Hypoxic Roadmap of Glioblastoma-Learning about Directions and Distances in the Brain Tumor Environment.
ABSTRACT: Malignant brain tumor-glioblastoma is not only difficult to treat but also hard to study and model. One of the reasons for these is their heterogeneity, i.e., individual tumors consisting of cancer cells that are unlike each other. Such diverse cells can thrive due to the simultaneous co-evolution of anatomic niches and adaption into zones with distorted homeostasis of oxygen. It dampens cytotoxic and immune therapies as the response depends on the cellular composition and its adaptation to hypoxia. We explored what transcriptome reposition strategies are used by cells in the different areas of the tumor. We created the hypoxic map by differential expression analysis between hypoxic and cellular features using RNA sequencing data cross-referenced with the tumor's anatomic features (Ivy Glioblastoma Atlas Project). The molecular functions of genes differentially expressed in the hypoxic regions were analyzed by a systematic review of the gene ontology analysis. To put a hypoxic niche signature into a clinical context, we associated the model with patients' survival datasets (The Cancer Genome Atlas). The most unique class of genes in the hypoxic area of the tumor was associated with the process of autophagy. Both hypoxic and cellular anatomic features were enriched in immune response genes whose, along with autophagy cluster genes, had the power to predict glioblastoma patient survival. Our analysis revealed that transcriptome responsive to hypoxia predicted worse patients' outcomes by driving tumor cell adaptation to metabolic stress and immune escape.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:Tumor location has been shown to be a significant prognostic factor in patients with glioblastoma. The purpose of this study was to characterize glioblastoma lesions by identifying MR imaging voxel-based tumor location features that are associated with tumor molecular profiles, patient characteristics, and clinical outcomes. MATERIALS AND METHODS:Preoperative T1 anatomic MR images of 384 patients with glioblastomas were obtained from 2 independent cohorts (n = 253 from the Stanford University Medical Center for training and n = 131 from The Cancer Genome Atlas for validation). An automated computational image-analysis pipeline was developed to determine the anatomic locations of tumor in each patient. Voxel-based differences in tumor location between good (overall survival of >17 months) and poor (overall survival of <11 months) survival groups identified in the training cohort were used to classify patients in The Cancer Genome Atlas cohort into 2 brain-location groups, for which clinical features, messenger RNA expression, and copy number changes were compared to elucidate the biologic basis of tumors located in different brain regions. RESULTS:Tumors in the right occipitotemporal periventricular white matter were significantly associated with poor survival in both training and test cohorts (both, log-rank P < .05) and had larger tumor volume compared with tumors in other locations. Tumors in the right periatrial location were associated with hypoxia pathway enrichment and PDGFRA amplification, making them potential targets for subgroup-specific therapies. CONCLUSIONS:Voxel-based location in glioblastoma is associated with patient outcome and may have a potential role for guiding personalized treatment.
Project description:Expression of EGFRvIII is frequently observed in glioblastoma and is associated with increased cellular proliferation, enhanced tolerance to metabolic stresses, accelerated tumor growth, therapy resistance and poor prognosis. We observed that expression of EGFRvIII elevates the activation of macroautophagy/autophagy during starvation and hypoxia and explored the underlying mechanism and consequence. Autophagy was inhibited (genetically or pharmacologically) and its consequence for tolerance to metabolic stress and its therapeutic potential in (EGFRvIII+) glioblastoma was assessed in cellular systems, (patient derived) tumor xenopgrafts and glioblastoma patients. Autophagy inhibition abrogated the enhanced proliferation and survival advantage of EGFRvIII+ cells during stress conditions, decreased tumor hypoxia and delayed tumor growth in EGFRvIII+ tumors. These effects can be attributed to the supporting role of autophagy in meeting the high metabolic demand of EGFRvIII+ cells. As hypoxic tumor cells greatly contribute to therapy resistance, autophagy inhibition revokes the radioresistant phenotype of EGFRvIII+ tumors in (patient derived) xenograft tumors. In line with these findings, retrospective analysis of glioblastoma patients indicated that chloroquine treatment improves survival of all glioblastoma patients, but patients with EGFRvIII+ glioblastoma benefited most. Our findings disclose the unique autophagy dependency of EGFRvIII+ glioblastoma as a therapeutic opportunity. Chloroquine treatment may therefore be considered as an additional treatment strategy for glioblastoma patients and can reverse the worse prognosis of patients with EGFRvIII+ glioblastoma.
Project description:Cancer cells rely on mitochondrial functions to regulate key survival and death signals. How cancer cells regulate mitochondrial autophagy (mitophagy) in the tumor microenvironment as well as utilize mitophagy as a survival signal is still not well understood. Here, we elucidate a key survival mechanism of mitochondrial NIX-mediated mitophagy within the hypoxic region of glioblastoma, the most malignant brain tumor. NIX was overexpressed in the pseudopalisading cells that envelop the hypoxic-necrotic regions, and mitochondrial NIX expression was robust in patient-derived glioblastoma tumor tissues and glioblastoma stem cells. NIX was required for hypoxia and oxidative stress-induced mitophagy through NFE2L2/NRF2 transactivation. Silencing NIX impaired mitochondrial reactive oxygen species clearance, cancer stem cell maintenance, and HIF/mTOR/RHEB signaling pathways under hypoxia, resulting in suppression of glioblastoma survival in vitro and in vivo. Clinical significance of these findings was validated by the compelling association between NIX expression and poor outcome for patients with glioblastoma. Taken together, our findings indicate that the NIX-mediated mitophagic pathway may represent a key therapeutic target for solid tumors, including glioblastoma. SIGNIFICANCE: NIX-mediated mitophagy regulates tumor survival in the hypoxic niche of glioblastoma microenvironment, providing a potential therapeutic target for glioblastoma.Graphical Abstract: http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/canres/79/20/5218/F1.large.jpg.
Project description:Glioblastoma (GBM) is a malignant intracranial tumour with the highest proportion and lethality. It is characterized by invasiveness and heterogeneity. However, the currently available therapies are not curative. As an essential environmental cue that maintains glioma stem cells, hypoxia is considered the cause of tumour resistance to chemotherapy and radiation. Growing evidence shows that immunotherapy focusing on the tumour microenvironment is an effective treatment for GBM; however, the current clinicopathological features cannot predict the response to immunotherapy and provide accurate guidance for immunotherapy. Based on the ESTIMATE algorithm, GBM cases of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data set were classified into high- and low-immune/stromal score groups, and a four-gene tumour environment-related model was constructed. This model exhibited good efficiency at forecasting short- and long-term prognosis and could also act as an independent prognostic biomarker. Additionally, this model and four of its genes (CLECL5A, SERPING1, CHI3L1 and C1R) were found to be associated with immune cell infiltration, and further study demonstrated that these four genes might drive the hypoxic phenotype of perinecrotic GBM, which affects hypoxia-induced glioma stemness. Therefore, these might be important candidates for immunotherapy of GBM and deserve further exploration.
Project description:Tumor hypoxia is a common microenvironmental factor that adversely influences tumor phenotype and treatment response. Cellular adaptation to hypoxia occurs through multiple mechanisms, including activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR). Recent reports have indicated that hypoxia activates a lysosomal degradation pathway known as autophagy, and here we show that the UPR enhances the capacity of hypoxic tumor cells to carry out autophagy, and that this promotes their survival. In several human cancer cell lines, hypoxia increased transcription of the essential autophagy genes microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3beta (MAP1LC3B) and autophagy-related gene 5 (ATG5) through the transcription factors ATF4 and CHOP, respectively, which are regulated by PKR-like ER kinase (PERK, also known as EIF2AK3). MAP1LC3B and ATG5 are not required for initiation of autophagy but mediate phagophore expansion and autophagosome formation. We observed that transcriptional induction of MAP1LC3B replenished MAP1LC3B protein that was turned over during extensive hypoxia-induced autophagy. Correspondingly, cells deficient in PERK signaling failed to transcriptionally induce MAP1LC3B and became rapidly depleted of MAP1LC3B protein during hypoxia. Consistent with these data, autophagy and MAP1LC3B induction occurred preferentially in hypoxic regions of human tumor xenografts. Furthermore, pharmacological inhibition of autophagy sensitized human tumor cells to hypoxia, reduced the fraction of viable hypoxic tumor cells, and sensitized xenografted human tumors to irradiation. Our data therefore demonstrate that the UPR is an important mediator of the hypoxic tumor microenvironment and that it contributes to resistance to treatment through its ability to facilitate autophagy.
Project description:Antiangiogenic therapy leads to devascularization that limits tumor growth. However, the benefits of angiogenesis inhibitors are typically transient and resistance often develops. In this study, we explored the hypothesis that hypoxia caused by antiangiogenic therapy induces tumor cell autophagy as a cytoprotective adaptive response, thereby promoting treatment resistance. Hypoxia-induced autophagy was dependent on signaling through the hypoxia-inducible factor-1? (HIF-1?)/AMPK pathway, and treatment of hypoxic cells with autophagy inhibitors caused a shift from autophagic to apoptotic cell death in vitro. In glioblastomas, clinically resistant to the VEGF-neutralizing antibody bevacizumab, increased regions of hypoxia and higher levels of autophagy-mediating BNIP3 were found when compared with pretreatment specimens from the same patients. When treated with bevacizumab alone, human glioblastoma xenografts showed increased BNIP3 expression and hypoxia-associated growth, which could be prevented by addition of the autophagy inhibitor chloroquine. In vivo targeting of the essential autophagy gene ATG7 also disrupted tumor growth when combined with bevacizumab treatment. Together, our findings elucidate a novel mechanism of resistance to antiangiogenic therapy in which hypoxia-mediated autophagy promotes tumor cell survival. One strong implication of our findings is that autophagy inhibitors may help prevent resistance to antiangiogenic therapy used in the clinic.
Project description:Recent studies demonstrated that autophagy is an important regulator of innate immune response. However, the mechanism by which autophagy regulates natural killer (NK) cell-mediated antitumor immune responses remains elusive. Here, we demonstrate that hypoxia impairs breast cancer cell susceptibility to NK-mediated lysis in vitro via the activation of autophagy. This impairment was not related to a defect in target cell recognition by NK cells but to the degradation of NK-derived granzyme B in autophagosomes of hypoxic cells. Inhibition of autophagy by targeting beclin1 (BECN1) restored granzyme B levels in hypoxic cells in vitro and induced tumor regression in vivo by facilitating NK-mediated tumor cell killing. Together, our data highlight autophagy as a mechanism underlying the resistance of hypoxic tumor cells to NK-mediated lysis. The work presented here provides a cutting-edge advance in our understanding of the mechanism by which hypoxia-induced autophagy impairs NK-mediated lysis in vitro and paves the way for the formulation of more effective NK cell-based antitumor therapies.
Project description:Tumor cycling hypoxia is now a well-recognized phenomenon in animal and human solid tumors. However, how tumor cycling hypoxia impacts chemotherapy is unclear. In the present study, we explored the impact and the mechanism of cycling hypoxia on tumor microenvironment-mediated chemoresistance. Hoechst 33342 staining and hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) activation labeling together with immunofluorescence imaging and fluorescence-activated cell sorting were used to isolate hypoxic tumor subpopulations from human glioblastoma xenografts. ABCB1 expression, P-glycoprotein function, and chemosensitivity in tumor cells derived from human glioblastoma xenografts or in vitro cycling hypoxic stress-treated glioblastoma cells were determined using Western blot analysis, drug accumulation and efflux assays, and MTT assay, respectively. ABCB1 expression and P-glycoprotein function were upregulated under cycling hypoxia in glioblastoma cells concomitant with decreased responses to doxorubicin and BCNU. However, ABCB1 knockdown inhibited these effects. Moreover, immunofluorescence imaging and flow cytometric analysis for ABCB1, HIF-1 activation, and Hoechst 3342 in glioblastoma revealed highly localized ABCB1 expression predominantly in potentially cycling hypoxic areas with HIF-1 activation and blood perfusion in the solid tumor microenvironment. The cycling hypoxic tumor cells derived from glioblastoma xenografts exhibited higher ABCB1 expression, P-glycoprotein function, and chemoresistance, compared with chronic hypoxic and normoxic cells. Tumor-bearing mice that received YC-1, an HIF-1? inhibitor, exhibited suppressed tumor microenvironment-induced ABCB1 induction and enhanced survival rate in BCNU chemotherapy. Cycling hypoxia plays a vital role in tumor microenvironment-mediated chemoresistance through the HIF-1-dependent induction of ABCB1. HIF-1 blockade before and concurrent with chemotherapy could suppress cycling hypoxia-induced chemoresistance.
Project description:Rapid growth of brain tumors such as glioblastoma often results in oxygen deprivation and the emergence of hypoxic zones. In consequence, the enrichment of reactive oxygen species occurs, harming nonmalignant cells and leading them toward apoptotic cell death. However, cancer cells survive such exposure and thrive in a hypoxic environment. As the mechanisms responsible for such starkly different outcomes are not sufficiently explained, we aimed to explore what transcriptome rearrangements are used by glioblastoma cells in hypoxic areas. Using metadata analysis of transcriptome in different subregions of the glioblastoma retrieved from the Ivy Glioblastoma Atlas Project, we created the reactive oxygen species-dependent map of the transcriptome. This map was then used for the analysis of differential gene expression in the histologically determined cellular tumors and hypoxic zones. The gene ontology analysis cross-referenced with the clinical data from The Cancer Genome Atlas revealed that the metabolic shift is one of the major prosurvival strategies applied by cancer cells to overcome hypoxia-related cytotoxicity.
Project description:Glioma groups, including lower-grade glioma (LGG) and glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), are the most common primary brain tumor. Malignant gliomas, especially glioblastomas, are associated with a dismal prognosis. Hypoxia is a driver of the malignant phenotype in glioma groups; it triggers a cascade of immunosuppressive processes and malignant cellular responses (tumor progression, anti-apoptosis, and resistance to chemoradiotherapy), which result in disease progression and poor prognosis. However, approaches to determine the extent of hypoxia in the tumor microenvironment are still unclear. Here, we downloaded 575 LGG patients and 354 GBM patients from Chinese Glioma Genome Atlas (GGGA), and 530 LGG patients and 167 GBM patients from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) with RNA sequence and clinicopathological data. We developed a hypoxia risk model to reflect the immune microenvironment in glioma and predict prognosis. High hypoxia risk score was associated with poor prognosis and indicated an immunosuppressive microenvironment. Hypoxia signature significantly correlated with clinical and molecular features and could serve as an independent prognostic factor for glioma patients. Moreover, Gene Set Enrichment Analysis showed that gene sets associated with the high-risk group were involved in carcinogenesis and immunosuppression signaling. In conclusion, we developed and validated a hypoxia risk model, which served as an independent prognostic indicator and reflected overall immune response intensity in the glioma microenvironment.