bims-malgli Biomed News
on Biology of malignant gliomas
Issue of 2021‒07‒25
thirteen papers selected by
Oltea Sampetrean
Keio University

  1. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Jul 16. pii: 3577. [Epub ahead of print]13(14):
      Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and most aggressive primary brain tumor, with a very high rate of recurrence and a median survival of 15 months after diagnosis. Abundant evidence suggests that a certain sub-population of cancer cells harbors a stem-like phenotype and is likely responsible for disease recurrence, treatment resistance and potentially even for the infiltrative growth of GBM. GBM incidence has been negatively correlated with the serum levels of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D3, while the low pH within tumors has been shown to promote the expression of the vitamin D3-degrading enzyme 24-hydroxylase, encoded by the CYP24A1 gene. Therefore, we hypothesized that calcitriol can specifically target stem-like glioblastoma cells and induce their differentiation. Here, we show, using in vitro limiting dilution assays, quantitative real-time PCR, quantitative proteomics and ex vivo adult organotypic brain slice transplantation cultures, that therapeutic doses of calcitriol, the hormonally active form of vitamin D3, reduce stemness to varying extents in a panel of investigated GSC lines, and that it effectively hinders tumor growth of responding GSCs ex vivo. We further show that calcitriol synergizes with Temozolomide ex vivo to completely eliminate some GSC tumors. These findings indicate that calcitriol carries potential as an adjuvant therapy for a subgroup of GBM patients and should be analyzed in more detail in follow-up studies.
    Keywords:  calcitriol; glioblastoma; glioblastoma stem-like cells; vitamin D3
  2. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Jul 20. pii: 3636. [Epub ahead of print]13(14):
      Glioblastoma (GBM) recurrence after treatment is almost inevitable but addressing this issue with adequate preclinical models has remained challenging. Here, we introduce a GBM mouse model allowing non-invasive and scalable de-bulking of a tumor mass located deeply in the brain, which can be combined with conventional therapeutic approaches. Strong reduction of the GBM volume is achieved after pharmacologically inducing a tumor-specific cell death mechanism. This is followed by GBM re-growth over a predictable timeframe. Pharmacological de-bulking followed by tumor relapse was accomplished with an orthotopic mouse glioma model. Relapsing experimental tumors recapitulated pathological features often observed in recurrent human GBM, like increased invasiveness or altered immune cell composition. Orthotopic implantation of GBM cells originating from biopsies of one patient at initial or follow-up treatment reproduced these findings. Interestingly, relapsing GBM of both models contained a much higher ratio of monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) versus microglia than primary GBM. This was not altered when combining pharmacological de-bulking with invasive surgery. We interpret that factors released from viable primary GBM cells preferentially attract microglia whereas relapsing tumors preponderantly release chemoattractants for MDM. All in all, this relapse model has the capacity to provide novel insights into clinically highly relevant aspects of GBM treatment.
    Keywords:  GBM relapse; HSV-thymidine kinase (HSVTK); ganciclovir (GCV); microglia; monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM); recurrent glioblastoma; tumor associated myeloid cells (TAM); tumor cell invasion
  3. Exp Cell Res. 2021 Jul 14. pii: S0014-4827(21)00289-5. [Epub ahead of print] 112736
      Electric field (EF) directed cell migration (electrotaxis) is known to occur in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and neural stem cells, with key signalling pathways frequently dysregulated in GBM. One such pathway is EGFR/PI3K/Akt, which is down-regulated by peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) agonists. We investigated the effect of electric fields on primary differentiated and glioma stem cell (GSCs) migration, finding opposing preferences for anodal and cathodal migration, respectively. We next sought to determine whether chemically disrupting Akt through PTEN upregulation with the PPARγ agonist, pioglitazone, would modulate electrotaxis of these cells. We found that directed cell migration was significantly inhibited with the addition of pioglitazone in both differentiated GBM and GSCs subtypes. Western blot analysis did not demonstrate any change in PPARγ expression with and without exposure to EF. In summary we demonstrate opposing EF responses in primary GBM differentiated cells and GSCs can be inhibited chemically by pioglitazone, implicating GBM EF modulation as a potential target in preventing tumour recurrence.
    Keywords:  Electric fields; Galvanotaxis; Glioblastoma; Glioma Stem Cells
  4. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 683276
      Glioblastoma is a primary malignant brain tumor with a median survival under 2 years. The poor prognosis glioblastoma caries is largely due to cellular invasion, which enables escape from resection, and drives inevitable recurrence. While most studies to date have focused on pathways that enhance the invasiveness of tumor cells in the brain microenvironment as the primary driving forces behind GBM's ability to invade adjacent tissues, more recent studies have identified a role for adaptations in cellular metabolism in GBM invasion. Metabolic reprogramming allows invasive cells to generate the energy necessary for colonizing surrounding brain tissue and adapt to new microenvironments with unique nutrient and oxygen availability. Historically, enhanced glycolysis, even in the presence of oxygen (the Warburg effect) has dominated glioblastoma research with respect to tumor metabolism. More recent global profiling experiments, however, have identified roles for lipid, amino acid, and nucleotide metabolism in tumor growth and invasion. A thorough understanding of the metabolic traits that define invasive GBM cells may provide novel therapeutic targets for this devastating disease. In this review, we focus on metabolic alterations that have been characterized in glioblastoma, the dynamic nature of tumor metabolism and how it is shaped by interaction with the brain microenvironment, and how metabolic reprogramming generates vulnerabilities that may be ripe for exploitation.
    Keywords:  brain tumor; glioblastoma; invasion; metabolism; microenvironment
  5. Neurooncol Adv. 2021 Jan-Dec;3(1):3(1): vdab072
      Background: CNS immune privilege has been challenged in recent years. Glioblastoma (GBM) immune dysfunction includes complex interactions with the immune system outside the CNS. The aim of this study was to determine diagnostic and prognostic potential of immune-related proteins in plasma in GBM and interrogate biomarker presence in the brain tumor microenvironment (TME).Methods: One hundred and fifty-eight patients with glioma WHO grade II-IV were included. Plasma collected at surgery was screened for 92 proteins using proximity extension assay technology and related to clinical outcome. Secretion and expression of candidate prognostic biomarkers were subsequently analyzed in 8 GBM cell lines and public RNAseq data.
    Results: Plasma levels of 20 out of 92 screened proteins were significantly different in patients with GBM compared to patients with astrocytoma WHO grade II-III. High plasma interleukin-8 (IL-8) (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.52; P = .0077) and low CD244 (HR = 0.36; P = .0004) were associated with short progression-free survival and high plasma IL-8 (HR = 1.40; P = .044) and low ICOS ligand (ICOSLG) (HR = 0.17; P = .0003) were associated with short overall survival (OS) in newly diagnosed patients with GBM. A similar trend was found for ICOSLG (HR = 0.34; P = .053) in recurrent GBM. IL-8 was mostly secreted and expressed by mesenchymal GBM cell lines and expressed by vascular cells and immune cells in the TME. This was also the case for ICOSLG, although less consistent, and with additional expression in tumor-associated oligodendrocytes.
    Conclusions: High plasma IL-8 and low ICOSLG at surgery are associated with short OS in newly diagnosed GBM. Source of plasma ICOSLG may be found outside the TME.
    Keywords:  ICOS ligand; IL-8; circulating biomarkers; glioblastoma
  6. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Jul 01. pii: 3304. [Epub ahead of print]13(13):
      Fibroblast activation protein (FAP) is a membrane-bound protease that is upregulated in a wide range of tumours and viewed as a marker of tumour-promoting stroma. Previously, we demonstrated increased FAP expression in glioblastomas and described its localisation in cancer and stromal cells. In this study, we show that FAP+ stromal cells are mostly localised in the vicinity of activated CD105+ endothelial cells and their quantity positively correlates with glioblastoma vascularisation. FAP+ mesenchymal cells derived from human glioblastomas are non-tumorigenic and mostly lack the cytogenetic aberrations characteristic of glioblastomas. Conditioned media from these cells induce angiogenic sprouting and chemotaxis of endothelial cells and promote migration and growth of glioma cells. In a chorioallantoic membrane assay, co-application of FAP+ mesenchymal cells with glioma cells was associated with enhanced abnormal angiogenesis, as evidenced by an increased number of erythrocytes in vessel-like structures and higher occurrence of haemorrhages. FAP+ mesenchymal cells express proangiogenic factors, but in comparison to normal pericytes exhibit decreased levels of antiangiogenic molecules and an increased Angiopoietin 2/1 ratio. Our results show that FAP+ mesenchymal cells promote angiogenesis and glioma cell migration and growth by paracrine communication and in this manner, they may thus contribute to glioblastoma progression.
    Keywords:  angiogenesis; angiopoietin; fibroblast activation protein; glioblastoma; microenvironment; seprase; vessel destabilisation
  7. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Jul 11. pii: 3468. [Epub ahead of print]13(14):
      Background: Glioblastomas (GBMs) present remarkable metabolism reprograming, in which many cells display the "Warburg effect", with the production of high levels of lactate that are extruded to the tumour microenvironment by monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs). We described previously that MCT1 is up-regulated in human GBM samples, and MCT1 inhibition decreases glioma cell viability and aggressiveness. In the present study, we aimed to unveil the role of MCT1 in GBM prognosis and to explore it as a target for GBM therapy in vivo. Methods: MCT1 activity and protein expression were inhibited by AR-C155858 and CHC compounds or stable knockdown with shRNA, respectively, to assess in vitro and in vivo the effects of MCT1 inhibition and on response of GBM to temozolomide. Survival analyses on GBM patient cohorts were performed using Cox regression and Log-rank tests. Results: High levels of MCT1 expression were revealed to be a predictor of poor prognosis in multiple cohorts of GBM patients. Functionally, in U251 GBM cells, MCT1 stable knockdown decreased glucose consumption and lactate efflux, compromising the response to the MCT1 inhibitors CHC and AR-C155858. MCT1 knockdown significantly increased the survival of orthotopic GBM intracranial mice models when compared to their control counterparts. Furthermore, MCT1 downregulation increased the sensitivity to temozolomide in vitro and in vivo, resulting in significantly longer mice survival. Conclusions: This work provides first evidence for MCT1 as a new prognostic biomarker of GBM survival and further supports MCT1 targeting, alone or in combination with classical chemotherapy, for the treatment of GBM.
    Keywords:  Warburg effect; glioblastoma; lactate; monocarboxylate transporters; prognostic biomarker
  8. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Jul 21. 12(8): 723
      Glioblastoma (GBM), the most malignant tumor of the central nervous system, is marked by its dynamic response to microenvironmental niches. In particular, this cellular plasticity contributes to the development of an immediate resistance during tumor treatment. Novel insights into the developmental trajectory exhibited by GBM show a strong capability to respond to its microenvironment by clonal selection of specific phenotypes. Using the same mechanisms, malignant GBM do develop intrinsic mechanisms to resist chemotherapeutic treatments. This resistance was reported to be sustained by the paracrine and autocrine glutamate signaling via ionotropic and metabotropic receptors. However, the extent to which glutamatergic signaling modulates the chemoresistance and transcriptional profile of the GBM remains unexplored. In this study we aimed to map the manifold effects of glutamate signaling in GBM as the basis to further discover the regulatory role and interactions of specific receptors, within the GBM microenvironment. Our work provides insights into glutamate release dynamics, representing its importance for GBM growth, viability, and migration. Based on newly published multi-omic datasets, we explored the and characterized the functions of different ionotropic and metabotropic glutamate receptors, of which the metabotropic receptor 3 (GRM3) is highlighted through its modulatory role in maintaining the ability of GBM cells to evade standard alkylating chemotherapeutics. We addressed the clinical relevance of GRM3 receptor expression in GBM and provide a proof of concept where we manipulate intrinsic mechanisms of chemoresistance, driving GBM towards chemo-sensitization through GRM3 receptor inhibition. Finally, we validated our findings in our novel human organotypic section-based tumor model, where GBM growth and proliferation was significantly reduced when GRM3 inhibition was combined with temozolomide application. Our findings present a new picture of how glutamate signaling via mGluR3 interacts with the phenotypical GBM transcriptional programs in light of recently published GBM cell-state discoveries.
  9. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Jul 07. pii: 3400. [Epub ahead of print]13(14):
      Despite aggressive multimodal therapy, glioblastoma (GBM) remains the most common malignant primary brain tumor in adults. With the advent of therapies that revitalize the anti-tumor immune response, several immunotherapeutic modalities have been developed for treatment of GBM. In this review, we summarize recent clinical and preclinical efforts to evaluate vaccination strategies, immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells. Although these modalities have shown long-term tumor regression in subsets of treated patients, the underlying biology that may predict efficacy and inform therapy development is being actively investigated. Common to all therapeutic modalities are fundamental mechanisms of therapy evasion by tumor cells, including immense intratumoral heterogeneity, suppression of the tumor immune microenvironment and low mutational burden. These insights have led efforts to design rational combinatorial therapies that can reignite the anti-tumor immune response, effectively and specifically target tumor cells and reliably decrease tumor burden for GBM patients.
    Keywords:  chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells; glioblastoma; immune checkpoint inhibitors; immunotherapy; vaccine
  10. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Jul 08. pii: 3428. [Epub ahead of print]13(14):
      Glioblastoma is the most frequent and deadly form of primary brain tumors. Despite multimodal treatment, more than 90% of patients experience tumor recurrence. Glioblastoma contains a small population of cells, called glioblastoma stem cells (GSC) that are highly resistant to treatment and endowed with the ability to regenerate the tumor, which accounts for tumor recurrence. Transcriptomic studies disclosed an enrichment of calcium (Ca2+) signaling transcripts in GSC. In non-excitable cells, store-operated channels (SOC) represent a major route of Ca2+ influx. As SOC regulate the self-renewal of adult neural stem cells that are possible cells of origin of GSC, we analyzed the roles of SOC in cultures of GSC previously derived from five different glioblastoma surgical specimens. Immunoblotting and immunocytochemistry experiments showed that GSC express Orai1 and TRPC1, two core SOC proteins, along with their activator STIM1. Ca2+ imaging demonstrated that SOC support Ca2+ entries in GSC. Pharmacological inhibition of SOC-dependent Ca2+ entries decreased proliferation, impaired self-renewal, and reduced expression of the stem cell marker SOX2 in GSC. Our data showing the ability of SOC inhibitors to impede GSC self-renewal paves the way for a strategy to target the cells considered responsible for conveying resistance to treatment and tumor relapse.
    Keywords:  Orai; STIM; TRPC; calcium channel; cancer stem cell; glioblastoma; glioma; store-operated channel
  11. Sci Rep. 2021 Jul 22. 11(1): 15011
      Glioblastoma (GBM) has high metabolic demands, which can lead to acidification of the tumor microenvironment. We hypothesize that a machine learning model built on temporal principal component analysis (PCA) of dynamic susceptibility contrast-enhanced (DSC) perfusion MRI can be used to estimate tumor acidity in GBM, as estimated by pH-sensitive amine chemical exchange saturation transfer echo-planar imaging (CEST-EPI). We analyzed 78 MRI scans in 32 treatment naïve and post-treatment GBM patients. All patients were imaged with DSC-MRI, and pH-weighting that was quantified from CEST-EPI estimation of the magnetization transfer ratio asymmetry (MTRasym) at 3 ppm. Enhancing tumor (ET), non-enhancing core (NC), and peritumoral T2 hyperintensity (namely, edema, ED) were used to extract principal components (PCs) and to build support vector machines regression (SVR) models to predict MTRasym values using PCs. Our predicted map correlated with MTRasym values with Spearman's r equal to 0.66, 0.47, 0.67, 0.71, in NC, ET, ED, and overall, respectively (p < 0.006). The results of this study demonstrates that PCA analysis of DSC imaging data can provide information about tumor pH in GBM patients, with the strongest association within the peritumoral regions.
  12. Sci Rep. 2021 Jul 19. 11(1): 14677
      Cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) have self-renewal abilities responsible for cancer progression, therapy resistance, and metastatic growth. The glioblastoma stem-like cells are the most studied among CSC populations. A recent study identified four transcription factors (SOX2, SALL2, OLIG2, and POU3F2) as the minimal core sufficient to reprogram differentiated glioblastoma (GBM) cells into stem-like cells. Transcriptomic data of GBM tissues and cell lines from two different datasets were then analyzed by the SWItch Miner (SWIM), a network-based software, and FOSL1 was identified as a putative regulator of the previously identified minimal core. Herein, we selected NTERA-2 and HEK293T cells to perform an in vitro study to investigate the role of FOSL1 in the reprogramming mechanisms. We transfected the two cell lines with a constitutive FOSL1 cDNA plasmid. We demonstrated that FOSL1 directly regulates the four transcription factors binding their promoter regions, is involved in the deregulation of several stemness markers, and reduces the cells' ability to generate aggregates increasing the extracellular matrix component FN1. Although further experiments are necessary, our data suggest that FOSL1 reprograms the stemness by regulating the core of the four transcription factors.
  13. Neurooncol Adv. 2021 Jan-Dec;3(1):3(1): vdab031
      Background: Microglia and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) constitute up to half of the total tumor mass of glioblastomas. Despite these myeloid populations being ontogenetically distinct, they have been largely conflated. Recent single-cell transcriptomic studies have identified genes that distinguish microglia from TAMs. Here we investigated whether the translated proteins of genes enriched in microglial or TAM populations can be used to differentiate these myeloid cells in immunohistochemically stained human glioblastoma tissue.Methods: Tissue sections from resected low-grade, meningioma, and glioblastoma (grade IV) tumors and epilepsy tissues were immunofluorescently triple-labeled for Iba1 (pan-myeloid marker), CD14 or CD163 (preferential TAM markers), and either P2RY12 or TMEM119 (microglial-specific markers). Using a single-cell-based image analysis pipeline, we quantified the abundance of each marker within single myeloid cells, allowing the identification and analysis of myeloid populations.
    Results: P2RY12 and TMEM119 successfully discriminated microglia from TAMs in glioblastoma. In contrast, CD14 and CD163 expression were not restricted to invading TAMs and were upregulated by tumor microglia. Notably, a higher ratio of microglia to TAMs significantly correlated with increased patient survival.
    Conclusions: We demonstrate the validity of previously defined microglial-specific genes P2RY12 and TMEM119 as robust discriminators of microglia and TAMs at the protein level in human tissue. Moreover, our data suggest that a higher proportion of microglia may be beneficial for patient survival in glioblastoma. Accordingly, this tissue-based method for myeloid population differentiation could serve as a useful prognostic tool.
    Keywords:  immunosuppression; microglia; tumor immunology; tumor-associated macrophages