bims-malgli Biomed News
on Biology of malignant gliomas
Issue of 2021‒03‒14
nineteen papers selected by
Oltea Sampetrean
Keio University

  1. Sci Transl Med. 2021 Mar 10. pii: eabb3945. [Epub ahead of print]13(584):
      Glioblastoma (GBM) is one of the most difficult cancers to effectively treat, in part because of the lack of precision therapies and limited therapeutic access to intracranial tumor sites due to the presence of the blood-brain and blood-tumor barriers. We have developed a precision medicine approach for GBM treatment that involves the use of brain-penetrant RNA interference-based spherical nucleic acids (SNAs), which consist of gold nanoparticle cores covalently conjugated with radially oriented and densely packed small interfering RNA (siRNA) oligonucleotides. On the basis of previous preclinical evaluation, we conducted toxicology and toxicokinetic studies in nonhuman primates and a single-arm, open-label phase 0 first-in-human trial (NCT03020017) to determine safety, pharmacokinetics, intratumoral accumulation and gene-suppressive activity of systemically administered SNAs carrying siRNA specific for the GBM oncogene Bcl2Like12 (Bcl2L12). Patients with recurrent GBM were treated with intravenous administration of siBcl2L12-SNAs (drug moniker: NU-0129), at a dose corresponding to 1/50th of the no-observed-adverse-event level, followed by tumor resection. Safety assessment revealed no grade 4 or 5 treatment-related toxicities. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, x-ray fluorescence microscopy, and silver staining of resected GBM tissue demonstrated that intravenously administered SNAs reached patient tumors, with gold enrichment observed in the tumor-associated endothelium, macrophages, and tumor cells. NU-0129 uptake into glioma cells correlated with a reduction in tumor-associated Bcl2L12 protein expression, as indicated by comparison of matched primary tumor and NU-0129-treated recurrent tumor. Our results establish SNA nanoconjugates as a potential brain-penetrant precision medicine approach for the systemic treatment of GBM.
  2. Brain Pathol. 2021 Mar 10. e12947
      Glioblastomas (GBMs) are highly aggressive, recurrent, and lethal brain tumors that are maintained via brain tumor-initiating cells (BTICs). The aggressiveness of BTICs may be dependent on the extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules that are highly enriched within the GBM microenvironment. Here, we investigated the expression of ECM molecules in GBM patients by mining the transcriptomic databases and also staining human GBM specimens. RNA levels for fibronectin, brevican, versican, heparan sulfate proteoglycan 2 (HSPG2), and several laminins were high in GBMs compared to normal brain, and this was corroborated by immunohistochemistry. While fibrinogen transcript was at normal level in GBM, its protein immunoreactivity was prominent within GBM tissues. These ECM molecules in tumor specimens were in proximity to, and surrounding BTICs. In culture, fibronectin and pan-laminin induced the adhesion of BTICs onto the plastic substratum. However, fibrinogen increased the size of the BTIC spheres by facilitating the adhesive property, motility, and invasiveness of BTICs. These features of elevated invasiveness were corroborated in resected GBM specimens by the close proximity of fibrinogen with matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and-9, which are proteases implicated in metastasis. Moreover, the effect of fibrinogen-induced invasiveness was attenuated in BTICs where MMP-2 and -9 have been inhibited with siRNAs or pharmacological inhibitors. Our results implicate fibrinogen in GBM as a mediator of the invasive properties of BTICs, and as a target for therapy to reduce BTIC tumorigenecity.
    Keywords:  ECM; extracellular matrix; fibrinogen; glioblastoma; glioma stem cell; invasiveness
  3. Neurooncol Adv. 2021 Jan-Dec;3(1):3(1): vdaa149
      Background: Metabolic reprogramming is a common feature in cancer, and it is critical to facilitate cancer cell growth. Isocitrate Dehydrogenase 1/2 (IDH1 and IDH2) mutations (IDHmut) are the most common genetic alteration in glioma grade II and III and secondary glioblastoma and these mutations increase reliance on glutamine metabolism, suggesting a potential vulnerability. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the brain penetrant glutamine antagonist prodrug JHU-083 reduces glioma cell growth.Material and Methods: We performed cell growth, cell cycle, and protein expression in glutamine deprived or Glutaminase (GLS) gene silenced glioma cells. We tested the effect of JHU-083 on cell proliferation, metabolism, and mTOR signaling in cancer cell lines. An orthotopic IDH1R132H glioma model was used to test the efficacy of JHU-083 in vivo.
    Results: Glutamine deprivation and GLS gene silencing reduced glioma cell proliferation in vitro in glioma cells. JHU-083 reduced glioma cell growth in vitro, modulated cell metabolism, and disrupted mTOR signaling and downregulated Cyclin D1 protein expression, through a mechanism independent of TSC2 modulation and glutaminolysis. IDH1R132H isogenic cells preferentially reduced cell growth and mTOR signaling downregulation. In addition, guanine supplementation partially rescued IDHmut glioma cell growth, mTOR signaling, and Cyclin D1 protein expression in vitro. Finally, JHU-083 extended survival in an intracranial IDH1 mut glioma model and reduced intracranial pS6 protein expression.
    Conclusion: Targeting glutamine metabolism with JHU-083 showed efficacy in preclinical models of IDHmut glioma and measurably decreased mTOR signaling.
    Keywords:  IDH mutation; cell cycle; glioma; glutamine metabolism; mTOR signaling
  4. Nat Cancer. 2021 Feb;2(2): 141-156
      The transcriptomic classification of glioblastoma (GBM) has failed to predict survival and therapeutic vulnerabilities. A computational approach for unbiased identification of core biological traits of single cells and bulk tumors uncovered four tumor cell states and GBM subtypes distributed along neurodevelopmental and metabolic axes, classified as proliferative/progenitor, neuronal, mitochondrial and glycolytic/plurimetabolic. Each subtype was enriched with biologically coherent multiomic features. Mitochondrial GBM was associated with the most favorable clinical outcome. It relied exclusively on oxidative phosphorylation for energy production, whereas the glycolytic/plurimetabolic subtype was sustained by aerobic glycolysis and amino acid and lipid metabolism. Deletion of the glucose-proton symporter SLC45A1 was the truncal alteration most significantly associated with mitochondrial GBM, and the reintroduction of SLC45A1 in mitochondrial glioma cells induced acidification and loss of fitness. Mitochondrial, but not glycolytic/plurimetabolic, GBM exhibited marked vulnerability to inhibitors of oxidative phosphorylation. The pathway-based classification of GBM informs survival and enables precision targeting of cancer metabolism.
  5. Sci Rep. 2021 Mar 11. 11(1): 5665
      The alkylating agent, temozolomide (TMZ), is the most commonly used chemotherapeutic for the treatment of glioblastoma (GBM). The anti-glioma effect of TMZ involves a complex response that includes G2-M cell cycle arrest and cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) activation. While CDK1 phosphorylation is a well-described consequence of TMZ treatment, we find that TMZ also robustly induces CDK1 expression. Analysis of this pathway demonstrates that CDK1 is regulated by NF-κB via a putative κB-site in its proximal promoter. CDK1 was induced in a manner dependent on mature p50 and the atypical inhibitor κB protein, BCL-3. Treatment with TMZ induced binding of NF-κB to the κB-site as assessed by gel shift analysis and chromatin immunoprecipitation. Examination of a CDK1 promoter-reporter demonstrated the functional relevance of the κB-site and underlined the requirement of p50 and BCL-3 for activation. Targeted knockdown of CDK1 or chemical inhibition with the selective CDK1 inhibitor, RO-3306, potentiated the cytotoxic effect of TMZ. These results identify CDK1 as an NF-κB target gene regulated by p50 and BCL-3 and suggest that targeting CDK1 may be a strategy to improve the efficacy of TMZ against GBM.
  6. Neurooncol Adv. 2021 Jan-Dec;3(1):3(1): vdaa172
      Background: The molecular diagnosis of gliomas such as isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) status (wild-type [wt] or mutation [mut]) is especially important in the 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) classification. Positron emission tomography (PET) has afforded molecular and metabolic diagnostic imaging. The present study aimed to define the interrelationship between the 2016 WHO classification of gliomas and the integrated data from PET images using multiple tracers, including 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG), 11C-methionine (11C-MET), 18F-fluorothymidine (18F-FLT), and 18F-fluoromisonidazole (18F-FMISO).Methods: This retrospective, single-center study comprised 113 patients with newly diagnosed glioma based on the 2016 WHO criteria. Patients were divided into 4 glioma subtypes (Mut, Codel, Wt, and glioblastoma multiforme [GBM]). Tumor standardized uptake value (SUV) divided by mean normal cortical SUV (tumor-normal tissue ratio [TNR]) was calculated for 18F-FDG, 11C-MET, and 18F-FLT. Tumor-blood SUV ratio (TBR) was calculated for 18F-FMISO. To assess the diagnostic accuracy of PET tracers in distinguishing glioma subtypes, a comparative analysis of TNRs and TBR as well as the metabolic tumor volume (MTV) were calculated by Scheffe's multiple comparison procedure for each PET tracer following the Kruskal-Wallis test.
    Results: The differences in mean 18F-FLT TNR and 18F-FMISO TBR were significant between GBM and other glioma subtypes (P < .001). Regarding the comparison between Gd-T1WI volumes and 18F-FLT MTVs or 18F-FMISO MTVs, we identified significant differences between Wt and Mut or Codel (P < .01).
    Conclusion: Combined administration of 4 PET tracers might aid in the preoperative differential diagnosis of gliomas according to the 2016 WHO criteria.
    Keywords:  2016 World Health Organization classification; glioma; positron emission tomography
  7. Glia. 2021 Mar 11.
      The characterization of the tumor microenvironment (TME) in high grade gliomas (HGG) has generated significant interest in an effort to understand how neoplastic lesions in the central nervous system (CNS) are supported and to devise novel therapeutic targets. The TME of the CNS contains unique and specialized cells, including the resident myeloid cells, microglia. Myeloid involvement in HGG, such as glioblastoma, is associated with poor outcomes. Glioma-associated microglia and infiltrating monocytes/macrophages (GAM) accumulate within the neoplastic lesion where they facilitate tumor growth and drive immunosuppression. However, it has been difficult to differentiate whether microglia and macrophages have similar or distinct roles in pathology, and if the spatial organization of these cells informs outcomes. Here, we characterize the tumor-stroma border and identify peritumoral GAM (PGAM) as a unique subpopulation of GAM. Using data mining and analyses of samples derived from both murine and human sources we show that PGAM exhibit a pro-inflammatory and chemotactic phenotype that is associated with peripheral monocyte recruitment, and decreased overall survival. PGAM act as a unique subset of GAM at the tumor-stroma interface. We define a novel gene signature to identify these cells and suggest that PGAM constitute a cellular target of the TME.
    Keywords:  CCL2; GAM; P2RY12; glioma; leading edge; microglia
  8. Neuro Oncol. 2021 Mar 10. pii: noab057. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: Liquid biopsy is promising for early detection, monitoring of response and recurrence of cancer. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) limits the shedding of biomarker, such as cell-free DNA (cfDNA), into the blood, and their detection by conventional assays. Transcranial MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) can safely and transiently open the BBB, providing an opportunity for less-invasive access to brain pathology. We hypothesized MRgFUS can enrich the signal of circulating brain-derived biomarkers to aid in liquid biopsy.METHODS: Nine patients were treated in a prospective single-arm, open-label trial to investigate serial MRgFUS and adjuvant temozolomide combination in patients with glioblastoma (NCT03616860). Blood samples were collected as an exploratory measure within the hours before and after sonication, with control samples from non-brain tumor patients undergoing BBB opening alone (NCT03739905).
    RESULTS: Brain regions averaging 7.8±6.0 cm 3 (range 0.8-23.1 cm 3) were successful treated within 111±39 minutes without any serious adverse events. We found MRgFUS acutely enhanced plasma cfDNA (2.6±1.2 fold, p<0.01, Wilcoxon signed-rank test), neuron-derived extracellular vesicles (3.2±1.9 fold, p<0.01), and brain specific protein S100b (1.4±0.2 fold, p<0.01). Further comparison of the cfDNA methylation profiles suggests a signature that is disease and post-BBB opening specific, in keeping with our hypothesis. We also found cfDNA mutant copies of isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) increased, although this was in only one patient known to harbour the tumor mutation.
    CONCLUSIONS: This first-in-human proof-of concept study shows MRgFUS enriches the signal of circulating brain-derived biomarkers, demonstrating the potential of the technology to support liquid biopsy for the brain.
    Keywords:  blood-brain barrier; brain tumor; focused ultrasound; glioblastoma; liquid biopsy
  9. Methods Mol Biol. 2021 ;2269 37-47
      Ionizing radiation is a critical component of glioblastoma (GBM) therapy. Recent data have implicated glioblastoma stem-like cells (GSCs) as determinants of GBM development, maintenance, and treatment response. Understanding the response of GSCs to radiation should thus provide insight into the development of improved GBM treatment strategies. Towards this end, in vitro techniques for the analysis of GSC radiosensitivity are an essential starting point. One such method, the clonogenic survival assay has been adapted to assessing the intrinsic radiosensitivity of GSCs and is described here. As an alternative method, the limiting dilution assay is presented for defining the radiosensitivity of GSC lines that do not form colonies or only grow as neurospheres. In addition to these cellular strategies, we describe γH2AX foci analysis, which provides a surrogate marker for radiosensitivity at the molecular level. Taken together, the in vitro methods presented here provide tools for defining intrinsic radiosensitivity of GSCs and for testing agents that may enhance GBM radioresponse.
    Keywords:  Clonogenic survival; Glioblastoma; In vitro radiosensitivity; Limiting dilution assay; γH2AX
  10. Neuro Oncol. 2021 Mar 11. pii: noab064. [Epub ahead of print]
    Keywords:  Brainstem gliomas; DIPG; High-grade glioma; epidemiology
  11. Sci Rep. 2021 Mar 11. 11(1): 5771
      Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive brain tumor type in adults. GBM is heterogeneous, with a compact core lesion surrounded by an invasive tumor front. This front is highly relevant for tumor recurrence but is generally non-detectable using standard imaging techniques. Recent studies demonstrated distinct metabolic profiles of the invasive phenotype in GBM. Magnetic resonance (MR) of hyperpolarized 13C-labeled probes is a rapidly advancing field that provides real-time metabolic information. Here, we applied hyperpolarized 13C-glucose MR to mouse GBM models. Compared to controls, the amount of lactate produced from hyperpolarized glucose was higher in the compact GBM model, consistent with the accepted "Warburg effect". However, the opposite response was observed in models reflecting the invasive zone, with less lactate produced than in controls, implying a reduction in aerobic glycolysis. These striking differences could be used to map the metabolic heterogeneity in GBM and to visualize the infiltrative front of GBM.
  12. Oncogene. 2021 Mar 11.
      Focal amplification of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and its ligand-independent, constitutively active EGFRvIII mutant form are prominent oncogenic drivers in glioblastoma (GBM). The EGFRvIII gene rearrangement is considered to be an initiating event in the etiology of GBM, however, the mechanistic details of how EGFRvIII drives cellular transformation and tumor maintenance remain unclear. Here, we report that EGFRvIII demonstrates a reliance on PDGFRA co-stimulatory signaling during the tumorigenic process in a genetically engineered autochthonous GBM model. This dependency exposes liabilities that were leveraged using kinase inhibitors treatments in EGFRvIII-expressing GBM patient-derived xenografts (PDXs), where simultaneous pharmacological inhibition of EGFRvIII and PDGFRA kinase activities is necessary for anti-tumor efficacy. Our work establishes that EGFRvIII-positive tumors have unexplored vulnerabilities to targeted agents concomitant to the EGFR kinase inhibitor repertoire.
  13. Sci Rep. 2021 Mar 11. 11(1): 5710
      The prognosis for high-grade glioma (HGG) remains dismal and the extent of resection correlates with overall survival and progression free disease. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a biomarker heterogeneously expressed in HGG. We assessed the feasibility of detecting HGG using near-infrared fluorescent antibody targeting EGFR. Mice bearing orthotopic HGG xenografts with modest EGFR expression were imaged in vivo after systemic panitumumab-IRDye800 injection to assess its tumor-specific uptake macroscopically over 14 days, and microscopically ex vivo. EGFR immunohistochemical staining of 59 tumor specimens from 35 HGG patients was scored by pathologists and expression levels were compared to that of mouse xenografts. Intratumoral distribution of panitumumab-IRDye800 correlated with near-infrared fluorescence and EGFR expression. Fluorescence distinguished tumor cells with 90% specificity and 82.5% sensitivity. Target-to-background ratios peaked at 14 h post panitumumab-IRDye800 infusion, reaching 19.5 in vivo and 7.6 ex vivo, respectively. Equivalent or higher EGFR protein expression compared to the mouse xenografts was present in 77.1% HGG patients. Age, combined with IDH-wildtype cerebral tumor, was predictive of greater EGFR protein expression in human tumors. Tumor specific uptake of panitumumab-IRDye800 provided remarkable contrast and a flexible imaging window for fluorescence-guided identification of HGGs despite modest EGFR expression.
  14. Neuro Oncol. 2021 Mar 11. pii: noab065. [Epub ahead of print]
  15. Nat Rev Neurol. 2021 Mar 10.
      Microglia are the resident innate immune cells of the immune-privileged CNS and, as such, represent the first line of defence against tissue injury and infection. Given their location, microglia are undoubtedly the first immune cells to encounter a developing primary brain tumour. Our knowledge of these cells is therefore important to consider in the context of such neoplasms. As the heterogeneous nature of the most aggressive primary brain tumours is thought to underlie their poor prognosis, this Review places a special emphasis on the heterogeneity of the tumour-associated microglia and macrophage populations present in primary brain tumours. Where available, specific information on microglial heterogeneity in various types and subtypes of brain tumour is included. Emerging evidence that highlights the importance of considering the heterogeneity of both the tumour and of microglial populations in providing improved treatment outcomes for patients is also discussed.
  16. Free Radic Biol Med. 2021 Mar 09. pii: S0891-5849(21)00136-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      The macrophage capping protein CAPG belongs to the gelsolin superfamily which modulates actin dynamics by capping the growing end of actin filaments in a Ca2+- and PIP2-dependent manner resulting in polymerization inhibition of actin filaments. In the last years, additional functions for CAPG in transcription regulation were described and higher CAPG amounts have been linked to increased invasiveness and migration behavior in different human tumor entities like e.g. glioblastoma. Nevertheless, there is a lack of knowledge how additional functions of CAPG are regulated. As CAPG contains several cysteine residues which may be accessible to oxidation we were especially interested to investigate how alterations in the cysteine oxidation state may influence the function, localization, and regulation of CAPG. In the present study, we provide strong evidence that CAPG is a redox-sensitive protein and identified two cysteines: C282 and C290 as reversibly oxidized in glioblastoma cell lines. Whereas no evidence could be found that the canonical actin capping function of CAPG is redox-regulated, our results point to a novel role of the identified cysteines in the regulation of cell migration. Along with this, we found a localization shift out of the nucleus of CAPG and RAVER1, a potential interaction partner identified in our study which might explain the observed altered cell migration properties. The newly identified redox sensitive cysteines of CAPG could perspectively be considered as new targets for controlling tumor invasive properties.
    Keywords:  CAPG; Cysteine oxidation; Glioblastoma; Migration; RAVER1; Redox regulation
  17. Mitochondrion. 2021 Mar 03. pii: S1567-7249(21)00029-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      The presence of different sets of mitochondrial polymorphisms generated by the accumulation of mutations in different maternal lineages has allowed differentiating mitochondrial haplogroups in human populations. These polymorphisms, in turn, may have effects at the phenotypic level, considering a possible contribution of these germinal mutations to the development of certain diseases such as cancer. The main goal of the present study is to establish a possible association between mitochondrial haplogroups and the risk of suffering glioma. Blood samples were obtained from 32 patients from Catalonia (Spain) diagnosed with different grades of glioma (II, III and IV), according to the World Health Organization. The mitochondrial genome was amplified and sequenced using MiSeq 2000 (Illumina). The HaploGrep tool implemented in mtDNA-Server v.1.0.5 was used for the identification of mitochondrial haplogroups. Data obtained in the present study was further pooled with data from previous European studies including glioma patients from Galicia (Spain) and Italy. Results for the Catalonian samples showed an association between individuals with haplogroup J and the increased risk of suffering glioma, with a significant increase of the frequency of individuals with this haplogroup (25%) regarding the general population (7%). Combining different sets of patients with European origin, it appears that individuals with haplogroups J and T have a significantly higher risk of suffering glioma (p<0.001; OR: 2.407 and p=0.007; OR: 1.82, respectively). This is the first study that establishes an association between different mitochondrial haplogroups and the risk of suffering glioma, highlighting the role of mitochondrial variants in this disease.
    Keywords:  Glioma; Mitochondrial DNA; Mitochondrial haplogroups