The Influence of Cellular Developmental State on Response to Therapeutics in Glioblastoma

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Cancer Res


Glioblastoma (GBM) is an aggressive tumor treated with ionizing radiation (IR) and temozolomide (TM). Here we investigate how developmental state of glioblastoma cells: cancer stem cells (CSC) or differentiated cells, influences cellular response to treatment. Tissue from untreated primary GBM tumors representing diverse genotype were dissociated and cultured in conditions selective for CSCs, which were subsequently differentiated into an astrocytic phenotype by culturing in media supplemented with 2% FBS. Stemness index was evaluated using a machine learning predictive algorithm. Sensitivity of both isogenic CSC and serum differentiated cell (SDC) populations to TM and IR was determined by non-linear fitting of dose-response curves, using CellTiterGlo to measure cell viability (n 5) . CSCs and SDCs were then subjected to sub-lethal TM, IR (4 Gy), or control treatments, in triplicate. Cells were harvested, and DNA was isolated and Illumina 450k DNA methylation array data was analyzed by using the Methylumi package in R software. RNA was isolated for sequencing, and differentially expressed genes were determined by NOISeq R package. Our results show that GBM CSCs are more vulnerable to both TM and IR treatment than the isogenic SDCs. Transcriptome profiling show that IR leads to increase in p53 mediated expression of pro-apoptotic genes such as MDM2, PUMA and BCL2 binding protein relative to control in CSCs. In differentiated cells, IR lead to an increase in WNT signaling, DNA-repair activity and histone modification /remodeling proteins. Enrichment analysis using Fishers exact test identified significant enrichment in lipid, fatty acid and metabolic processes as well as receptor tyrosine signaling. Globally, CSCs exhibited a decrease in protein coding genes and increase in regulatory RNA expression. DNA methylation show a global increase in CpG promoter methylation in differentiated cells relative to isogenic stem-like counterparts. We recovered significant differentially methylated probes between treatment groups (Wilcoxon signed rank test) as well as a global increase in CpG promoter methylation in IR treated cells relative to control. These findings underscore the challenge of treating a highly heterogeneous tumor and challenge a strategy of inducing differentiation to increase GBM sensitivity to treatment.





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