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Anti-GD2 induced allodynia in rats can be reduced by pretreatment with DFMO



Anti-GD2 therapy with dinutuximab is effective in improving the survival of high-risk neuroblastoma patients in remission and after relapse. However, allodynia is the major dose-limiting side effect, hindering its use for neuroblastoma patients at higher doses and for other GD2-expressing malignancies. As polyamines can enhance neuronal sensitization, including development of allodynia and other forms of pathological pain, we hypothesized that polyamine depletion might prove an effective strategy for relief of anti-GD2 induced allodynia.


Sprague-Dawley rats were allowed to drink water containing various concentrations of difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) for several days prior to behavioral testing. Anti-GD2 (14G2a) was injected into the tail vein of lightly sedated animals and basal mechanical hindpaw withdrawal threshold assessed by von Frey filaments. Endpoint serum DFMO and polyamines, assessed 24h after 14G2a injection, were measured by HPLC and mass spectrometry.


An i.v. injection of 14G2a causes increased paw sensitivity to light touch in this model, a response that closely mimics patient allodynia. Animals allowed to drink water containing 1% DFMO exhibited a significant reduction of 14G2a-induced pain sensitivity (allodynia). Increasing the dosage of the immunotherapeutic increased the magnitude (intensity and duration) of the pain behavior. Administration of DFMO attenuated the enhanced sensitivity. Consistent with the known actions of DFMO on ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), serum putrescene and spermidine levels were significantly reduced by DFMO, though the decrease in endpoint polyamine levels did not directly correlate with the behavioral changes.


Our results demonstrate that DFMO is an effective agent for reducing anti-GD2 -induced allodynia. Using DFMO in conjunction with dinutuximab may allow for dose escalation in neuroblastoma patients. The reduction in pain may be sufficient to allow new patient populations to utilize this therapy given the more acceptable side effect profile. Thus, DFMO may be an important adjunct to anti-GD2 immunotherapy in addition to a role as a potential anti-cancer therapeutic.

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