chunchao||Jung, Sung Yun||Foster, Jennifer H||Yang, Jianhua

publication date

  • November 2022