bims-malgli Biomed News
on Biology of malignant gliomas
Issue of 2021‒01‒31
fourteen papers selected by
Oltea Sampetrean
Keio University

  1. Neuro Oncol. 2021 Jan 28. pii: noab012. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: Genome-wide DNA methylation profiling has recently been developed into a tool that allows tumor classification in central nervous system tumors. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are released by tumor cells and contain high molecular weight DNA, rendering EVs a potential biomarker source to identify tumor subgroups, stratify patients and monitor therapy by liquid biopsy. We investigated whether the DNA in glioblastoma cell-derived EVs reflects genome-wide tumor methylation and mutational profiles and allows non-invasive tumor subtype classification.METHODS: DNA was isolated from EVs secreted by glioblastoma cells as well as from matching cultured cells and tumors. EV-DNA was localized and quantified by direct stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy. Methylation and copy number profiling was performed using 850k arrays. Mutations were identified by targeted gene panel sequencing. Proteins were differentially quantified by mass spectrometric proteomics.
    RESULTS: Genome-wide methylation profiling of glioblastoma-derived EVs correctly identified the methylation class of the parental cells and original tumors, including the MGMT promoter methylation status. Tumor-specific mutations and copy number variations (CNV) were detected in EV-DNA with high accuracy. Different EV isolation techniques did not affect the methylation profiling and CNV results. DNA was present inside EVs and on the EV surface. Proteome analysis did not allow specific tumor identification or classification but identified tumor-associated proteins that could potentially be useful for enriching tumor-derived circulating EVs from biofluids.
    CONCLUSIONS: This study provides proof of principle that EV-DNA reflects the genome-wide methylation, CNV and mutational status of glioblastoma cells and enables their molecular classification.
    Keywords:  Glioma; exosome; methylome; mutation; proteomics
  2. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Jan 22. pii: 419. [Epub ahead of print]13(3):
      Glioblastomas (GBMs) are aggressive brain tumors with frequent genetic alterations in TP53 and PTEN tumor suppressor genes rendering resistance to standard chemotherapeutics. Cannabinoid type 1 and 2 (CB1/CB2) receptor expression in GBMs and antitumor activity of cannabinoids in glioma cells and animal models, raised promises for a targeted treatment of these tumors. The susceptibility of human glioma cells to CB2-agonists and their mechanism of action are not fully elucidated. We determined CB1 and CB2 expression in 14 low-grade and 21 high-grade tumor biopsies, GBM-derived primary cultures and established cell lines. The non-selective CB receptor agonist WIN55,212-2 (but not its inactive enantiomer) or the CB2-selective agonist JWH133 induced apoptosis in patient-derived glioma cultures and five established glioma cell lines despite p53 and/or PTEN deficiency. Growth inhibitory efficacy of cannabinoids correlated with CB1/CB2 expression (EC50 WIN55,212-2: 7.36-15.70 µM, JWH133: 12.15-143.20 µM). Treatment with WIN55,212-2 or JWH133 led to activation of the apoptotic mitochondrial pathway and DNA fragmentation. Synthetic cannabinoid action was associated with the induction of autophagy and knockdown of autophagy genes augmented cannabinoid-induced apoptotic cell death. The high susceptibility of human glioblastoma cells to synthetic cannabinoids, despite genetic defects contributing to apoptosis resistance, makes cannabinoids promising anti-glioma therapeutics.
    Keywords:  PTEN; TP53; apoptosis; autophagy; cannabinoids; glioblastoma; mTOR; mitochondrial apoptotic pathway
  3. Cells. 2021 Jan 20. pii: E202. [Epub ahead of print]10(2):
      Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive primary brain tumor, with a median survival at diagnosis of 16-20 months. Metabolism represents a new attractive therapeutic target; however, due to high intratumoral heterogeneity, the application of metabolic drugs in GBM is challenging. We characterized the basal bioenergetic metabolism and antiproliferative potential of metformin (MF), dichloroacetate (DCA), sodium oxamate (SOD) and diazo-5-oxo-L-norleucine (DON) in three distinct glioma stem cells (GSCs) (GBM18, GBM27, GBM38), as well as U87MG. GBM27, a highly oxidative cell line, was the most resistant to all treatments, except DON. GBM18 and GBM38, Warburg-like GSCs, were sensitive to MF and DCA, respectively. Resistance to DON was not correlated with basal metabolic phenotypes. In combinatory experiments, radiomimetic bleomycin exhibited therapeutically relevant synergistic effects with MF, DCA and DON in GBM27 and DON in all other cell lines. MF and DCA shifted the metabolism of treated cells towards glycolysis or oxidation, respectively. DON consistently decreased total ATP production. Our study highlights the need for a better characterization of GBM from a metabolic perspective. Metabolic therapy should focus on both glycolytic and oxidative subpopulations of GSCs.
    Keywords:  energy metabolism; gene expression profiling; glioblastoma; glycolysis; oxidative phosphorylation; therapeutics
  4. Nat Commun. 2021 01 27. 12(1): 614
      Infiltrating gliomas are devastating and incurable tumors. Amongst all gliomas, those harboring a mutation in isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 mutation (IDH1mut) acquire a different tumor biology and clinical manifestation from those that are IDH1WT. Understanding the unique metabolic profile reprogrammed by IDH1 mutation has the potential to identify new molecular targets for glioma therapy. Herein, we uncover increased monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and their phospholipids in endoplasmic reticulum (ER), generated by IDH1 mutation, that are responsible for Golgi and ER dilation. We demonstrate a direct link between the IDH1 mutation and this organelle morphology via D-2HG-induced stearyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) overexpression, the rate-limiting enzyme in MUFA biosynthesis. Inhibition of IDH1 mutation or SCD silencing restores ER and Golgi morphology, while D-2HG and oleic acid induces morphological defects in these organelles. Moreover, addition of oleic acid, which tilts the balance towards elevated levels of MUFA, produces IDH1mut-specific cellular apoptosis. Collectively, these results suggest that IDH1mut-induced SCD overexpression can rearrange the distribution of lipids in the organelles of glioma cells, providing new insight into the link between lipid metabolism and organelle morphology in these cells, with potential and unique therapeutic implications.
  5. Front Oncol. 2020 ;10 603738
      During embryonic development, radial glial precursor cells give rise to neural lineages, and a small proportion persist in the adult mammalian brain to contribute to long-term neuroplasticity. Neural stem cells (NSCs) reside in two neurogenic niches of the adult brain, the hippocampus and the subventricular zone (SVZ). NSCs in the SVZ are endowed with the defining stem cell properties of self-renewal and multipotent differentiation, which are maintained by intrinsic cellular programs, and extrinsic cellular and niche-specific interactions. In glioblastoma, the most aggressive primary malignant brain cancer, a subpopulation of cells termed glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) exhibit similar stem-like properties. While there is an extensive overlap between NSCs and GSCs in function, distinct genetic profiles, transcriptional programs, and external environmental cues influence their divergent behavior. This review highlights the similarities and differences between GSCs and SVZ NSCs in terms of their gene expression, regulatory molecular pathways, niche organization, metabolic programs, and current therapies designed to exploit these differences.
    Keywords:  glioblastoma stem cells; neural stem cells; neurogenic niche; tumor metabolism; tumor microenvironment
  6. Neurooncol Adv. 2021 Jan-Dec;3(1):3(1): vdaa150
      Background: Gliomas typically escape surgical resection and recur due to their "diffuse invasion" phenotype, enabling them to infiltrate diffusely into the normal brain parenchyma. Over the past 80 years, studies have revealed 2 key features of the "diffuse invasion" phenotype, designated the Scherer's secondary structure, and include perineuronal satellitosis (PS) and perivascular satellitosis (PVS). However, the mechanisms are still unknown.Methods: We established a mouse glioma cell line (IG27) by manipulating the histone H3K27M mutation, frequently harboring in diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas, that reproduced the diffuse invasion phenotype, PS and PVS, following intracranial transplantation in the mouse brain. Further, to broadly apply the results in this mouse model to human gliomas, we analyzed data from 66 glioma patients.
    Results: Increased H3K27 acetylation in IG27 cells activated glucose transporter 1 (Glut1) expression and induced aerobic glycolysis and TCA cycle activation, leading to lactate, acetyl-CoA, and oncometabolite production irrespective of oxygen and glucose levels. Gain- and loss-of-function in vivo experiments demonstrated that Glut1 controls the PS of glioma cells, that is, attachment to and contact with neurons. GLUT1 is also associated with early progression in glioma patients.
    Conclusions: Targeting the transporter Glut1 suppresses the unique phenotype, "diffuse invasion" in the diffuse glioma mouse model. This work leads to promising therapeutic and potential useful imaging targets for anti-invasion in human gliomas widely.
    Keywords:  diffuse invasion; glioma; glucose transporter; glycolysis; perineuronal satellitosis
  7. Cancer Res. 2021 Jan 28. pii: canres.1810.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is frequently amplified, mutated, and overexpressed in malignant gliomas. Yet the EGFR-targeted therapies have thus far produced only marginal clinical responses, and the underlying mechanism remains poorly understood. Using an inducible oncogenic EGFR-driven glioma mouse model system, our current study reveals that a small population of glioma cells can evade therapy-initiated apoptosis and potentiate relapse development by adopting a mesenchymal-like phenotypic state that no longer depends on oncogenic EGFR signaling. Transcriptome analyses of proximal and distal treatment responses identified TGFβ/YAP/Slug signaling cascade activation as a major regulatory mechanism that promotes therapy-induced glioma mesenchymal lineage transdifferentiation. Following anti-EGFR treatment, TGFβ secreted from stressed glioma cells acted to promote YAP nuclear translocation which stimulated upregulation of the pro-mesenchymal transcriptional factor Slug and subsequent glioma lineage transdifferentiation towards a stable therapy-refractory state. Blockade of this adaptive response through suppression of TGFβ-mediated YAP activation significantly delayed anti-EGFR relapse and prolonged animal survival. Together, our findings shed new insight into EGFR-targeted therapy resistance and suggest that combinatorial therapies of targeting both EGFR and mechanisms underlying glioma lineage transdifferentiation could ultimately lead to deeper and more durable responses.
  8. Clin Cancer Res. 2021 Jan 25. pii: clincanres.3243.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      PURPOSE: Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common malignant brain tumor in adults. Various immunotherapeutic approaches to improve patient survival are being developed, but the molecular mechanisms of immunotherapy resistance are currently unknown. Here, we explored the ability of a humanized radiolabeled CD8-targeted minibody to non-invasively quantify tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells using positron emission tomography (PET).EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We generated a peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) humanized immune system (HIS) mouse model and quantified the absolute number of CD8+ T cells by flow cytometry relative to the [64Cu]Cu-NOTA-anti-CD8 PET signal. To evaluate a patient derived orthotopic GBM HIS model, we intracranially injected cells into NOG mice, humanized cohorts with multiple HLA-matched PBMC donors and quantified CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes by immunohistochemistry (IHC). To determine whether [64Cu]Cu-NOTA-anti-CD8 images brain parenchymal T cell infiltrate in GBM tumors, we performed PET and autoradiography and subsequently stained serial sections of brain tumor tissue by IHC for CD8+ T cells.
    RESULTS: Non-tumor-bearing NOG mice injected with human PBMCs showed prominent [64Cu]Cu-NOTA-anti-CD8 uptake in the spleen and minimal radiotracer localization to the normal brain. NOG mice harboring intracranial human GBMs yielded high-resolution PET images of tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells. Radiotracer retention correlated with CD8+ T cell numbers in spleen and tumor tissue. Our study demonstrates the ability of [64Cu]Cu-NOTA-anti-CD8 PET to quantify peripheral and tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells in brain tumors.
    CONCLUSIONS: Human CD8+ T cells infiltrate an orthotopic GBM in a donor-dependent manner. Further, [64Cu]Cu-NOTA-anti-CD8 quantitatively images both peripheral and brain parenchymal human CD8+ T cells.
  9. Commun Biol. 2021 Jan 29. 4(1): 145
      Infiltrative growth is a major cause of high lethality of malignant brain tumors such as glioblastoma (GBM). We show here that GBM cells upregulate guidance receptor Plexin-B2 to gain invasiveness. Deletion of Plexin-B2 in GBM stem cells limited tumor spread and shifted invasion paths from axon fiber tracts to perivascular routes. On a cellular level, Plexin-B2 adjusts cell adhesiveness, migratory responses to different matrix stiffness, and actomyosin dynamics, thus empowering GBM cells to leave stiff tumor bulk and infiltrate softer brain parenchyma. Correspondingly, gene signatures affected by Plexin-B2 were associated with locomotor regulation, matrix interactions, and cellular biomechanics. On a molecular level, the intracellular Ras-GAP domain contributed to Plexin-B2 function, while the signaling relationship with downstream effectors Rap1/2 appeared variable between GBM stem cell lines, reflecting intertumoral heterogeneity. Our studies establish Plexin-B2 as a modulator of cell biomechanics that is usurped by GBM cells to gain invasiveness.
  10. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Jan 24. pii: 437. [Epub ahead of print]13(3):
      Glioblastoma remains one of the deadliest and treatment-refractory human malignancies in large part due to its diffusely infiltrative nature, molecular heterogeneity, and capacity for immune escape. The Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK/STAT) signaling pathway contributes substantively to a wide variety of protumorigenic functions, including proliferation, anti-apoptosis, angiogenesis, stem cell maintenance, and immune suppression. We review the current state of knowledge regarding the biological role of JAK/STAT signaling in glioblastoma, therapeutic strategies, and future directions for the field.
    Keywords:  JAK; STAT3; glioblastoma; immunotherapy; resistance
  11. Curr Oncol Rep. 2021 Jan 26. 23(2): 21
      PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review seeks to inform oncology clinicians and researchers about the development of novel immunotherapies for the treatment of glioblastoma. An enumeration of ongoing and recently completed clinical trials will be discussed with special attention given to current technologies implemented to overcome central nervous system-specific challenges including barriers to the peripheral immune system, impaired antigen presentation, and T cell dysfunction.RECENT FINDINGS: The success of immunotherapy in other solid cancers has served as a catalyst to explore its application in glioblastoma, which has limited response to other treatments. Recent developments include multi-antigen vaccines that seek to overcome the heterogeneity of glioblastoma, as well as immune checkpoint inhibitors, which could amplify the adaptive immune response and may have promise in combinatorial approaches. Additionally, oncolytic and retroviruses have opened the door to a plethora of combinatorial approaches aiming to leverage their immunogenicity and/or ability to carry therapeutic transgenes. Treatment of glioblastoma remains a serious challenge both with regard to immune-based as well as other therapeutic strategies. The disease has proven to be highly resistant to treatment due to a combination of tumor heterogeneity, adaptive expansion of resistant cellular subclones, evasion of immune surveillance, and manipulation of various signaling pathways involved in tumor progression and immune response. Immunotherapeutics that are efficacious in other cancer types have unfortunately not enjoyed the same success in glioblastoma, illustrating the challenging and complex nature of this disease and demonstrating the need for development of multimodal treatment regimens utilizing the synergistic qualities of immune-mediated therapies.
    Keywords:  CAR-T; Cancer vaccine; Checkpoint inhibitor; Glioblastoma; Immunotherapy; Oncolytic virus
  12. Theranostics. 2021 ;11(5): 2048-2057
      Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common malignant brain tumor in adults. With a designation of WHO Grade IV, it is also the most lethal primary brain tumor with a median survival of just 15 months. This is often despite aggressive treatment that includes surgical resection, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Based on the poor outcomes and prevalence of the tumor, the demand for innovative therapies continues to represent a pressing issue for clinicians and researchers. In terms of therapies targeting metabolism, the prevalence of the Warburg effect has led to a focus on targeting glucose metabolism to halt tumor progression. While glucose is the dominant source of growth substrate in GBM, a number of unique metabolic pathways are exploited in GBM to meet the increased demand for replication and progression. In this review we aim to explore how metabolites from fatty acid oxidation, the urea cycle, the glutamate-glutamine cycle, and one-carbon metabolism are shunted toward energy producing pathways to meet the high energy demand in GBM. We will also explore how the process of autophagy provides a reservoir of nutrients to support viable tumor cells. By so doing, we aim to establish a foundation of implicated metabolic mechanisms supporting growth and tumorigenesis of GBM within the literature. With the sparse number of therapeutic interventions specifically targeting metabolic pathways in GBM, we hope that this review expands further insight into the development of novel treatment modalities.
    Keywords:  arginine; autophagy; fatty acids; glioblastoma; glutamine; metabolism
  13. Neurooncol Adv. 2021 Jan-Dec;3(1):3(1): vdaa165
      Background: Glioma is sensitive to microtubule-targeting agents (MTAs), but most MTAs do not cross the blood brain barrier (BBB). To address this limitation, we developed the new chemical entity, ST-401, a brain-penetrant MTA.Methods: Synthesis of ST-401. Measures of MT assembly and dynamics. Cell proliferation and viability of patient-derived (PD) glioma in culture. Measure of tumor microtube (TM) parameters using immunofluorescence analysis and machine learning-based workflow. Pharmacokinetics (PK) and experimental toxicity in mice. In vivo antitumor activity in the RCAS/tv-a PDGFB-driven glioma (PDGFB-glioma) mouse model.
    Results: We discovered that ST-401 disrupts microtubule (MT) function through gentle and reverisible reduction in MT assembly that triggers mitotic delay and cell death in interphase. ST-401 inhibits the formation of TMs, MT-rich structures that connect glioma to a network that promotes resistance to DNA damage. PK analysis of ST-401 in mice shows brain penetration reaching antitumor concentrations, and in vivo testing of ST-401 in a xenograft flank tumor mouse model demonstrates significant antitumor activity and no over toxicity in mice. In the PDGFB-glioma mouse model, ST-401 enhances the therapeutic efficacies of temozolomide (TMZ) and radiation therapy (RT).
    Conclusion: Our study identifies hallmarks of glioma tumorigenesis that are sensitive to MTAs and reports ST-401 as a promising chemical scaffold to develop brain-penetrant MTAs.
    Keywords:  DNA-damage; interphase; microtubules; tumor microtubes
  14. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Jan 20. pii: E372. [Epub ahead of print]13(3):
      (1) Background: Recent advances in precision oncology research rely on indicating specific genetic alterations associated with treatment sensitivity. Developing ex vivo systems to identify cancer patients who will respond to a specific drug remains important. (2) Methods: cells from 12 patients with glioblastoma were isolated, cultured, and subjected to high-content screening. Multi-parameter analyses assessed the c-Met level, cell viability, apoptosis, cell motility, and migration. A drug repurposing screen and large-scale drug sensitivity screening data across 59 cancer cell lines and patient-derived cells were obtained from 125 glioblastoma samples. (3) Results: High-content analysis of patient-derived cells provided robust and accurate drug responses to c-Met-targeted agents. Only the cells of one glioblastoma patient (PDC6) showed elevated c-Met level and high susceptibility to the c-Met inhibitors. Multi-parameter image analysis also reflected a decreased c-Met expression and reduced cell growth and motility by a c-Met-targeting antibody. In addition, a drug repurposing screen identified Abemaciclib as a distinct CDK4/6 inhibitor with a potent c-Met-inhibitory function. Consistent with this, we present large-scale drug sensitivity screening data showing that the Abemaciclib response correlates with the response to c-Met inhibitors. (4) Conclusions: Our study provides a new insight into high-content screening platforms supporting drug sensitivity prediction and novel therapeutics screening.
    Keywords:  CDK4/6 inhibitor; c-Met inhibitor; high-content analysis; targeted therapeutics