bims-malgli Biomed News
on Biology of malignant gliomas
Issue of 2021‒02‒14
seventeen papers selected by
Oltea Sampetrean
Keio University

  1. Nat Commun. 2021 Feb 12. 12(1): 1014
      Both the perivascular niche (PVN) and the integration into multicellular networks by tumor microtubes (TMs) have been associated with progression and resistance to therapies in glioblastoma, but their specific contribution remained unknown. By long-term tracking of tumor cell fate and dynamics in the live mouse brain, differential therapeutic responses in both niches are determined. Both the PVN, a preferential location of long-term quiescent glioma cells, and network integration facilitate resistance against cytotoxic effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy-independently of each other, but with additive effects. Perivascular glioblastoma cells are particularly able to actively repair damage to tumor regions. Population of the PVN and resistance in it depend on proficient NOTCH1 expression. In turn, NOTCH1 downregulation induces resistant multicellular networks by TM extension. Our findings identify NOTCH1 as a central switch between the PVN and network niche in glioma, and demonstrate robust cross-compensation when only one niche is targeted.
  2. Neuro Oncol. 2021 Feb 09. pii: noab023. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: The detection of somatic mutations in cell-free DNA (cfDNA) from liquid biopsy has emerged as a non-invasive tool to monitor the follow-up of cancer patients. However, the significance of cfDNA clinical utility remains uncertain in patients with brain tumors, primarily because of the limited sensitivity cfDNA has to detect real tumor-specific somatic mutations. This unresolved challenge has prevented accurate follow-up of glioma patients with non-invasive approaches.METHODS: Genome-wide DNA methylation profiling of tumor tissue and serum cell-free DNA of glioma patients.
    RESULTS: Here, we developed a non-invasive approach to profile the DNA methylation status in the serum of patients with gliomas and identified a cfDNA-derived methylation signature that is associated with the presence of gliomas and related immune features. By testing the signature in an independent discovery and validation cohorts, we developed and verified a score metric (the "glioma epigenetic liquid biopsy score" or GeLB) that optimally distinguished patients with or without glioma (sensitivity: 100%, specificity: 97.78%). Furthermore, we found that changes in GeLB score reflected clinicopathological changes during surveillance (e.g., progression, pseudoprogression or response to standard or experimental treatment).
    CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that the GeLB score can be used as a complementary approach to diagnose and follow up patients with glioma.
    Keywords:  cell-free DNA; epigenetics; glioma; pseudoprogression; serum
  3. Front Oncol. 2020 ;10 614930
      Both in adult and children, high-grade gliomas (WHO grades III and IV) account for a high proportion of death due to cancer. This poor prognosis is a direct consequence of tumor recurrences occurring within few months despite a multimodal therapy consisting of a surgical resection followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. There is increasing evidence that glioma stem cells (GSCs) contribute to tumor recurrences. In fact, GSCs can migrate out of the tumor mass and reach the subventricular zone (SVZ), a neurogenic niche persisting after birth. Once nested in the SVZ, GSCs can escape a surgical intervention and resist to treatments. The present review will define GSCs and describe their similarities with neural stem cells, residents of the SVZ. The architectural organization of the SVZ will be described both for humans and rodents. The migratory routes taken by GSCs to reach the SVZ and the signaling pathways involved in their migration will also be described hereafter. In addition, we will debate the advantages of the microenvironment provided by the SVZ for GSCs and how this could contribute to tumor recurrences. Finally, we will discuss the clinical relevance of the SVZ in adult GBM and pediatric HGG and the therapeutic advantages of targeting that neurogenic region in both clinical situations.
    Keywords:  cancer stem cell; diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma; diffuse midline glioma; glioblastoma; glioma stem cell; high grade glioma; recurrence; subventricular zone
  4. Neuro Oncol. 2021 Feb 09. pii: noab022. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: Brain tumors, whether primary or secondary, have limited therapeutic options despite advances in understanding driver gene mutations and heterogeneity within tumor cells. The cellular and molecular composition of brain tumor stroma, an important modifier of tumor growth, has been less investigated to date. Only few studies have focused on the vasculature of human brain tumors despite the fact that the blood-brain barrier (BBB) represents the major obstacle for efficient drug delivery.METHODS: In this study, we employed RNA sequencing to characterize transcriptional alterations of endothelial cells isolated from primary and secondary human brain tumors. We used an immunoprecipitation approach to enrich for endothelial cells from normal brain, glioblastoma (GBM) and lung cancer brain metastasis (BM).
    RESULTS: Analysis of the endothelial transcriptome showed deregulation of genes implicated in cell proliferation, angiogenesis and deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) in the vasculature of GBM and BM. Deregulation of genes defining the BBB dysfunction module were found in both tumor types. We identified deregulated expression of genes in vessel-associated fibroblasts in GBM.
    CONCLUSION: We characterize alterations in BBB genes in GBM and BM vasculature and identify proteins that might be exploited for developing drug delivery platforms. In addition, our analysis on vessel-associated fibroblasts in GBM shows that the cellular composition of brain tumor stroma merits further investigation.
    Keywords:  blood-brain barrier; brain metastasis; glioblastoma; insulin receptor; vessel-associated fibroblasts
  5. Nat Commun. 2021 Feb 12. 12(1): 979
      Glioblastoma (GBM) is a deadly cancer in which cancer stem cells (CSCs) sustain tumor growth and contribute to therapeutic resistance. Protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) has recently emerged as a promising target in GBM. Using two orthogonal-acting inhibitors of PRMT5 (GSK591 or LLY-283), we show that pharmacological inhibition of PRMT5 suppresses the growth of a cohort of 46 patient-derived GBM stem cell cultures, with the proneural subtype showing greater sensitivity. We show that PRMT5 inhibition causes widespread disruption of splicing across the transcriptome, particularly affecting cell cycle gene products. We identify a GBM splicing signature that correlates with the degree of response to PRMT5 inhibition. Importantly, we demonstrate that LLY-283 is brain-penetrant and significantly prolongs the survival of mice with orthotopic patient-derived xenografts. Collectively, our findings provide a rationale for the clinical development of brain penetrant PRMT5 inhibitors as treatment for GBM.
  6. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2021 Feb 12. 9(1): 24
      The cellular complexity of glioblastoma microenvironments is still poorly understood. In-depth, cell-resolution tissue analyses of human material are rare but highly necessary to understand the biology of this deadly tumor. Here we present a unique 3D visualization revealing the cellular composition of human GBM in detail and considering its critical association with the neo-vascular niche. Our images show a complex vascular map of human 3D biopsies with increased vascular heterogeneity and altered spatial relationship with astrocytes or glioma-cell counterparts. High-resolution analysis of the structural layers of the blood brain barrier showed a multilayered fenestration of endothelium and basement membrane. Careful examination of T cell position and migration relative to vascular walls revealed increased infiltration corresponding with tumor proliferation. In addition, the analysis of the myeloid landscape not only showed a volumetric increase in glioma-associated microglia and macrophages relative to GBM proliferation but also revealed distinct phenotypes in tumor nest and stroma. Images and data sets are available on demand as a resource for public access.
    Keywords:  Astrocytes; Basement membrane; Blood vessels; Endothelium; Glioblastoma; Macrophages; Microglia; T cells; Tumor microenvironments
  7. Cell Death Discov. 2020 Apr 16. 6(1): 20
      Cancer cells upregulate anabolic processes to maintain high rates of cellular turnover. Limiting the supply of macromolecular precursors by targeting enzymes involved in biosynthesis is a promising strategy in cancer therapy. Several tumors excessively metabolize glutamine to generate precursors for nonessential amino acids, nucleotides, and lipids, in a process called glutaminolysis. Here we show that pharmacological inhibition of glutaminase (GLS) eradicates glioblastoma stem-like cells (GSCs), a small cell subpopulation in glioblastoma (GBM) responsible for therapy resistance and tumor recurrence. Treatment with small molecule inhibitors compound 968 and CB839 effectively diminished cell growth and in vitro clonogenicity of GSC neurosphere cultures. However, our pharmaco-metabolic studies revealed that only CB839 inhibited GLS enzymatic activity thereby limiting the influx of glutamine derivates into the TCA cycle. Nevertheless, the effects of both inhibitors were highly GLS specific, since treatment sensitivity markedly correlated with GLS protein expression. Strikingly, we found GLS overexpressed in in vitro GSC models as compared with neural stem cells (NSC). Moreover, our study demonstrates the usefulness of in vitro pharmaco-metabolomics to score target specificity of compounds thereby refining drug development and risk assessment.
  8. Neuro Oncol. 2021 Feb 08. pii: noab014. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: Despite multi-model therapy of maximal surgical resection, radiation, chemotherapy, and tumor treating fields, the median survival of Glioblastoma (GBM) patients is less than 15 months. Protein Arginine Methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) catalyzes the symmetric di-methylation of arginine residues and is overexpressed in GBM. Inhibition of PRMT5 causes senescence in stem-like GBM tumor cells. LB100, a first-in-class small molecular inhibitor of Protein Phosphatase 2A (PP2A) can sensitize therapy-resistant tumor cells. Here, we tested the anti-GBM effect of concurrent PRMT5 and PP2A inhibition.METHODS: Patient-derived primary GBM neurospheres (GBMNS), transfected with PRMT5 target-specific siRNA were treated with LB100 and subjected to in vitro assays including PP2A activity and western blot. The intracranial mouse xenograft model was used to test the in vivo antitumor efficacy of combination treatment.
    RESULTS: We found that PRMT5-depletion increased PP2A activity in GBMNS. LB100 treatment significantly reduced the viability of PRMT5-depleted GBMNS compared to PRMT5 intact GBMNS. LB100 enhanced G1 cell cycle arrest induced by PRMT5-depletion. Combination therapy also increased the expression of phospho-MLKL. Necrostatin-1 rescued PRMT5-depleted cells from the cytotoxic effects of LB100, indicating that necroptosis caused the enhanced cytotoxicity of combination therapy. In the in vivo mouse tumor xenograft model, LB100 treatment combined with transient depletion of PRMT5 significantly decreased tumor size and prolonged survival, while LB100 treatment alone had no survival benefit.
    CONCLUSION: Overall, combined PRMT5 and PP2A inhibition had significantly greater antitumor effects than PRMT5 inhibition alone.
    Keywords:  Glioblastoma; LB100; Necroptosis; PP2A; PRMT5
  9. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Feb 04. pii: 614. [Epub ahead of print]13(4):
      Oncolytic virus (OV) treatment may offer a new treatment option for the aggressive brain tumor glioblastoma. Clinical trials testing oncolytic viruses in this patient group have shown promising results, with patients achieving impressive long-term clinical responses. However, the number of responders to each OV remains low. This is thought to arise from the large heterogeneity of these tumors, both in terms of molecular make-up and their immune-suppressive microenvironment, leading to variability in responses. An approach that may improve response rates is the personalized utilization of oncolytic viruses against Glioblastoma (GBM), based on specific tumor- or patient-related characteristics. In this review, we discuss potential biomarkers for response to different OVs as well as emerging ex vivo assays that in the future may enable selection of optimal OV for a specific patient and design of stratified clinical OV trials for GBM.
    Keywords:  biomarkers; clinical trials; glioblastoma; oncolytic viruses; personalized oncolyticvirotherapy
  10. Nat Commun. 2021 Feb 12. 12(1): 971
      Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is an incurable malignant childhood brain tumor, with no active systemic therapies and a 5-year survival of less than 1%. Polyamines are small organic polycations that are essential for DNA replication, translation and cell proliferation. Ornithine decarboxylase 1 (ODC1), the rate-limiting enzyme in polyamine synthesis, is irreversibly inhibited by difluoromethylornithine (DFMO). Herein we show that polyamine synthesis is upregulated in DIPG, leading to sensitivity to DFMO. DIPG cells compensate for ODC1 inhibition by upregulation of the polyamine transporter SLC3A2. Treatment with the polyamine transporter inhibitor AMXT 1501 reduces uptake of polyamines in DIPG cells, and co-administration of AMXT 1501 and DFMO leads to potent in vitro activity, and significant extension of survival in three aggressive DIPG orthotopic animal models. Collectively, these results demonstrate the potential of dual targeting of polyamine synthesis and uptake as a therapeutic strategy for incurable DIPG.
  11. Cancer Discov. 2021 Feb 08.
      Diffuse gliomas represent a heterogeneous group of universally lethal brain tumors characterized by minimally effective genotype-targeted therapies. Recent advances have revealed that a remarkable level of genetic, epigenetic, and environmental heterogeneity exists within each individual glioma. Together, these interconnected layers of intratumoral heterogeneity result in extreme phenotypic heterogeneity at the cellular level, providing for multiple mechanisms of therapeutic resistance and forming a highly adaptable and resilient disease. In this review, we discuss how glioma intratumoral heterogeneity and malignant cellular state plasticity drive resistance to existing therapies and look to a future in which these challenges may be overcome. SIGNIFICANCE: Glioma intratumoral heterogeneity and malignant cell state plasticity represent formidable hurdles to the development of novel targeted therapies. However, the convergence of genotypically diverse glioma cells into a limited set of epigenetically encoded transcriptional cell states may present an opportunity for a novel therapeutic strategy we call "State Selective Lethality." In this approach, cellular states (as opposed to genetic perturbations/mutations) are the subject of therapeutic targeting, and plasticity-mediated resistance is minimized through the design of cell state "trapping agents."
  12. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Feb 07. pii: 662. [Epub ahead of print]13(4):
      Diffusely infiltrating gliomas are characterized by a variable clinical course, and thus novel prognostic biomarkers are needed. The heme biosynthesis cycle constitutes a fundamental metabolic pathway and might play a crucial role in glioma biology. The aim of this study was thus to investigate the role of the heme biosynthesis mRNA expression signature on prognosis in a large glioma patient cohort. Glioma patients with available sequencing data on heme biosynthesis expression were retrieved from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). In each patient, the heme biosynthesis mRNA expression signature was calculated and categorized into low, medium, and high expression subgroups. Differences in progression-free and overall survival between these subgroups were investigated including a multivariate analysis correcting for WHO grade, tumor subtype, and patient age and sex. In a total of 693 patients, progression-free and overall survival showed a strictly monotonical decrease with increasing mRNA expression signature subgroups. In detail, median overall survival was 134.2 months in the low, 79.9 months in the intermediate, and 16.5 months in the high mRNA expression signature subgroups, respectively. The impact of mRNA expression signature on progression-free and overall survival was independent of the other analyzed prognostic factors. Our data indicate that the heme biosynthesis mRNA expression signature might serve as an additional novel prognostic marker in patients with diffusely infiltrating gliomas to optimize postoperative management.
    Keywords:  TCGA; gene expression; glioma; heme biosynthesis; survival
  13. Cancer Res. 2021 Feb 11. pii: canres.1756.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Oncogenic protein tyrosine phosphatases have long been viewed as drug targets of interest, and recently developed allosteric inhibitors of SH2 domain-containing phosphatase-2 (SHP2) have entered clinical trials. However, the ability of phosphatases to regulate many targets directly or indirectly and to both promote and antagonize oncogenic signaling may make the efficacy of phosphatase inhibition challenging to predict. Here we explore the consequences of antagonizing SHP2 in glioblastoma, a recalcitrant cancer where SHP2 has been proposed as a useful drug target. Measuring protein phosphorylation and expression in glioblastoma cells across 40 signaling pathway nodes in response to different drugs and for different oxygen tensions revealed that SHP2 antagonism has network-level, context-dependent signaling consequences that affect cell phenotypes (e.g., cell death) in unanticipated ways. To map specific signaling consequences of SHP2 antagonism to phenotypes of interest, a data-driven computational model was constructed based on the paired signaling and phenotype data. Model predictions aided in identifying three signaling processes with implications for treating glioblastoma with SHP2 inhibitors. These included PTEN-dependent DNA damage repair in response to SHP2 inhibition, AKT-mediated bypass resistance in response to chronic SHP2 inhibition, and SHP2 control of hypoxia-inducible factor expression through multiple mitogen-activated protein kinases. Model-generated hypotheses were validated in multiple glioblastoma cell lines, in mouse tumor xenografts, and through analysis of TCGA data. Collectively, these results suggest that in glioblastoma, SHP2 inhibitors antagonize some signaling processes more effectively than existing kinase inhibitors but can also limit the efficacy of other drugs when used in combination.