A nanoparticle carrying the p53 gene targets tumors including cancer stem cells, sensitizes glioblastoma to chemotherapy and improves survival.
ABSTRACT: Temozolomide (TMZ)-resistance in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) has been linked to upregulation of O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT). Wild-type (wt) p53 was previously shown to down-modulate MGMT. However, p53 therapy for GBM is limited by lack of efficient delivery across the blood brain barrier (BBB). We have developed a systemic nanodelivery platform (scL) for tumor-specific targeting (primary and metastatic), which is currently in multiple clinical trials. This self-assembling nanocomplex is formed by simple mixing of the components in a defined order and a specific ratio. Here, we demonstrate that scL crosses the BBB and efficiently targets GBM, as well as cancer stem cells (CSCs), which have been implicated in recurrence and treatment resistance in many human cancers. Moreover, systemic delivery of scL-p53 down-modulates MGMT and induces apoptosis in intracranial GBM xenografts. The combination of scL-p53 and TMZ increased the antitumor efficacy of TMZ with enhanced survival benefit in a mouse model of highly TMZ-resistant GBM. scL-p53 also sensitized both CSCs and bulk tumor cells to TMZ, increasing apoptosis. These results suggest that combining scL-p53 with standard TMZ treatment could be a more effective therapy for GBM.
Project description:Although temozolomide (TMZ) is the current first-line chemotherapy for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), most patients either do not respond or ultimately fail TMZ treatment. Both intrinsic tumor resistance and limited access of TMZ to brain tumors as a result of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) contribute to poor response and ultimately to poor prognosis for GBM patients. We have developed a "dual-targeting" nanomedicine that both actively crosses the BBB and actively targets cancer cells once in the brain parenchyma. This nanomedicine (termed scL-TMZ) is sized ~40?nm and comprised of a cationic liposome (DOTAP:DOPE) encapsulating TMZ. The surface of liposome is decorated with anti-transferrin receptor single-chain antibody fragments to facilitate the crossing of the BBB by the scL-TMZ in addition to targeting GBM in the brain. This novel formulation was found to be markedly more effective than standard TMZ in both TMZ-resistant and TMZ-sensitive GBM. Encapsulation of TMZ also markedly enhanced its efficacy in killing a variety of non-GBM tumor cells. The scL-TMZ nanocomplex was shown to target cancer stem cells, which have been linked to both drug resistance and recurrence in GBM. Most significantly, systemically administered scL-TMZ significantly prolonged survival in mice bearing intracranial GBM tumors. The improved efficacy of scL-TMZ compared to standard TMZ was accompanied by reduced toxicity, so we conclude that the scL-TMZ nanomedicine holds great promise as a more effective therapy for GBM and other tumor types.
Project description:Intrinsic therapeutic resistance especially in cancer stem cells (CSCs) together with extensive tumor cell infiltration and restricted permeation of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) by drugs may all contribute to the treatment failure in patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Accumulating evidence suggests that long non-coding RNA (lncRNA), metastasis-associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript 1 (MALAT1) plays a role in tumor cell infiltration and therapeutic resistance of GBM. Using our tumor-targeted nanocomplex, we have modulated the expression of MALAT1 and investigated its impact on GBM cells. Importantly, our nanocomplex is able to target CSCs that are considered to be the prime culprits in therapeutic resistance and recurrence of GBM. Attenuation of MALAT1 by RNA interference significantly lowered the growth, motility and stemness of GBM cells. In addition, silencing of MALAT1 clearly improved the sensitivity of GBM cells to chemotherapeutic agents including the current first-line therapy of GBM [temozolomide (TMZ)]. In animal models of GBM, tumor involution with a modest but statistically significant survival benefit was achieved with concurrent treatment of TMZ and nanocomplex-mediated silencing of MALAT1. These results suggest that combining standard TMZ treatment with lncRNA-targeting therapies using our nanocomplex could substantially enhance the very poor prognosis for GBM patients.
Project description:Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) contains a population of cells that exhibit stem cell phenotypes. These cancer stem cells (CSCs) may be a source of therapeutic resistance, although support for this important concept is limited.We determined whether early-passage GBM CSCs respond differently than patient-matched, genotypically similar non-CSCs to clinically relevant single or serial doses of temozolomide (TMZ), radiation therapy (XRT), or alternating TMZ treatment and XRT, which is the standard of care for GBM patients.Despite the phenotypic differences, including the presence of stem cell markers and formation of intracranial tumors, the CSCs and matched non-CSCs were equally resistant to TMZ in a majority of patients, using 2 independent assays. TMZ response was consistent with methylated O(6)-DNA methylguanine-methyltransferase (MGMT) and MGMT protein levels in both culture types. In contrast, CSCs were unexpectedly more responsive to XRT compared with matched non-CSCs from 2 patients despite having relatively equal resistance to TMZ. However, for the majority of culture pairs from individual patients, responses in CSCs were indistinguishable from non-CSC cultures.In our patient-matched primary cultures, response to TMZ was tightly linked to the individual tumor's MGMT status and independent of their phenotypic differences. TMZ and XRT together revealed no additive benefit compared with monotherapy for either culture type, in contrast to the notion that the CSC population is more resistant to XRT. If the tumor cell response in vitro mirrors therapeutic response in larger patient cohorts, these rapid assays in primary cultures could allow -empirical selection of efficacious therapeutic agents on a patient-specific basis.
Project description:Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common brain tumour, characterized by a central and partially necrotic (i.e., hypoxic) core enriched in cancer stem cells (CSCs). We previously showed that the most hypoxic and immature (i.e., CSCs) GBM cells were resistant to Temozolomide (TMZ) in vitro, owing to a particularly high expression of O6-methylguanine-DNA-methyltransferase (MGMT), the most important factor associated to therapy resistance in GBM. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), and in particular BMP2, are known to promote differentiation and growth inhibition in GBM cells. For this reason, we investigated whether a BMP2-based treatment would increase TMZ response in hypoxic drug-resistant GBM-derived cells. Here we show that BMP2 induced strong differentiation of GBM stem-like cells and subsequent addition of TMZ caused dramatic increase of apoptosis. Importantly, we correlated these effects to a BMP2-induced downregulation of both hypoxia-inducible factor-1? (HIF-1?) and MGMT. We report here a novel mechanism involving the HIF-1?-dependent regulation of MGMT, highlighting the existence of a HIF-1?/MGMT axis supporting GBM resistance to therapy. As confirmed from this evidence, over-stabilization of HIF-1? in TMZ-sensitive GBM cells abolished their responsiveness to it. In conclusion, we describe a HIF-1?-dependent regulation of MGMT and suggest that BMP2, by down-modulating the HIF-1?/MGMT axis, should increase GBM responsiveness to chemotherapy, thus opening the way to the development of future strategies for GBM treatment.
Project description:Development of temozolomide (TMZ) resistance contributes to the poor prognosis for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) patients. It was previously demonstrated that delivery of exogenous wild-type tumor suppressor gene p53 via a tumor-targeted nanocomplex (SGT-53) which crosses the blood-brain barrier could sensitize highly TMZ-resistant GBM tumors to TMZ. Here we assessed whether SGT-53 could inhibit development of TMZ resistance. SGT-53 significantly chemosensitized TMZ-sensitive human GBM cell lines (U87 and U251), in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, in an intracranial GBM tumor model, two cycles of concurrent treatment with systemically administered SGT-53 and TMZ inhibited tumor growth, increased apoptosis and most importantly, significantly prolonged median survival. In contrast TMZ alone had no significant effect on median survival compared to a single cycle of TMZ. These results suggest that combining SGT-53 with TMZ appears to limit development of TMZ resistance, prolonging its anti-tumor effect and could be a more effective therapy for GBM.Using human glioblastoma multiforma cell lines, this research team demonstrated that the delivery of exogenous wild-type tumor suppressor gene p53 via a tumor-targeted nanocomplex limited the development of temozolomide resistance and prolonged its anti-tumor effect, which may enable future human application of this or similar techniques.
Project description:Selective delivery of therapeutic molecules to primary and metastatic tumors is optimal for effective cancer therapy. A liposomal nanodelivery complex (scL) for systemic, tumor-targeting delivery of anticancer therapeutics has been developed. scL employs an anti-transferrin receptor (TfR), scFv as the targeting molecule. Loss of p53 suppressor function, through mutations or inactivation of the p53 pathway, is present in most human cancers. Rather than being transiently permissive for tumor initiation, persistence of p53 dysfunction is a continuing requirement for maintaining tumor growth. Herein, we report results of a first-in-man Phase I clinical trial of restoration of the normal human tumor suppressor gene p53 using the scL nanocomplex (SGT-53). Minimal side effects were observed in this trial in patients with advanced solid tumors. Furthermore, the majority of patients demonstrated stable disease. One patient with adenoid cystic carcinoma had his status changed from unresectable to resectable after one treatment cycle. More significantly, we observed an accumulation of the transgene in metastatic tumors, but not in normal skin tissue, in a dose-related manner. These results show not only that systemically delivered SGT-53 is well tolerated and exhibits anticancer activity, but also supply evidence of targeted tumor delivery of SGT-53 to metastatic lesions.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a highly aggressive brain tumor in which cancer cells with stem cell-like features, called cancer stem cells (CSCs), were identified. Two CSC populations have been previously identified in GBM, one derived from the GBM area called enhanced lesion (GCSCs) and the other one from the brain area adjacent to the tumor margin (PCSCs) that greatly differ in their growth properties and tumor-initiating ability. To date the most effective chemotherapy to treat GBM is represented by alkylating agents such as temozolomide (TMZ), whose activity can be regulated by histone deacetylases (HDACs) inhibitors through the modulation of O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) expression. Levetiracetam (LEV), a relatively new antiepileptic drug, modulates HDAC levels ultimately silencing MGMT, thus increasing TMZ effectiveness. However, an improvement in the therapeutic efficacy of TMZ is needed.<h4>Methods</h4>Cell proliferation was investigated by BrdU cell proliferation assay and by Western Blot analysis of PCNA expression. Apoptosis was evaluated by Western Blot and Immunofluorescence analysis of the cleaved Caspase-3 expression. MGMT and HDAC4 expression was analyzed by Western Blotting and Immunofluorescence. Statistical analysis was performed using the Student's <i>t</i> test and Mann-Whitney test.<h4>Results</h4>Here we evaluated the effect of TMZ on the proliferation rate of the IDH-wildtype GCSCs and PCSCs derived from six patients, in comparison with the effects of other drugs such as etoposide, irinotecan and carboplatin. Our results demonstrated that TMZ was less effective compared to the other agents; hence, we verified the possibility to increase the effect of TMZ by combining it with LEV. Here we show that LEV enhances the effect of TMZ on GCSCs proliferation (being less effective on PCSCs) by decreasing MGMT expression, promoting HDAC4 nuclear translocation and activating apoptotic pathway.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Although further studies are needed to determine the exact mechanism by which LEV makes GBM stem cells more sensitive to TMZ, these results suggest that the clinical therapeutic efficacy of TMZ in GBM might be enhanced by the combined treatment with LEV.
Project description:Glioblastoma (GBM) is amongst the most aggressive brain tumors with a dismal prognosis. Despite significant advances in the current multimodality therapy including surgery, postoperative radiotherapy (RT) and temozolomide (TMZ)-based concomitant and adjuvant chemotherapy (CT), tumor recurrence is nearly universal with poor patient outcomes. These limitations are in part due to poor drug penetration through the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and resistance to CT and RT by a small population of cancer cells recognized as tumor-initiating cells or cancer stem cells (CSCs). Though CT and RT kill the bulk of the tumor cells, they fail to affect CSCs, resulting in their enrichment and their development into more refractory tumors. Therefore, identifying the mechanisms of resistance and developing therapies that specifically target CSCs can improve response, prevent the development of refractory tumors and increase overall survival of GBM patients. Small molecule inhibitors that can breach the BBB and selectively target CSCs are emerging. In this review, we have summarized the recent advancements in understanding the GBM CSC-specific signaling pathways, the CSC-tumor microenvironment niche that contributes to CT and RT resistance and the use of novel combination therapies of small molecule inhibitors that may be used in conjunction with TMZ-based chemoradiation for effective management of GBM.
Project description:Abstract Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and aggressive primary brain cancer. Current standard-of-care includes surgery, radiation and treatment with temozolomide (TMZ), however nearly all tumors recur and the prognosis for recurrent GBM is dismal. Resistance to TMZ is correlated with expression of the DNA repair enzyme O6-methylguanine-DNA-methyltransferase (MGMT), which is highly expressed in a majority of GBM tumors. Dianhydrogalactitol (VAL-083) is a first-in-class bi-functional DNA-targeting agent that exhibited activity against GBM in NCI-sponsored clinical trials both as a single agent and in combination with radiotherapy. VAL-083 readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and accumulates in brain tumor tissue. We have demonstrated that VAL-083 targets N7-Guanine and rapidly induces interstrand DNA cross-links, leading to DNA double-strand breaks, S/G2 cell-cycle arrest and cell death in GBM cell lines and GBM cancer stem cells (CSCs) in vitro. This unique N7-guanine targeting mechanism not only circumvents MGMT-mediated chemo-resistance but also maintains cytotoxic activity in cancer cells deficient in mismatch repair (MMR). These data suggest VAL-083 may offer a superior chemotherapeutic alternative in the treatment of MGMT-unmethylated or MMR deficient GBM. Here, we provide an update of ongoing clinical trials with VAL-083 in MGMT-unmethylated GBM: i) a single-arm, biomarker-driven, Phase II study to determine if VAL-083 treatment of MGMT-unmethylated adult GBM patients at first recurrence/progression, prior to bevacizumab improves survival compared to historical lomustine control (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT02717962); ii) a single-arm, biomarker-driven, Phase II study to confirm the tolerability and efficacy of VAL-083 in combination with radiotherapy in newly diagnosed MGMT-unmethylated GBM patients (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT03050736). The results of these studies may support a new treatment paradigm in for the treatment of MGMT-unmethylated GBM.
Project description:Concurrent temozolomide (TMZ) and radiation therapy (RT) followed by adjuvant TMZ is standard treatment for patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), although the relative contribution of concurrent versus adjuvant TMZ is unknown. In this study, the efficacy of TMZ/RT was tested with a panel of 20 primary GBM xenografts.Mice with intracranial xenografts were treated with TMZ, RT, TMZ/RT, or placebo. Survival ratio for a given treatment/line was defined as the ratio of median survival for treatment vs. placebo.The median survival ratio was significantly higher for O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) methylated tumors versus unmethylated tumors following treatment with TMZ (median survival ratio, 3.6 vs. 1.5, respectively; p = 0.008) or TMZ/RT (5.7 vs. 2.3, respectively; p = 0.001) but not RT alone (1.7 vs. 1.6; p = 0.47). In an analysis of variance, MGMT methylation status and p53 mutation status were significantly associated with treatment response. When we analyzed the additional survival benefit conferred specifically by combined therapy, only a subset (5 of 11) of MGMT methylated tumors derived substantial additional benefit from combined therapy, while none of the MGMT unmethylated tumors did. Consistent with a true radiosensitizing effect of TMZ, sequential treatment in which RT (week 1) was followed by TMZ (week 2) proved significantly less effective than TMZ followed by RT or concurrent TMZ/RT (survival ratios of 4.0, 9.6 and 12.9, respectively; p < 0.0001).Concurrent treatment with TMZ and RT provides significant survival benefit only in a subset of MGMT methylated tumors and provides superior antitumor activity relative to sequential administration of RT and TMZ.