bims-malgli Biomed News
on Biology of malignant gliomas
Issue of 2021‒03‒28
ten papers selected by
Oltea Sampetrean
Keio University

  1. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2021 Mar 25. 9(1): 54
      Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive and deadliest of the primary brain tumors, characterized by malignant growth, invasion into the brain parenchyma, and resistance to therapy. GBM is a heterogeneous disease characterized by high degrees of both inter- and intra-tumor heterogeneity. Another layer of complexity arises from the unique brain microenvironment in which GBM develops and grows. The GBM microenvironment consists of neoplastic and non-neoplastic cells. The most abundant non-neoplastic cells are those of the innate immune system, called tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). TAMs constitute up to 40% of the tumor mass and consist of both brain-resident microglia and bone marrow-derived myeloid cells from the periphery. Although genetically stable, TAMs can change their expression profiles based upon the signals that they receive from tumor cells; therefore, heterogeneity in GBM creates heterogeneity in TAMs. By interacting with tumor cells and with the other non-neoplastic cells in the tumor microenvironment, TAMs promote tumor progression. Here, we review the origin, heterogeneity, and functional roles of TAMs. In addition, we discuss the prospects of therapeutically targeting TAMs alone or in combination with standard or newly-emerging GBM targeting therapies.
    Keywords:  Glioblastoma; Heterogeneity; Macrophages; Microenvironment; Microglia
  2. Neurooncol Adv. 2021 Jan-Dec;3(1):3(1): vdab023
      Background: Although immunotherapy works well in glioblastoma (GBM) preclinical mouse models, the therapy has not demonstrated efficacy in humans. To address this anomaly, we developed a novel humanized microbiome (HuM) model to study the response to immunotherapy in a preclinical mouse model of GBM.Methods: We used 5 healthy human donors for fecal transplantation of gnotobiotic mice. After the transplanted microbiomes stabilized, the mice were bred to generate 5 independent humanized mouse lines (HuM1-HuM5).
    Results: Analysis of shotgun metagenomic sequencing data from fecal samples revealed a unique microbiome with significant differences in diversity and microbial composition among HuM1-HuM5 lines. All HuM mouse lines were susceptible to GBM transplantation, and exhibited similar median survival ranging from 19 to 26 days. Interestingly, we found that HuM lines responded differently to the immune checkpoint inhibitor anti-PD-1. Specifically, we demonstrate that HuM1, HuM4, and HuM5 mice are nonresponders to anti-PD-1, while HuM2 and HuM3 mice are responsive to anti-PD-1 and displayed significantly increased survival compared to isotype controls. Bray-Curtis cluster analysis of the 5 HuM gut microbial communities revealed that responders HuM2 and HuM3 were closely related, and detailed taxonomic comparison analysis revealed that Bacteroides cellulosilyticus was commonly found in HuM2 and HuM3 with high abundances.
    Conclusions: The results of our study establish the utility of humanized microbiome mice as avatars to delineate features of the host interaction with gut microbial communities needed for effective immunotherapy against GBM.
    Keywords:  GL261; anti-PD-1; glioblastoma; immunotherapy; microbiome
  3. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2021 Mar 24. 9(1): 50
      Despite aggressive multimodal treatment, glioblastoma (GBM), a grade IV primary brain tumor, still portends a poor prognosis with a median overall survival of 12-16 months. The complexity of GBM treatment mainly lies in the inter- and intra-tumoral heterogeneity, which largely contributes to the treatment-refractory and recurrent nature of GBM. By paving the road towards the development of personalized medicine for GBM patients, the cancer genome atlas classification scheme of GBM into distinct transcriptional subtypes has been considered an invaluable approach to overcoming this heterogeneity. Among the identified transcriptional subtypes, the mesenchymal subtype has been found associated with more aggressive, invasive, angiogenic, hypoxic, necrotic, inflammatory, and multitherapy-resistant features than other transcriptional subtypes. Accordingly, mesenchymal GBM patients were found to exhibit worse prognosis than other subtypes when patients with high transcriptional heterogeneity were excluded. Furthermore, identification of the master mesenchymal regulators and their downstream signaling pathways has not only increased our understanding of the complex regulatory transcriptional networks of mesenchymal GBM, but also has generated a list of potent inhibitors for clinical trials. Importantly, the mesenchymal transition of GBM has been found to be tightly associated with treatment-induced phenotypic changes in recurrence. Together, these findings indicate that elucidating the governing and plastic transcriptomic natures of mesenchymal GBM is critical in order to develop novel and selective therapeutic strategies that can improve both patient care and clinical outcomes. Thus, the focus of our review will be on the recent advances in the understanding of the transcriptome of mesenchymal GBM and discuss microenvironmental, metabolic, and treatment-related factors as critical components through which the mesenchymal signature may be acquired. We also take into consideration the transcriptomic plasticity of GBM to discuss the future perspectives in employing selective therapeutic strategies against mesenchymal GBM.
    Keywords:  Glioblastoma; Master transcriptional regulator; Mesenchymal transition; TAMs; Transcriptomic plasticity
  4. Neuro Oncol. 2021 Mar 20. pii: noab072. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: Epidemiological studies of adult glioma have identified genetic syndromes and 25 heritable risk loci that modify individual risk for glioma, as well increased risk in association with exposure to ionizing radiation and decreased risk in association with allergies. In this analysis we assess whether there is shared genome-wide genetic architecture between glioma and atopic/autoimmune diseases.METHODS: Using summary statistics from a glioma genome-wide association studies (GWAS) meta-analysis, we identified significant enrichment for risk variants associated with gene expression changes in immune cell populations. We also estimated genetic correlations between glioma and autoimmune, atopic, and hematologic traits using LDscore regression, which leverages genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) associations and patterns of linkage disequilibrium.
    RESULTS: Nominally significant negative correlations were observed for glioblastoma and primary biliary cirrhosis (rg=-0.26, p=0.0228), and for non-glioblastoma gliomas and celiac disease (rg=-0.32, p=0.0109). Our analyses implicate dendritic cells (GB pHM= 0.0306 and non-GB pHM=0.0186) in mediating both glioblastoma and non-glioblastoma genetic predisposition, with glioblastoma-specific associations identified in natural killer (NK) (pHM=0.0201) and stem cells (pHM=0.0265).
    CONCLUSIONS: This analysis identifies putative new associations between glioma and autoimmune conditions with genomic architecture that is inversely correlated with that of glioma and that T cells, NK cells, and myeloid cells are involved in mediating glioma predisposition. This provides further evidence that increased activation of the acquired immune system may modify individual susceptibility to glioma.
    Keywords:  Glioma; allergies; autoimmune disease; genetic architecture; heritability
  5. iScience. 2021 Mar 19. 24(3): 102238
      Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most aggressive type of brain tumor with poor survival rate. Temozolomide (TMZ) is used as standard chemotherapy to treat GBM, but a large number of patients either respond poorly and/or develop resistance after long-term use, emphasizing the need to develop potent drugs with novel mechanisms of action. Here, using high-throughput compound screening (HTS), we found that azathioprine, an immunosuppressant, is a promising therapeutic agent to treat TMZ-resistant GBM. Through integrative genome-wide analysis and global proteomic analysis, we found that elevated lipid metabolism likely due to hyperactive EGFR/AKT/SREBP-1 signaling was inhibited by azathioprine. Azathioprine also promoted ER stress-induced apoptosis. Analysis of orthotopic xenograft models injected with patient-derived GBM cells revealed reduced tumor volume and increased apoptosis after azathioprine and TMZ co-treatment. These data indicate that azathioprine could be a powerful therapeutic option for TMZ-resistant GBM patients.
    Keywords:  Biological Sciences; Cancer; Cancer Systems Biology; Cell Biology; Proteomics
  6. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Mar 30. pii: e2008772118. [Epub ahead of print]118(13):
      Most glioblastomas (GBMs) achieve cellular immortality by acquiring a mutation in the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) promoter. TERT promoter mutations create a binding site for a GA binding protein (GABP) transcription factor complex, whose assembly at the promoter is associated with TERT reactivation and telomere maintenance. Here, we demonstrate increased binding of a specific GABPB1L-isoform-containing complex to the mutant TERT promoter. Furthermore, we find that TERT promoter mutant GBM cells, unlike wild-type cells, exhibit a critical near-term dependence on GABPB1L for proliferation, notably also posttumor establishment in vivo. Up-regulation of the protein paralogue GABPB2, which is normally expressed at very low levels, can rescue this dependence. More importantly, when combined with frontline temozolomide (TMZ) chemotherapy, inducible GABPB1L knockdown and the associated TERT reduction led to an impaired DNA damage response that resulted in profoundly reduced growth of intracranial GBM tumors. Together, these findings provide insights into the mechanism of cancer-specific TERT regulation, uncover rapid effects of GABPB1L-mediated TERT suppression in GBM maintenance, and establish GABPB1L inhibition in combination with chemotherapy as a therapeutic strategy for TERT promoter mutant GBM.
    Keywords:  CRISPR; TERT; cancer; glioblastoma; temozolomide
  7. Oncogene. 2021 Mar 25.
      Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) induces tumor cell-specific apoptosis, making it a prime therapeutic candidate. However, many tumor cells are either innately TRAIL-resistant, or they acquire resistance with adaptive mechanisms that remain poorly understood. In this study, we generated acquired TRAIL resistance models using multiple glioblastoma (GBM) cell lines to assess the molecular alterations in the TRAIL-resistant state. We selected TRAIL-resistant cells through chronic and long-term TRAIL exposure and noted that they showed persistent resistance both in vitro and in vivo. Among known TRAIL-sensitizers, proteosome inhibitor Bortezomib, but not HDAC inhibitor MS-275, was effective in overcoming resistance in all cell models. This was partly achieved through upregulating death receptors and pro-apoptotic proteins, and downregulating major anti-apoptotic members, Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. We showed that CRISPR/Cas9 mediated silencing of DR5 could block Bortezomib-mediated re-sensitization, demonstrating its critical role. While overexpression of Bcl-2 or Bcl-xL was sufficient to confer resistance to TRAIL-sensitive cells, it failed to override Bortezomib-mediated re-sensitization. With RNA sequencing in multiple paired TRAIL-sensitive and TRAIL-resistant cells, we identified major alterations in inflammatory signaling, particularly in the NF-κB pathway. Inhibiting NF-κB substantially sensitized the most resistant cells to TRAIL, however, the sensitization effect was not as great as what was observed with Bortezomib. Together, our findings provide new models of acquired TRAIL resistance, which will provide essential tools to gain further insight into the heterogeneous therapy responses within GBM tumors. Additionally, these findings emphasize the critical importance of combining proteasome inhibitors and pro-apoptotic ligands to overcome acquired resistance.
  8. Nat Commun. 2021 Mar 26. 12(1): 1912
      Glioblastoma (GB) is a highly invasive type of brain cancer exhibiting poor prognosis. As such, its microenvironment plays a crucial role in its progression. Among the brain stromal cells, the microglia were shown to facilitate GB invasion and immunosuppression. However, the reciprocal mechanisms by which GB cells alter microglia/macrophages behavior are not fully understood. We propose that these mechanisms involve adhesion molecules such as the Selectins family. These proteins are involved in immune modulation and cancer immunity. We show that P-selectin mediates microglia-enhanced GB proliferation and invasion by altering microglia/macrophages activation state. We demonstrate these findings by pharmacological and molecular inhibition of P-selectin which leads to reduced tumor growth and increased survival in GB mouse models. Our work sheds light on tumor-associated microglia/macrophage function and the mechanisms by which GB cells suppress the immune system and invade the brain, paving the way to exploit P-selectin as a target for GB therapy.
  9. Sci Rep. 2021 Mar 22. 11(1): 6521
      Drug delivery in diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma is significantly limited by the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Focused ultrasound (FUS), when combined with the administration of microbubbles can effectively open the BBB permitting the entry of drugs across the cerebrovasculature into the brainstem. Given that the utility of FUS in brainstem malignancies remains unknown, the purpose of our study was to determine the safety and feasibility of this technique in a murine pontine glioma model. A syngeneic orthotopic model was developed by stereotactic injection of PDGF-B+PTEN-/-p53-/- murine glioma cells into the pons of B6 mice. A single-element, spherical-segment 1.5 MHz ultrasound transducer driven by a function generator through a power amplifier was used with concurrent intravenous microbubble injection for tumor sonication. Mice were randomly assigned to control, FUS and double-FUS groups. Pulse and respiratory rates were continuously monitored during treatment. BBB opening was confirmed with gadolinium-enhanced MRI and Evans blue. Kondziela inverted screen testing and sequential weight lifting measured motor function before and after sonication. A subset of animals were treated with etoposide following ultrasound. Mice were either sacrificed for tissue analysis or serially monitored for survival with daily weights. FUS successfully caused BBB opening while preserving normal cardiorespiratory and motor function. Furthermore, the degree of intra-tumoral hemorrhage and inflammation on H&E in control and treated mice was similar. There was also no difference in weight loss and survival between the groups (p > 0.05). Lastly, FUS increased intra-tumoral etoposide concentration by more than fivefold. FUS is a safe and feasible technique for repeated BBB opening and etoposide delivery in a preclinical pontine glioma model.