bims-malgli Biomed News
on Biology of malignant gliomas
Issue of 2021‒10‒17
fourteen papers selected by
Oltea Sampetrean
Keio University

  1. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Sep 29. pii: 4896. [Epub ahead of print]13(19):
      Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and aggressive primary brain tumor, with a dismal prognosis. Natural killer (NK) cells are large granular lymphocytes with natural cytotoxicity against tumor cells, and they should be established for the novel treatment of patients with GBM. We previously reported highly activated, and ex vivo-expanded NK cells derived from human peripheral blood, designated genuine induced NK cells (GiNK), which were induced by specific culture conditions and which exerted a cytotoxic effect on GBM cells via apoptosis. Here, we comprehensively summarize the molecular characteristics, especially focusing on the expression of stem cell markers, extracellular matrix markers, chemokines, chemokine receptors, and NK receptor ligands of spheroids derived from GBM cell lines as compared with that of two-dimensional (2D) adherent GBM cells via microarray. The spheroid had upregulated gene expression of stem cell markers, extracellular matrix markers, chemokines, chemokine receptors, and NK cell inhibitory receptor ligands compared with the 2D adherent GBM cells. Preclinical evaluation of the NK cells was performed via an ex vivo 3D spheroid model derived from GBM cell lines. In the model, the NK cells accumulated and infiltrated around the spheroids and induced GBM cell death. Flow cytometry-based apoptosis detection clearly showed that the NK cells induced GBM cell death via apoptosis. Our findings could provide pivotal information for NK cell-based immunotherapy for patients with GBM.
    Keywords:  NK cell; glioblastoma; spheroid model
  2. Mol Cancer Res. 2021 Oct 15. pii: molcanres.0199.2021. [Epub ahead of print]
      Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), classified as WHO grade IV astrocytoma, is the deadliest adult cancer of the central nervous system. An important contributing factor to poor survival rates in GBM is extensive invasion, which decreases the efficacy of resection and subsequent adjuvant therapies. These treatments could be markedly improved with increased resolution of the genetic and molecular initiators and effectors of invasion. Connexin 43 (Cx43) is the principal astrocytic gap junction (GJ) protein. Despite the heterogeneity of GBM, a subpopulation of cells in almost all GBM tumors express Cx43. Functional GJs between GBM cells and astrocytes at the tumor edge are of critical interest for understanding invasion. In this study we find that both in vitro and in ex vivo slice cultures, GBM is substantially less invasive when placed in a Cx43-deficient astrocyte environment. Further, when Cx43 is deleted in GBM, the invasive phenotype is recovered. These data strongly suggest that there are opposing roles for Cx43 in GBM migration. We find that Cx43 is localized to the tumor edge in our ex vivo model, suggesting that GBM-astrocyte GJ communication at the tumor border is a driving force for invasion. Finally, we find that by a Cx43-dependent mechanism, but likely not direct channel-mediated diffusion, miRNAs associated with cell-matrix adhesion are transferred from GBM to astrocytes and miR-19b promotes invasion, revealing a role for post-transcriptional manipulation of astrocytes in fostering an invasion-permissive peritumoral niche. Implications: Cx43-mediated communication, specifically miRNA transfer, profoundly impacts glioblastoma invasion and may enable further therapeutic insight.
  3. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Oct 05. pii: 4986. [Epub ahead of print]13(19):
      Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most prevalent, aggressive primary brain tumour with a dismal prognosis. Treatment at diagnosis has limited efficacy and there is no standardised treatment at recurrence. New, personalised treatment options are under investigation, although challenges persist for heterogenous tumours such as GBM. Gene editing technologies are a game changer, enabling design of novel molecular-immunological treatments to be used in combination with chemoradiation, to achieve long lasting survival benefits for patients. Here, we review the literature on how cutting-edge molecular gene editing technologies can be applied to known and emerging tumour-associated antigens to enhance chimeric antigen receptor T and NK cell therapies for GBM. A tight balance of limiting neurotoxicity, avoiding tumour antigen loss and therapy resistance, while simultaneously promoting long-term persistence of the adoptively transferred cells must be maintained to significantly improve patient survival. We discuss the opportunities and challenges posed by the brain contexture to the administration of the treatments and achieving sustained clinical responses.
    Keywords:  CRISPR/Cas9; T cells; chimeric antigen receptor; genomic heterogeneity; glioblastoma; immunotherapy; natural killer cells
  4. Cancer Discov. 2021 Oct 15.
      DNA methylation alterations facilitate cellular stress response and intratumoral heterogeneity.
  5. Theranostics. 2021 ;11(19): 9687-9704
      Background: Glioblastoma (GBM) is one of the most aggressive types of brain cancer. GBM progression is closely associated with microglia activation; therefore, understanding the regulation of the crosstalk between human GBM and microglia may help develop effective therapeutic strategies. Elucidation of efficient delivery of microRNA (miRNA) via extracellular vesicles (EVs) and their intracellular communications is required for therapeutic applications in GBM treatment. Methods: We used human GBM cells (U373MG) and human microglia. MiRNA-124 was loaded into HEK293T-derived EVs (miR-124 EVs). Various anti-tumor effects (proliferation, metastasis, chemosensitivity, M1/M2 microglial polarization, and cytokine profile) were investigated in U373MG and microglia. Anti-tumor effect of miR-124 EVs was also investigated in five different patient-derived GBM cell lines (SNU-201, SNU-466, SNU-489, SNU-626, and SNU-1105). A three-dimensional (3D) microfluidic device was used to investigate the interactive microenvironment of the tumor and microglia. Results: MiR-124 EVs showed highly efficient anti-tumor effects both in GBM cells and microglia. The mRNA expression levels of tumor progression and M2 microglial polarization markers were decreased in response to miR-124 EVs. The events were closely related to signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 3 signaling in both GBM and microglia. In 3D microfluidic experiments, both U373MG and microglia migrated to a lesser extent and showed less-elongated morphology in the presence of miR-124 EVs compared to the control. Analyses of changes in cytokine levels in the microfluidic GBM-microglia environment showed that the treatment with miR-124 EVs led to tumor suppression and anti-cancer immunity, thereby recruiting natural killer (NK) cells into the tumor. Conclusions: In this study, we demonstrated that EV-mediated miR-124 delivery exerted synergistic anti-tumor effects by suppressing the growth of human GBM cells and inhibiting M2 microglial polarization. These findings provide new insights toward a better understanding of the GBM microenvironment and provide substantial evidence for the development of potential therapeutic strategies using miRNA-loaded EVs.
    Keywords:  extracellular vesicle; glioblastoma; microRNA-124; microglia; three-dimensional (3D) cell culture
  6. Cancer. 2021 Oct 11.
      The 2016 revised fourth edition of the World Health Organization (WHO) classification of central nervous system (CNS) tumors incorporated molecular features with histologic grading, revolutionizing how oncologists conceptualize primary brain and spinal cord tumors as well as providing new insights into their management and prognosis. The 2021 revised fifth edition of the WHO classification further integrates molecular alterations for CNS tumor categorization, updating current understanding of the pathophysiology of many of these disease entities. Here, the authors review changes in the new classification for the most common primary adult tumors-gliomas (including astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, and ependymomas) and meningiomas-highlighting the key genomic alterations for each group classification to help clinicians interpret them as they consider therapeutic options-including clinical trials and targeted therapies-and discuss the prognosis of these tumors with their patients. The revised, updated 2021 WHO classification also further integrates molecular alterations in the classification of pediatric CNS tumors, but those are not covered in the current review.
    Keywords:  2021 World Health Organization (WHO) central nervous system (CNS) tumor classification; glioblastoma; glioma; isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH)-mutant gliomas; meningiomas
  7. Neurooncol Adv. 2021 Jan-Dec;3(1):3(1): vdab125
      Background: Advanced age is a major risk factor for the development of many diseases including those affecting the central nervous system. Wild-type isocitrate dehydrogenase glioblastoma (IDHwt GBM) is the most common primary malignant brain cancer and accounts for ≥90% of all adult GBM diagnoses. Patients with IDHwt GBM have a median age of diagnosis at 68-70 years of age, and increasing age is associated with an increasingly worse prognosis for patients with this type of GBM.Methods: The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results, The Cancer Genome Atlas, and the Chinese Glioma Genome Atlas databases were analyzed for mortality indices. Meta-analysis of 80 clinical trials was evaluated for log hazard ratio for aging to tumor survivorship.
    Results: Despite significant advances in the understanding of intratumoral genetic alterations, molecular characteristics of tumor microenvironments, and relationships between tumor molecular characteristics and the use of targeted therapeutics, life expectancy for older adults with GBM has yet to improve.
    Conclusions: Based upon the results of our analysis, we propose that age-dependent factors that are yet to be fully elucidated, contribute to IDHwt GBM patient outcomes.
    Keywords:  CD4; IDO; aging; glioma; immunotherapy; senescence
  8. Biomed Pharmacother. 2021 Oct 07. pii: S0753-3322(21)01062-3. [Epub ahead of print]144 112278
      The utility of patient-derived tumor cell lines as experimental models for glioblastoma has been challenged by limited representation of the in vivo tumor biology and low clinical translatability. Here, we report on longitudinal epigenetic and transcriptional profiling of seven glioblastoma spheroid cell line models cultured over an extended period. Molecular profiles were associated with drug response data obtained for 231 clinically used drugs. We show that the glioblastoma spheroid models remained molecularly stable and displayed reproducible drug responses over prolonged culture times of 30 in vitro passages. Integration of gene expression and drug response data identified predictive gene signatures linked to sensitivity to specific drugs, indicating the potential of gene expression-based prediction of glioblastoma therapy response. Our data thus empowers glioblastoma spheroid disease modeling as a useful preclinical assay that may uncover novel therapeutic vulnerabilities and associated molecular alterations.
    Keywords:  Glioblastoma; In vitro drug screening; Longitudinal molecular profiling; Tumor spheroids
  9. Theranostics. 2021 ;11(19): 9217-9233
      Tryptophan (Trp)-catabolic enzymes (TCEs) produce metabolites that activate the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) and promote tumor progression and immunosuppression in glioblastoma. As therapies targeting TCEs or AHR become available, a better understanding of Trp metabolism is required. Methods: The combination of LC-MS/MS with chemical isobaric labeling enabled the simultaneous quantitative comparison of Trp and its amino group-bearing metabolites in multiple samples. We applied this method to the sera of a cohort of 43 recurrent glioblastoma patients and 43 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Tumor volumes were measured in MRI data using an artificial neural network-based approach. MALDI MSI visualized Trp and its direct metabolite N-formylkynurenine (FK) in glioblastoma tissue. Analysis of scRNA-seq data was used to detect the presence of Trp metabolism and AHR activity in different cell types in glioblastoma. Results: Compared to healthy controls, glioblastoma patients showed decreased serum Trp levels. Surprisingly, the levels of Trp metabolites were also reduced. The decrease became smaller with more enzymatic steps between Trp and its metabolites, suggesting that Trp availability controls the levels of its systemic metabolites. High tumor volume associated with low systemic metabolite levels and low systemic kynurenine levels associated with worse overall survival. MALDI MSI demonstrated heterogeneity of Trp catabolism across glioblastoma tissues. Analysis of scRNA-seq data revealed that genes involved in Trp metabolism were expressed in almost all the cell types in glioblastoma and that most cell types, in particular macrophages and T cells, exhibited AHR activation. Moreover, high AHR activity associated with reduced overall survival in the glioblastoma TCGA dataset. Conclusion: The novel techniques we developed could support the identification of patients that may benefit from therapies targeting TCEs or AHR activation.
    Keywords:  AHR; Glioblastoma; MALDI MSI; mass spectrometry; tryptophan
  10. Sci Rep. 2021 Oct 13. 11(1): 20338
      Despite the use of multimodal treatment combinations, the prognosis of glioblastoma (GB) is still poor. To prevent rapid tumor recurrence, targeted strategies for the treatment of GB are widely sought. Here, we compared the efficacy of focused modulation of a set of signaling pathways in two GB cell lines, U-251 MG and T98-G, using a panel of thirteen compounds targeting cell cycle progression, proliferation, epigenetic modifications, and DNA repair mechanism. In parallel, we tested combinations of these compounds with temozolomide and lomustine, the standard chemotherapy agents used in GB treatment. Two major trends were found: within individual compounds, the lowest IC50 values were exhibited by the Aurora kinase inhibitors, whereas in the case of mixtures, the addition of DNA methyltransferase 1 inhibitor azacytidine to lomustine proved the most beneficial. The efficacy of cell cycle-targeting compounds was further augmented by combination with radiation therapy using two different treatment regimes. The potency of azacytidine and lomustine mixtures was validated using a unique assay pipeline that utilizes automated imaging and machine learning-based data analysis algorithm for assessment of cell number and DNA damage extent. Based on our results, the combination of azacytidine and lomustine should be tested in GB clinical trials.
  11. Neuro Oncol. 2021 Oct 15. pii: noab238. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: Diagnostic classification of diffuse gliomas now requires an assessment of molecular features, often including IDH-mutation and 1p19q-codeletion status. Because genetic testing requires an invasive process, an alternative noninvasive approach is attractive, particularly if resection is not recommended. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effects of training strategy and incorporation of biologically relevant images on predicting genetic subtypes with deep learning.METHODS: Our dataset consisted of 384 patients with newly-diagnosed gliomas who underwent preoperative MR imaging with standard anatomical and diffusion-weighted imaging, and 147 patients from an external cohort with anatomical imaging. Using tissue samples acquired during surgery, each glioma was classified into IDH-wildtype (IDHwt), IDH-mutant/1p19q-noncodeleted (IDHmut-intact), and IDH-mutant/1p19q-codeleted (IDHmut-codel) subgroups. After optimizing training parameters, top performing convolutional neural network (CNN) classifiers were trained, validated, and tested using combinations of anatomical and diffusion MRI with either a 3-class or tiered structure. Generalization to an external cohort was assessed using anatomical imaging models.
    RESULTS: The best model used a 3-class CNN containing diffusion-weighted imaging as an input, achieving 85.7% (95% CI:[77.1,100]) overall test accuracy and correctly classifying 95.2%, 88.9%, 60.0% of the IDHwt, IDHmut-intact, and IDHmut-codel tumors. In general, 3-class models outperformed tiered approaches by 13.5-17.5%, and models that included diffusion-weighted imaging were 5-8.8% more accurate than those that used only anatomical imaging.
    CONCLUSION: Training a classifier to predict both IDH-mutation and 1p19q-codeletion status outperformed a tiered structure that first predicted IDH-mutation, then1p19q-codeletion. Including ADC, a surrogate marker of cellularity, more accurately captured differences between subgroups.
    Keywords:  ADC; convolutional neural network; deep learning; diffusion-weighted imaging; glioma subtype
  12. Nat Biomed Eng. 2021 Oct 11.
      Because of the blood-tumour barrier and cross-reactivity with healthy tissues, immune checkpoint blockade therapy against glioblastoma has inadequate efficacy and is associated with a high risk of immune-related adverse events. Here we show that anti-programmed death-ligand 1 antibodies conjugated with multiple poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) chains functionalized to target glucose transporter 1 (which is overexpressed in brain capillaries) and detaching in the reductive tumour microenvironment augment the potency and safety of checkpoint blockade therapy against glioblastoma. In mice bearing orthotopic glioblastoma tumours, a single dose of glucosylated and multi-PEGylated antibodies reinvigorated antitumour immune responses, induced immunological memory that protected the animals against rechallenge with tumour cells, and suppressed autoimmune responses in the animals' healthy tissues. Drug-delivery formulations leveraging multivalent ligand interactions and the properties of the tumour microenvironment to facilitate the crossing of blood-tumour barriers and increase drug specificity may enhance the efficacy and safety of other antibody-based therapies.