bims-malgli Biomed News
on Biology of malignant gliomas
Issue of 2021‒04‒04
seventeen papers selected by
Oltea Sampetrean
Keio University

  1. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Mar 24. pii: 3301. [Epub ahead of print]22(7):
      Different functional states determine glioblastoma (GBM) heterogeneity. Brain cancer cells coexist with the glial cells in a functional syncytium based on a continuous metabolic rewiring. However, standard glioma therapies do not account for the effects of the glial cells within the tumor microenvironment. This may be a possible reason for the lack of improvements in patients with high-grade gliomas therapies. Cell metabolism and bioenergetic fitness depend on the availability of nutrients and interactions in the microenvironment. It is strictly related to the cell location in the tumor mass, proximity to blood vessels, biochemical gradients, and tumor evolution, underlying the influence of the context and the timeline in anti-tumor therapeutic approaches. Besides the cancer metabolic strategies, here we review the modifications found in the GBM-associated glia, focusing on morphological, molecular, and metabolic features. We propose to analyze the GBM metabolic rewiring processes from a systems biology perspective. We aim at defining the crosstalk between GBM and the glial cells as modules. The complex networking may be expressed by metabolic modules corresponding to the GBM growth and spreading phases. Variation in the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) rate and regulation appears to be the most important part of the metabolic and functional heterogeneity, correlating with glycolysis and response to hypoxia. Integrated metabolic modules along with molecular and morphological features could allow the identification of key factors for controlling the GBM-stroma metabolism in multi-targeted, time-dependent therapies.
    Keywords:  astrocytes; cross-talk; disease progression; glycolysis; high-grade glioma; hypoxia; metabolism; microglia; modules; oxidative phosphorylation
  2. Cells. 2021 Mar 11. pii: 621. [Epub ahead of print]10(3):
      Cancer stem cells (CSCs), known also as tumor-initiating cells, are quiescent, pluripotent, self-renewing neoplastic cells that were first identified in hematologic tumors and soon after in solid malignancies. CSCs have attracted remarkable research interest due to their role in tumor resistance to chemotherapy and radiation treatment as well as recurrence. Extensive research has been devoted to the role of CSCs in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common primary brain tumor in adults, which is characterized by a dismal prognosis because of its aggressive course and poor response to treatment. The aim of the current paper is to provide an overview of current knowledge on the role of cancer stem cells in the pathogenesis and treatment resistance of glioblastoma. The six regulatory mechanisms of glioma stem cells (GSCs)-tumor microenvironment, niche concept, metabolism, immunity, genetics, and epigenetics-are reviewed. The molecular markers used to identify GSCs are described. The role of GSCs in the treatment resistance of glioblastoma is reviewed, along with future treatment options targeting GSCs. Stem cells of glioblastoma thus represent both a driving mechanism of major treatment difficulties and a possible target for more effective future approaches.
    Keywords:  cancer; cancer stem cells; glioblastoma; glioma; glioma stem cells
  3. Cells. 2021 Mar 10. pii: 613. [Epub ahead of print]10(3):
      Glioblastoma is characterized by extensive necrotic areas with surrounding hypoxia. The cancer cell response to hypoxia in these areas is well-described; it involves a metabolic shift and an increase in stem cell-like characteristics. Less is known about the hypoxic response of tumor-associated astrocytes, a major component of the glioma tumor microenvironment. Here, we used primary human astrocytes and a genetically engineered glioma mouse model to investigate the response of this stromal cell type to hypoxia. We found that astrocytes became reactive in response to intermediate and severe hypoxia, similarly to irradiated and temozolomide-treated astrocytes. Hypoxic astrocytes displayed a potent hypoxia response that appeared to be driven primarily by hypoxia-inducible factor 2-alpha (HIF-2α). This response involved the activation of classical HIF target genes and the increased production of hypoxia-associated cytokines such as TGF-β1, IL-3, angiogenin, VEGF-A, and IL-1 alpha. In vivo, astrocytes were present in proximity to perinecrotic areas surrounding HIF-2α expressing cells, suggesting that hypoxic astrocytes contribute to the glioma microenvironment. Extracellular matrix derived from hypoxic astrocytes increased the proliferation and drug efflux capability of glioma cells. Together, our findings suggest that hypoxic astrocytes are implicated in tumor growth and potentially stemness maintenance by remodeling the tumor microenvironment.
    Keywords:  astrocytes; glioma microenvironment; tumor hypoxia
  4. Sci Rep. 2021 Apr 01. 11(1): 7422
      Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most aggressive primary brain tumor. The effectiveness of traditional therapies for GBM is limited and therefore new therapies are highly desired. Previous studies show that lipid metabolism reprogramming may be a potential therapeutic target in GBM. This study aims to evaluate the therapeutic potential of free fatty acid-induced lipotoxicity for the suppression of glioma growth. U87 glioma cells are treated with three fatty acids (FAs): palmitic acid (PA), oleic acid (OA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Uptake of the FAs and formation of lipid droplets (LDs) are imaged and quantified using a lab-built stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscope. Our results show that a supply of 200 µM PA, OA, and EPA leads to efficient LDs accumulation in glioma cells. We find that inhibition of triglycerides (TAGs) synthesis depletes LDs and enhances lipotoxicity, which is evidenced by the reduced cell proliferation rates. In particular, our results suggest that EPA treatment combined with depletion of LDs significantly reduces the survival rate of glioma cells by more than 50%, indicating the therapeutic potential of this approach. Future work will focus on understanding the metabolic mechanism of EPA-induced lipotoxicity to further enhance its anticancer effects.
  5. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Mar 16. pii: 1327. [Epub ahead of print]13(6):
      Altered metabolic processes contribute to carcinogenesis by modulating proliferation, survival and differentiation. Tumours are composed of different cell populations, with cancer stem-like cells being one of the most prominent examples. This specific pool of cells is thought to be responsible for cancer growth and recurrence and plays a particularly relevant role in glioblastoma (GBM), the most lethal form of primary brain tumours. Here, we have analysed the transcriptome and metabolome of an established GBM cell line (U87) and a patient-derived GBM stem-like cell line (NCH644) exposed to neurosphere or monolayer culture conditions. By integrating transcriptome and metabolome data, we identified key metabolic pathways and gene signatures that are associated with stem-like and differentiated states in GBM cells, and demonstrated that neurospheres and monolayer cells differ substantially in their metabolism and gene regulation. Furthermore, arginine biosynthesis was identified as the most significantly regulated pathway in neurospheres, although individual nodes of this pathway were distinctly regulated in the two cellular systems. Neurosphere conditions, as opposed to monolayer conditions, cause a transcriptomic and metabolic rewiring that may be crucial for the regulation of stem-like features, where arginine biosynthesis may be a key metabolic pathway. Additionally, TCGA data from GBM patients showed significant regulation of specific components of the arginine biosynthesis pathway, providing further evidence for the importance of this metabolic pathway in GBM.
    Keywords:  arginine metabolism; glioblastoma; metabolome; monolayer; neurospheres; transcriptome
  6. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Mar 29. pii: 1560. [Epub ahead of print]13(7):
      With a dismally low median survival of less than two years after diagnosis, Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most lethal type of brain cancer. The standard-of-care of surgical resection, followed by DNA-damaging chemo-/radiotherapy, is often non-curative. In part, this is because individual cells close to the resection border remain alive and eventually undergo renewed proliferation. These residual, therapy-resistant cells lead to rapid recurrence, against which no effective treatment exists to date. Thus, new experimental approaches need to be developed against residual disease to prevent GBM survival and recurrence. Cellular senescence is an attractive area for the development of such new approaches. Senescence can occur in healthy cells when they are irreparably damaged. Senescent cells develop a chronic secretory phenotype that is generally considered pro-tumorigenic and pro-migratory. Age is a negative prognostic factor for GBM stage, and, with age, senescence steadily increases. Moreover, chemo-/radiotherapy can provide an additional increase in senescence close to the tumor. In light of this, we will review the importance of senescence in the tumor-supportive brain parenchyma, focusing on the invasion and growth of GBM in residual disease. We will propose a future direction on the application of anti-senescence therapies against recurrent GBM.
    Keywords:  CD44; GBM; IL8; NFkB; SASP; glioma stem cells; residual disease; senescence; wnt
  7. Cell Rep. 2021 Mar 30. pii: S2211-1247(21)00217-5. [Epub ahead of print]34(13): 108903
      Across the animal kingdom, adult tissue homeostasis is regulated by adult stem cell activity, which is commonly dysregulated in human cancers. However, identifying key regulators of stem cells in the milieu of thousands of genes dysregulated in a given cancer is challenging. Here, using a comparative genomics approach between planarian adult stem cells and patient-derived glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs), we identify and demonstrate the role of DEAD-box helicase DDX56 in regulating aspects of stemness in four stem cell systems: planarians, mouse neural stem cells, human GSCs, and a fly model of glioblastoma. In a human GSC line, DDX56 localizes to the nucleolus, and using planarians, when DDX56 is lost, stem cells dysregulate expression of ribosomal RNAs and lose nucleolar integrity prior to stem cell death. Together, a comparative genomic approach can be used to uncover conserved stemness regulators that are functional in both normal and cancer stem cells.
    Keywords:  DDX56; RNAi; adult stem cells; cancer stem cells; comparative genomics; evolution of stem cells; glioblastoma; planarians; stemness
  8. Nat Neurosci. 2021 Apr;24(4): 595-610
      Glioblastomas are aggressive primary brain cancers that recur as therapy-resistant tumors. Myeloid cells control glioblastoma malignancy, but their dynamics during disease progression remain poorly understood. Here, we employed single-cell RNA sequencing and CITE-seq to map the glioblastoma immune landscape in mouse tumors and in patients with newly diagnosed disease or recurrence. This revealed a large and diverse myeloid compartment, with dendritic cell and macrophage populations that were conserved across species and dynamic across disease stages. Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) consisted of microglia- or monocyte-derived populations, with both exhibiting additional heterogeneity, including subsets with conserved lipid and hypoxic signatures. Microglia- and monocyte-derived TAMs were self-renewing populations that competed for space and could be depleted via CSF1R blockade. Microglia-derived TAMs were predominant in newly diagnosed tumors, but were outnumbered by monocyte-derived TAMs following recurrence, especially in hypoxic tumor environments. Our results unravel the glioblastoma myeloid landscape and provide a framework for future therapeutic interventions.
  9. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Mar 24. pii: 1494. [Epub ahead of print]13(7):
      RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) function as master regulators of gene expression. Alterations in their levels are often observed in tumors with numerous oncogenic RBPs identified in recent years. Musashi1 (Msi1) is an RBP and stem cell gene that controls the balance between self-renewal and differentiation. High Msi1 levels have been observed in multiple tumors including glioblastoma and are often associated with poor patient outcomes and tumor growth. A comprehensive genomic analysis identified a network of cell cycle/division and DNA replication genes and established these processes as Msi1's core regulatory functions in glioblastoma. Msi1 controls this gene network via two mechanisms: direct interaction and indirect regulation mediated by the transcription factors E2F2 and E2F8. Moreover, glioblastoma lines with Msi1 knockout (KO) displayed increased sensitivity to cell cycle and DNA replication inhibitors. Our results suggest that a drug combination strategy (Msi1 + cell cycle/DNA replication inhibitors) could be a viable route to treat glioblastoma.
    Keywords:  DNA replication; E2F2; E2F8; Musashi1; cell cycle; cell division; glioblastoma
  10. Nat Nanotechnol. 2021 Apr 01.
      The poor transport of molecular and nanoscale agents through the blood-brain barrier together with tumour heterogeneity contribute to the dismal prognosis in patients with glioblastoma multiforme. Here, a biodegradable implant (μMESH) is engineered in the form of a micrometre-sized poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) mesh laid over a water-soluble poly(vinyl alcohol) layer. Upon poly(vinyl alcohol) dissolution, the flexible poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) mesh conforms to the resected tumour cavity as docetaxel-loaded nanomedicines and diclofenac molecules are continuously and directly released into the adjacent tumour bed. In orthotopic brain cancer models, generated with a conventional, reference cell line and patient-derived cells, a single μMESH application, carrying 0.75 mg kg-1 of docetaxel and diclofenac, abrogates disease recurrence up to eight months after tumour resection, with no appreciable adverse effects. Without tumour resection, the μMESH increases the median overall survival (∼30 d) as compared with the one-time intracranial deposition of docetaxel-loaded nanomedicines (15 d) or 10 cycles of systemically administered temozolomide (12 d). The μMESH modular structure, for the independent coloading of different molecules and nanomedicines, together with its mechanical flexibility, can be exploited to treat a variety of cancers, realizing patient-specific dosing and interventions.
  11. Cancer Res. 2021 Mar 29. pii: canres.3755.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
      Germline POT1 mutations are found in a spectrum of cancers and confer increased risk. Recently, we identified a series of novel germline POT1 mutations that predispose carrier families to the development of glioma. Despite these strong associations, how these glioma-associated POT1 mutations contribute to glioma tumorigenesis remains undefined. Here we show that POT1-G95C increases proliferation in glioma-initiating cells in vitro and in progenitor populations in the developing brain. In a native mouse model of glioma, loss of Pot1a/b resulted in decreased survival in females compared to males. These findings were corroborated in human glioma, where low POT1 expression correlated with decreased survival in females. Transcriptomic and immunohistochemistry profiling of Pot1a/b-deficient glioma revealed that tumors in females exhibited decreased expression of immune markers and increased expression of cell cycle signatures. Similar sex-dependent trends were observed in human gliomas that had low expression of POT1. Together, our studies demonstrate context-dependent functions for POT1 mutation or loss in driving progenitor proliferation in the developing brain and sexual dimorphism in glioma.
  12. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Mar 14. pii: 1287. [Epub ahead of print]13(6):
      Oncolytic virus (OV) therapy, which is being tested in clinical trials for glioblastoma, targets cancer cells, while triggering immune cells. Yet OV sensitivity varies from patient to patient. As OV therapy is regarded as an anti-tumor vaccine, by making OV-infected cancer cells secrete immunogenic proteins, linking these proteins to transcriptome would provide a measuring tool to predict their sensitivity. A set of six patient-derived glioblastoma cells treated ex-vivo with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) modeled a clinical setting of OV infection. The cellular transcriptome and secreted proteome (separated into extracellular vesicles (EV) and EV-depleted fractions) were analyzed by gene microarray and mass-spectroscopy, respectively. Data validation and in silico analysis measured and correlated the secretome content with the response to infection and patient survival. Glioblastoma cells reacted to the OV infection in a seemingly dissimilar fashion, but their transcriptomes changed in the same direction. Therefore, the upregulation of transcripts encoding for secreted proteins implies a common thread in the response of cancer cells to infection. Indeed, the OV-driven secretome is linked to the immune response. While these proteins have distinct membership in either EV or EV-depleted fractions, it is their co-secretion that augments the immune response and associates with favorable patient outcomes.
    Keywords:  cancer; exosomes; extracellular vesicles; glioblastoma; immune response; oncolytic virus; secretome
  13. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Mar 09. pii: 1184. [Epub ahead of print]13(5):
      Glioblastoma (GB) is the most common and the most aggressive form of brain tumor in adults, which currently lacks efficient treatment strategies. In this study, we investigated the therapeutic effect of function-blocking antibodies targeting integrin α10β1 on patient-derived-GB cell lines in vitro and in vivo. The in vitro studies demonstrated significant inhibiting effects of the integrin α10 antibodies on the adhesion, migration, proliferation, and sphere formation of GB cells. In a xenograft mouse model, the effect of the antibodies on tumor growth was investigated in luciferase-labeled and subcutaneously implanted GB cells. As demonstrated by in vivo imaging analysis and caliper measurements, the integrin α10-antibodies significantly suppressed GB tumor growth compared to control antibodies. Immunohistochemical analysis of the GB tumors showed lower expression of the proliferation marker Ki67 and an increased expression of cleaved caspase-3 after treatment with integrin α10 antibodies, further supporting a therapeutic effect. Our results suggest that function-blocking antibody targeting integrin α10β1 is a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of glioblastoma.
    Keywords:  collagen; function-blocking antibody; glioblastoma; integrin α10β1; migration; tumor growth
  14. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Mar 29. pii: 1574. [Epub ahead of print]13(7):
      SOX2 is a transcription factor associated with stem cell activity in several tissues. In cancer, SOX2 expression is increased in samples from several malignancies, including glioblastoma, and high SOX2 levels are associated with the population of tumor-initiating cells and with poor patient outcome. Therefore, understanding how SOX2 is regulated in cancer cells is relevant to tackle tumorigenesis. The SOX2 regulatory region 2(SRR2) is located downstream of the SOX2 coding region and mediates SOX2 expression in embryonic and adult stem cells. In this study, we deleted SRR2 using CRISPR/Cas9 in glioblastoma cells. Importantly, SRR2-deleted glioblastoma cells presented reduced SOX2 expression and decreased proliferative activity and self-renewal capacity in vitro. In line with these results, SRR2-deleted glioblastoma cells displayed decreased tumor initiation and growth in vivo. These effects correlated with an elevation of p21CIP1 cell cycle and p27KIP1 quiescence regulators. In conclusion, our data reveal that SRR2 deletion halts malignant activity of SOX2 and confirms that the SRR2 enhancer regulates SOX2 expression in cancer.
    Keywords:  SOX2; SRR2; cancer stem cells; glioblastomas; signaling
  15. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Mar 10. pii: 1198. [Epub ahead of print]13(6):
      Reticulocalbin 1 (RCN1) is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-residing protein, involved in promoting cell survival during pathophysiological conditions that lead to ER stress. However, the key upstream receptor tyrosine kinase that regulates RCN1 expression and its potential role in cell survival in the glioblastoma setting have not been determined. Here, we demonstrate that RCN1 expression significantly correlates with poor glioblastoma patient survival. We also demonstrate that glioblastoma cells with expression of EGFRvIII receptor also have high RCN1 expression. Over-expression of wildtype EGFR also correlated with high RCN1 expression, suggesting that EGFR and EGFRvIII regulate RCN1 expression. Importantly, cells that expressed EGFRvIII and subsequently showed high RCN1 expression displayed greater cell viability under ER stress compared to EGFRvIII negative glioblastoma cells. Consistently, we also demonstrated that RCN1 knockdown reduced cell viability and exogenous introduction of RCN1 enhanced cell viability following induction of ER stress. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that the EGFRvIII-RCN1-driven increase in cell survival is due to the inactivation of the ER stress markers ATF4 and ATF6, maintained expression of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 and reduced activity of caspase 3/7. Our current findings identify that EGFRvIII regulates RCN1 expression and that this novel association promotes cell survival in glioblastoma cells during ER stress.
    Keywords:  EGFRvIII; ER stress; RCN1; apoptosis; glioblastoma
  16. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2021 Apr 01. 9(1): 59
      Short survival of glioblastoma (GBM) patients is due to systematic tumor recurrence. Our laboratory identified a GBM cell subpopulation able to leave the tumor mass (TM) and invade the subventricular zone (SVZ-GBM cells). SVZ-GBM cells escape treatment and appear to contribute to GBM recurrence. This study aims to identify proteins specifically expressed by SVZ-GBM cells and to define their role(s) in GBM aggressiveness and recurrence. The proteome was compared between GBM cells located in the initial TM and SVZ-GBM cells using mass spectrometry. Among differentially expressed proteins, we confirmed B7-H3 by western blot (WB) and quantitative RT-PCR. B7-H3 expression was compared by immunohistochemistry and WB (including expression of its isoforms) between human GBM (N = 14) and non-cancerous brain tissue (N = 8), as well as newly diagnosed GBM and patient-matched recurrences (N = 11). Finally, the expression of B7-H3 was modulated with short hairpin RNA and/or over-expression vectors to determine its functional role in GBM using in vitro assays and a xenograft mouse model of GBM. B7-H3 was a marker for SVZ-GBM cells. It was also increased in human GBM pericytes, myeloid cells and neoplastic cells. B7-H3 inhibition in GBM cells reduced their tumorigenicity. Out of the two B7-H3 isoforms, only 2IgB7-H3 was detected in non-cancerous brain tissue, whereas 4IgB7-H3 was specific for GBM. 2IgB7-H3 expression was higher in GBM recurrences and increased resistance to temozolomide-mediated apoptosis. To conclude, 4IgB7-H3 is an interesting candidate for GBM targeted therapies, while 2IgB7-H3 could be involved in recurrence through resistance to chemotherapy.
    Keywords:  B7-H3; Glioblastoma; Isoforms; Recurrence