Response-predictive gene expression profiling of glioma progenitor cells in vitro.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:High-grade gliomas are amongst the most deadly human tumors. Treatment results are disappointing. Still, in several trials around 20% of patients respond to therapy. To date, diagnostic strategies to identify patients that will profit from a specific therapy do not exist. METHODS:In this study, we used serum-free short-term treated in vitro cell cultures to predict treatment response in vitro. This approach allowed us (a) to enrich specimens for brain tumor initiating cells and (b) to confront cells with a therapeutic agent before expression profiling. RESULTS:As a proof of principle we analyzed gene expression in 18 short-term serum-free cultures of high-grade gliomas enhanced for brain tumor initiating cells (BTIC) before and after in vitro treatment with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor Sunitinib. Profiles from treated progenitor cells allowed to predict therapy-induced impairment of proliferation in vitro. CONCLUSION:For the tyrosine kinase inhibitor Sunitinib used in this dataset, the approach revealed additional predictive information in comparison to the evaluation of classical signaling analysis.
Project description:High-grade gliomas are amongst the most deadly human tumors. Treatment results are overall disappointing. Nevertheless, in several trials around 20% of patients respond to therapy. Diagnostic strategies to identify those patients that will ultimately profit from a specific targeted therapy are urgently needed. Gene expression profiling of untreated tumors is a well established approach for identifying biomarkers or diagnostic signatures. However, reliable signatures predicting treatment response in gliomas do not exist. Here we suggest a novel strategy for developing diagnostic signatures. We postulate that predictive gene expression patterns emerge only after tumor cells have been treated with the agent in vitro. Moreover, we postulate that enriching specimens for tumor initiating cells sharpens predictive expression patterns. Here, we report on the prediction of treatment response of cancer cells in vitro. As a proof of principle we analyzed gene expression in 18 short-term serum-free cultures of high-grade gliomas enhanced for brain tumor initiating cells (BTIC) before and after in vitro treatment with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor Sunitinib. Profiles from treated but not from untreated glioma cells allowed to predict therapy-induced impairment of proliferation of glioma cells in vitro. Prediction can be achieved with as little as 6 genes allowing for a straightforward translation into the clinic once the predictive power of the signature is shown also in vivo. Our strategy of using expression profiles from in vitro treated BTIC-enriched cultures opens new ways for trial design for patients with malignant gliomas. 72 samples; 18 brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs); 4 treatment conditions: 1 µM Sunitinib or 0.00025% DMSO with and without the combination of recombinant growth factors VEGF and PDGF-AB for 6 hours
Project description:In a previous publication we introduced a novel approach to identify genes that hold predictive information about treatment outcome. A linear regression model was fitted by using the least angle regression algorithm (LARS) with the expression profiles of a construction set of 18 glioma progenitor cells enhanced for brain tumor initiating cells (BTIC) before and after in vitro treatment with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor Sunitinib. Profiles from treated progenitor cells allowed predicting therapy-induced impairment of proliferation in vitro. Prediction performance was validated in leave one out cross validation.In this study, we used an additional validation set of 18 serum-free short-term treated in vitro cell cultures to test the predictive properties of the signature in an independent cohort. We assessed proliferation rates together with transcriptome-wide expression profiles after Sunitinib treatment of each individual cell culture, following the methods of the previous publication.We confirmed treatment-induced expression changes in our validation set, but our signature failed to predict proliferation inhibition. Neither re-calculation of the combined dataset with all 36 BTIC cultures nor separation of samples into TCGA subclasses did generate a proliferation prediction.Although the gene signature published from our construction set exhibited good prediction accuracy in cross validation, we were not able to validate the signature in an independent validation data set. Reasons could be regression to the mean, the moderate numbers of samples, or too low differences in the response to proliferation inhibition in the validation set. At this stage and based on the presented results, we conclude that the signature does not warrant further developmental steps towards clinical application.
Project description:Receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) pathways are known to play an important role in tumor cell proliferation of glioblastoma (GBM). Cellular determinants of RTK-inhibitor sensitivity are important to optimize and tailor treatment strategies. The stress response gene activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) is involved in homeostasis and cellular protection. However, little is known about its function in GBM. We found that the ATF4/p-eIF2? pathway is activated in response to Sunitinib in primary tumor initiating progenitor cell cultures (BTICs). Furthermore, lysosome entrapment of RTK-inhibitors (RTK-Is) leads to accumulation of autophagosomes. In case of Sunitinib treated cells, autophagy is additionally increased by ATF4 mediated upregulation of autophagy genes. Inhibition of ATF4 by small interfering RNA (siRNA) reduced autophagy and cell proliferation after Sunitinib treatment in a subset of BTIC cultures. Overall, this study suggests a pro-survival role of the ATF4/p-eIF2? pathway in a cell type and treatment specific manner.
Project description:Background. In a previous publication we introduced a novel approach to identify genes that hold predictive information about treatment outcome. A linear regression model was fitted by using the least angle regression algorithm (LARS) with the expression profiles of a construction set of 18 glioma progenitor cells enhanced for brain tumor initiating cells (BTIC) before and after in vitro treatment with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor Sunitinib. Profiles from treated progenitor cells allowed predicting therapy-induced impairment of proliferation in vitro. Prediction performance was validated in leave one out cross validation. Methods. In this study, we used an additional validation set of 18 serum-free short-term treated in vitro cell cultures to test the predictive properties of the signature in an independent cohort. We assessed proliferation rates together with transcriptome-wide expression profiles after Sunitinib treatment of each individual cell culture, following the methods of the previous publication. Results. We confirmed treatment-induced expression changes in our validation set, but our signature failed to predict proliferation inhibition. Conclusion. Although the gene signature published from our construction set exhibited good prediction accuracy in cross validation, we were not able to validate the signature in an independent validation data set. Reasons could be regression to the mean, the moderate numbers of samples, or too low differences in the response to proliferation inhibition. At this stage and based on the presented results, we conclude that the signature does not warrant further developmental steps towards clinical application. 40 samples; 18 brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs); 2 treatment conditions: 1 µM Sunitinib or 0.00025% DMSO with supplementation of VEGF and PDGF-AB for 6 hours
Project description:Brain tumor-initiating cells (BTICs) have been identified as key contributors to therapy resistance, recurrence, and progression of diffuse gliomas, particularly glioblastoma (GBM). BTICs are elusive therapeutic targets that reside across the blood-brain barrier, underscoring the urgent need to develop novel therapeutic strategies. Additionally, intratumoral heterogeneity and adaptations to therapeutic pressure by BTICs impede the discovery of effective anti-BTIC therapies and limit the efficacy of individual gene targeting. Recent discoveries in the genetic and epigenetic determinants of BTIC tumorigenesis offer novel opportunities for RNAi-mediated targeting of BTICs. Here we show that BTIC growth arrest in vitro and in vivo is accomplished via concurrent siRNA knockdown of four transcription factors (SOX2, OLIG2, SALL2, and POU3F2) that drive the proneural BTIC phenotype delivered by multiplexed siRNA encapsulation in the lipopolymeric nanoparticle 7C1. Importantly, we demonstrate that 7C1 nano-encapsulation of multiplexed RNAi is a viable BTIC-targeting strategy when delivered directly in vivo in an established mouse brain tumor. Therapeutic potential was most evident via a convection-enhanced delivery method, which shows significant extension of median survival in two patient-derived BTIC xenograft mouse models of GBM. Our study suggests that there is potential advantage in multiplexed targeting strategies for BTICs and establishes a flexible nonviral gene therapy platform with the capacity to channel multiplexed RNAi schemes to address the challenges posed by tumor heterogeneity.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Recent evidence suggests that human breast cancer is sustained by a minor subpopulation of breast tumor-initiating cells (BTIC), which confer resistance to anticancer therapies and consequently must be eradicated to achieve durable breast cancer cure. METHODS/FINDINGS: To identify signaling pathways that might be targeted to eliminate BTIC, while sparing their normal stem and progenitor cell counterparts, we performed global gene expression profiling of BTIC- and mammary epithelial stem/progenitor cell- enriched cultures derived from mouse mammary tumors and mammary glands, respectively. Such analyses suggested a role for the Wnt/Beta-catenin signaling pathway in maintaining the viability and or sustaining the self-renewal of BTICs in vitro. To determine whether the Wnt/Beta-catenin pathway played a role in BTIC processes we employed a chemical genomics approach. We found that pharmacological inhibitors of Wnt/?-catenin signaling inhibited sphere- and colony-formation by primary breast tumor cells and primary mammary epithelial cells, as well as by tumorsphere- and mammosphere-derived cells. Serial assays of self-renewal in vitro revealed that the Wnt/Beta-catenin signaling inhibitor PKF118-310 irreversibly affected BTIC, whereas it functioned reversibly to suspend the self-renewal of mammary epithelial stem/progenitor cells. Incubation of primary tumor cells in vitro with PKF118-310 eliminated their capacity to subsequently seed tumor growth after transplant into syngeneic mice. Administration of PKF118-310 to tumor-bearing mice halted tumor growth in vivo. Moreover, viable tumor cells harvested from PKF118-310 treated mice were unable to seed the growth of secondary tumors after transplant. CONCLUSIONS: These studies demonstrate that inhibitors of Wnt/?-catenin signaling eradicated BTIC in vitro and in vivo and provide a compelling rationale for developing such antagonists for breast cancer therapy.
Project description:Development of effective novel anti-tumor treatments will require improved in vitro models that incorporate physiologic microenvironments and maintain intratumoral heterogeneity, including tumor initiating cells. Brain tumor initiating cells (BTIC) are a target for cancer therapy, because BTICs are highly tumorigenic and contribute to tumor angiogenesis, invasion, and therapeutic resistance. Current leading studies rely on BTIC isolation from patient-derived xenografts followed by propagation as neurospheres. As this process is expensive and time-consuming, we determined whether three-dimensional microtumors were an alternative in vitro method for modeling tumor growth via BITC maintenance and/or enrichment. Brain tumor cells were grown as neurospheres or as microtumors produced using the human-derived biomatrix HuBiogel™ and maintained with physiologically relevant microenvironments. BITC percentages were determined using cell surface marker expression, label retention, and neurosphere formation capacity. Our data demonstrate that expansion of brain tumor cells as hypoxic and nutrient-restricted microtumors significantly increased the percentage of both CD133+ and CFSEhigh cells. We further demonstrate that BTIC-marker positive cells isolated from microtumors maintained neurosphere formation capacity in the in vitro limiting dilution assay and tumorigenic potential in vivo. These data demonstrate that microtumors can be a useful three-dimensional biological model for the study of BTIC maintenance and targeting.
Project description:Brain tumor-initiating cells (BTICs) are stem-like cells hypothesized to form a disease reservoir that mediates tumor recurrence in high-grade gliomas. Oncolytic virotherapy uses replication-competent viruses to target and kill malignant cells and has been evaluated in clinic for glioma therapy with limited results. Myxoma virus (MyxV) is a safe and highly effective oncolytic virus (OV) in conventional glioma models but, as seen with other OVs, is only modestly effective for patient-derived BTICs. The objective of this study was to determine whether MyxV treatment against human BTICs could be improved by combining chemotherapeutics and virotherapy.A 73-compound library of drug candidates in clinical use or preclinical development was screened to identify compounds that sensitize human BTICs to MyxV treatment in vitro, and synergy was evaluated mathematically in lead compounds using Chou-Talalay analyses. The effects of combination therapy on viral gene expression and viral replication were also assessed.Eleven compounds that enhance MyxV efficacy were identified, and 6 were shown to synergize with the virus using Chou-Talalay analyses. Four of the synergistic compounds were shown to significantly increase viral gene expression, indicating a potential mechanism for synergy. Three highly synergistic compounds (axitinib, a VEGFR inhibitor; rofecoxib, a cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor; and pemetrexed, a folate anti-metabolite) belong to classes of compounds that have not been previously shown to synergize with oncolytic viruses in vitro.This study has identified multiple novel drug candidates that synergistically improve MyxV efficacy in a preclinical BTIC glioma model.
Project description:Evidence has emerged that the initiation and growth of gliomas is sustained by a subpopulation of cancer-initiating cells (CICs). Because of the difficulty of using markers to tag CICs in gliomas, we have previously exploited more robust phenotypic characteristics, including a specific morphology and intrincic autofluorescence, to identify and isolate a subpopulation of glioma CICs, called FL1(+). The objective of this study was to further validate our method in a large cohort of human glioma and a mouse model of glioma. Seventy-four human gliomas of all grades and the GFAP-V(12)HA-ras B8 mouse model were analyzed for in vitro self-renewal capacity and their content of FL1(+). Nonneoplastic brain tissue and embryonic mouse brain were used as control. Genetic traceability along passages was assessed with microsatellite analysis. We found that FL1(+) cells from low-grade gliomas and from control nonneoplasic brain tissue show a lower level of autofluorescence and undergo a restricted number of cell divisions before dying in culture. In contrast, we found that FL1(+) cells derived from many but not all high-grade gliomas acquire high levels of autofluorescence and can be propagated in long-term cultures. Moreover, FL1(+) cells show a remarkable traceability over time in vitro and in vivo. Our results show that FL1(+) cells can be found in all specimens of a large cohort of human gliomas of different grades and in a model of genetically induced mouse glioma as well as nonneoplastic brain. However, their self-renewal capacity is variable and seems to be dependent on the tumor grade.
Project description:Tenascin-C (TNC), an extracellular matrix protein overexpressed in malignant gliomas, stimulates invasion of conventional glioma cell lines (U251, U87). However, there is a dearth of such information on glioma stemlike cells. Here, we have addressed whether and how TNC may regulate the invasiveness of brain tumor-initiating cells (BTICs) that give rise to glioma progenies.Transwell inserts coated with extracellular matrix proteins were used to determine the role of TNC in BTIC invasion. Microarray analysis, lentiviral constructs, RNA interference-mediated knockdown, and activity assay ascertained the role of proteases in TNC-stimulated BTIC invasion in culture. Involvement of proteases was validated using orthotopic brain xenografts in mice.TNC stimulated BTIC invasiveness in a metalloproteinase-dependent manner. A global gene expression screen identified the metalloproteinase ADAM-9 as a potential regulator of TNC-stimulated BTIC invasiveness, and this was corroborated by an increase of ADAM-9 protein in 4 glioma patient-derived BTIC lines. Notably, RNA interference to ADAM-9, as well as inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase 8 (c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase), attenuated TNC-stimulated ADAM-9 expression, proteolytic activity, and BTIC invasiveness. The relevance of ADAM-9 to tumor invasiveness was validated using resected human glioblastoma specimens and orthotopic xenografts where elevation of ADAM-9 and TNC expression was prominent at the invasive front of the tumor.This study has identified TNC as a promoter of the invasiveness of BTICs through a mechanism involving ADAM-9 proteolysis via the c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase pathway.