Autophagy as a Potential Therapy for Malignant Glioma.
ABSTRACT: Glioma is the most frequent and aggressive type of brain neoplasm, being anaplastic astrocytoma (AA) and glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), its most malignant forms. The survival rate in patients with these neoplasms is 15 months after diagnosis, despite a diversity of treatments, including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. The resistance of GBM to various therapies is due to a highly mutated genome; these genetic changes induce a de-regulation of several signaling pathways and result in higher cell proliferation rates, angiogenesis, invasion, and a marked resistance to apoptosis; this latter trait is a hallmark of highly invasive tumor cells, such as glioma cells. Due to a defective apoptosis in gliomas, induced autophagic death can be an alternative to remove tumor cells. Paradoxically, however, autophagy in cancer can promote either a cell death or survival. Modulating the autophagic pathway as a death mechanism for cancer cells has prompted the use of both inhibitors and autophagy inducers. The autophagic process, either as a cancer suppressing or inducing mechanism in high-grade gliomas is discussed in this review, along with therapeutic approaches to inhibit or induce autophagy in pre-clinical and clinical studies, aiming to increase the efficiency of conventional treatments to remove glioma neoplastic cells.
Project description:Autophagy and the (PI3K-Akt/mTOR) signaling pathway play significant roles in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) cell death and survival. Curcumin (Cur) has been reported to prevent several cancers, including GBM. However, the poor solubility and limited bioavailability of natural Cur limits its application in preventing GBM growth. Previously, we have shown the greater apoptotic and anti-carcinogenic effects of solid lipid Cur particles (SLCP) than natural Cur in cultured GBM cells. Here, we compared the autophagic responses on cultured U-87MG, GL261, F98, C6-glioma, and N2a cells after treatment with Cur or SLCP (25 µM for 24 h). Different autophagy, mitophagy, and chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) markers, along with the PI3K-AKkt/mTOR signaling pathway, and the number of autophagy vacuoles were investigated after treatment with Cur and or SLCP. We observed increased levels of autophagy and decreased levels of mitophagy markers, along with inhibition of the PI3K-Akt/mTOR pathway after treatments with Cur or SLCP. Cell survival markers were downregulated, and cell death markers were upregulated after these treatments. We found greater effects in the case of SCLP-treated cells in comparison to Cur. Given that fewer effects were observed on C-6 glioma and N2a cells. Our results suggest that SLCP could be a safe and effective means of therapeutically modulating autophagy in GBM cells.
Project description:Malignant gliomas are extremely resistant to therapies that induce apoptosis, but are less resistant to therapies that induce autophagy. Therefore, drugs targeting autophagy are promising in the management of malignant gliomas. In this study, we investigated the anti-glioma potential of curcumin in vitro, and further examined the molecular mechanisms of curcumin-induced cell death in human malignant glioma. Here, we provide evidence that curcumin is cytotoxic against human malignant glioma cell lines, and the mechanism of cell death caused by curcumin is associated with features of autophagy. Curcumin suppresses the growth of human malignant glioma cells via ROS-dependent prostate apoptosis response-4 (Par-4) induction and ceramide generation. Extracellular supplementation of antioxidants such as glutathione and N-acetylcysteine to glioma cells abrogated the Par-4 induction, ceramide generation, and in turn, prevented curcumin-induced autophagic cell death. Moreover, tumor cells transfected with Par-4 gene sensitized the curcumin-induced autophagic cell death. Overall, this study describes a novel signaling pathway by which curcumin induces ROS-dependent Par-4 activation and ceramide generation, leading to autophagic cell death in human malignant glioma cells.
Project description:Identifying the molecular mechanisms responsible for the resistance of gliomas to anticancer treatments is an issue of great therapeutic interest. ?(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major active ingredient of marijuana, and other cannabinoids inhibit tumor growth in animal models of cancer, including glioma, an effect that relies, at least in part, on the stimulation of autophagy-mediated apoptosis in tumor cells. Here, by analyzing the gene expression profile of a large series of human glioma cells with different sensitivity to cannabinoid action, we have identified a subset of genes specifically associated to THC resistance. One of these genes, namely that encoding the growth factor midkine (Mdk), is directly involved in the resistance of glioma cells to cannabinoid treatment. We also show that Mdk mediates its protective effect via the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) receptor and that Mdk signaling through ALK interferes with cannabinoid-induced autophagic cell death. Furthermore, in vivo Mdk silencing or ALK pharmacological inhibition sensitizes cannabinod-resistant tumors to THC antitumoral action. Altogether, our findings identify Mdk as a pivotal factor involved in the resistance of glioma cells to THC pro-autophagic and antitumoral action, and suggest that selective targeting of the Mdk/ALK axis could help to improve the efficacy of antitumoral therapies for gliomas.
Project description:Temozolomide (TMZ), an alkylating agent, is widely used for treating primary and recurrent high-grade gliomas. However, the efficacy of TMZ is often limited by the development of resistance. Recently, studies have found that TMZ treatment could induce autophagy, which contributes to therapy resistance in glioma. To enhance the benefit of TMZ in the treatment of glioblastomas, effective combination strategies are needed to sensitize glioblastoma cells to TMZ. In this regard, as autophagy could promote cell survival or autophagic cell death, modulating autophagy using a pharmacological inhibitor, such as chloroquine, or an inducer, such as rapamycin, has received considerably more attention. To understand the effectiveness of regulating autophagy in glioblastoma treatment, this review summarizes reports on glioblastoma treatments with TMZ and autophagic modulators from in vitro and in vivo studies, as well as clinical trials. Additionally, we discuss the possibility of using autophagy regulatory compounds that can sensitive TMZ treatment as a chemotherapy for glioma treatment.
Project description:Glioblastoma (GBM) is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer. It has been proposed that the presence within these tumors of a population of cells with stem-like features termed Glioma Initiating Cells (GICs) is responsible for the relapses that take place in the patients with this disease. Targeting this cell population is therefore an issue of great therapeutic interest in neuro-oncology. We had previously found that the neurotrophic factor MIDKINE (MDK) promotes resistance to glioma cell death. The main objective of this work is therefore investigating the role of MDK in the regulation of GICs. Methods: Assays of gene and protein expression, self-renewal capacity, autophagy and apoptosis in cultures of GICs derived from GBM samples subjected to different treatments. Analysis of the growth of GICs-derived xenografts generated in mice upon blockade of the MDK and its receptor the ALK receptor tyrosine kinase (ALK) upon exposure to different treatments. Results: Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of MDK or ALK decreases the self-renewal and tumorigenic capacity of GICs via the autophagic degradation of the transcription factor SOX9. Blockade of the MDK/ALK axis in combination with temozolomide depletes the population of GICs in vitro and has a potent anticancer activity in xenografts derived from GICs. Conclusions: The MDK/ALK axis regulates the self-renewal capacity of GICs by controlling the autophagic degradation of the transcription factor SOX9. Inhibition of the MDK/ALK axis may be a therapeutic strategy to target GICs in GBM patients.
Project description:Proteolipid protein 2 (PLP2) is an integral ion channel membrane protein of the endoplasmic reticulum. The protein has been shown to be highly expressed in many cancer types, but its importance in glioma progression is poorly understood. Using publicly available datasets (Rembrandt, TCGA and CGGA), we found that the expression of PLP2 was significantly higher in high-grade gliomas than in low-grade gliomas. We confirmed these results at the protein level through IHC staining of high-grade (n = 56) and low-grade glioma biopsies (n = 16). Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated that increased PLP2 expression was associated with poorer patient survival. In functional experiments, siRNA and shRNA PLP2 knockdown induced ER stress and increased apoptosis and autophagy in U87 and U251 glioma cell lines. Inhibition of autophagy with chloroquine augmented apoptotic cell death in U87- and U251-siPLP2 cells. Finally, intracranial xenografts derived from U87- and U251-shPLP2 cells revealed that loss of PLP2 reduced glioma growth in vivo. Our results therefore indicate that increased PLP2 expression promotes GBM growth and that PLP2 represents a potential future therapeutic target.
Project description:Ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2C (UBE2C) is characterized as a crucial molecule in cancer cell growth that plays an essential role in the development of gliomas, but the detailed mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. In this study, we found that Forkhead box transcription factor M1 (FoxM1) overexpression increased UBE2C expression, whereas FoxM1 suppression inhibited UBE2C expression in glioma cells. In addition, high FoxM1/UBE2C expression was significantly correlated with poor prognosis in glioma. We subsequently demonstrated that UBE2C was a direct transcriptional target of FoxM1, and site-directed mutations markedly down-regulated UBE2C promoter activity. Moreover, UBE2C siRNA (si-UBE2C) significantly induced glioma cell autophagy and increased both mCherry-LC3 punctate fluorescence and LC3B-II/LC3-I expression. Notably, the si-UBE2C-induced decrease in cell viability was markedly inhibited by the autophagy inhibitor bafilomycin A1. The silencing of UBE2C resulted in a distinct inhibition of the PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway, which functions in the negative modulation of autophagy. Collectively, our findings provide clinical and molecular evidence that FoxM1 promotes glioma progression by enhancing UBE2C transcription and that the inhibition of UBE2C partially induces autophagic glioma cell death. Thus, targeting the FoxM1-UBE2C axis has therapeutic potential in the treatment of gliomas.
Project description:Autophagy is a life phenomenon in which autophagosomes remove damaged or aging organelles and long-lived circulating proteins to maintain the cell's stability. However, disorders of excessive autophagy are a response of cancer cells to a variety of anticancer treatments which lead to cancer cell death. The Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and the extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) pathways are both involved in nutrient-induced autophagic phenomenon and exhibit vital relevance to oncogenesis in various cancer cell types, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the influence of autophagy for cancer cell death remains controversial and few scientists have investigated the variation of these two signaling pathways in cancer cell autophagic phenomenon induced by anticancer treatment simultaneously. Here, we explored the anticancer efficacy and mechanisms of glycyrrhizin (GL), a bioactive compound of licorice with little toxicity in normal cells. It is interesting that inhibition of Akt/mTOR signaling in concurrence with enhanced ERK1/2 activity exists in GL-induced autophagy and cytotoxicity in HepG2 and MHCC97-H hepatocellular carcinoma cells. These results imply that the GL-related anticancer ability might correlate with the induction of autophagy. The influence of induced autophagic phenomenon on cell viability might depend on the severity of autophagy and be pathway specific. In the subsequent subcutaneous xenograft experiment in vivo with MHCC97-H cells, GL obviously exhibited its inhibitory efficacy in tumor growth via inducing excess autophagy in MHCC97-H cells (P < 0.05). Our data prompt that GL possesses a property of excess autophagic phenomenon induction in HCC and exerts high anticancer efficacy in vitro and in vivo. This warrants further investigation toward possible clinical applications in patients with HCC.
Project description:The role of autophagy in cancer onset and progression appears still controversial. On one hand, autophagy allows cancer cell to survive in unfavorable environmental conditions, on the other hand, once internal energy resources are exhausted, it leads to cell death. In addition, autophagy interpheres with cell cycle progression, de facto exerting a cytostatic activity. Hence, it represents an important target for anticancer therapy. For example, temozolomide (TMZ), of use for glioblastoma (GBM) treatment, appears as capable of inducing autophagy partially inhibiting cancer cell proliferation. However, GBM, a very aggressive brain tumor with poor prognosis even after surgery and radio-chemotherapy, invariably recurs and leads to patient death. Since cancer stem cells have been hypothesized to play a role in refractory/relapsing cancers, in the present work we investigated if autophagy could represent a constitutive cytoprotection mechanism for glioblastoma stem-like cells (GSCs) and if the modulation of autophagic process could affect GBM growth and survival. Thus, in the present study we first evaluated the relevance of autophagy in GBM tumor specimens, then its occurrence in GSCs and, finally, if modulation of autophagy could influence GSC response to TMZ. Our results suggested that, in vitro, the impairing autophagic process with quinacrine, a compound able to cross the blood-brain barrier, increased GSC susceptibility to TMZ. Death of GSCs was apparently due to the iron dependent form of programmed cell death characterized by the accumulation of lipid peroxides called ferroptosis. These results underscore the relevance of the modulation of autophagy in the GSC survival and death and suggest that triggering of ferroptosis in GSCs could represent a novel and important target for the management of glioblastoma.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common form of brain cancer with an average survival of less than 12 months, is a highly aggressive and fatal disease characterized by survival of glioma cells following initial treatment, invasion through the brain parenchyma and destruction of normal brain tissues, and ultimately resistance to current treatments. Temozolomide (TMZ) is commonly used chemotherapy for treatment of primary and recurrent high-grade gliomas. Nevertheless, the therapeutic outcome of TMZ is often unsatisfactory. In this study, we sought to determine whether eEF-2 kinase affected the sensitivity of glioma cells to treatment with TMZ.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>Using RNA interference approach, a small molecule inhibitor of eEF-2 kinase, and in vitro and in vivo glioma models, we observed that inhibition of eEF-2 kinase could enhance sensitivity of glioma cells to TMZ, and that this sensitizing effect was associated with blockade of autophagy and augmentation of apoptosis caused by TMZ.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>These findings demonstrated that targeting eEF-2 kinase can enhance the anti-glioma activity of TMZ, and inhibitors of this kinase may be exploited as chemo-sensitizers for TMZ in treatment of malignant glioma.