The brain cancer stem cell (CSC) model describes a small subset of glioma cells as being responsible for tumor initiation, conferring therapy resistance and tumor recurrence. In brain CSC, the PI3-K/AKT and the RAS/mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways are found to be activated. In consequence, the human transcription factor YB-1, knowing to be responsible for the emergence of drug resistance and driving adenoviral replication, is phosphorylated and activated. With this knowledge, YB-1 was established in the past as a biomarker for disease progression and prognosis. This study determines the expression of YB-1 in glioblastoma (GBM) specimen in vivo and in brain CSC lines. In addition, the capacity of Ad-Delo3-RGD, an YB-1 dependent oncolytic adenovirus, to eradicate CSC was evaluated both in vitro and in vivo.
YB-1 expression was investigated by immunoblot and immuno-histochemistry. In vitro, viral replication as well as the capacity of Ad-Delo3-RGD to replicate in and, in consequence, to kill CSC was determined by real-time PCR and clonogenic dilution assays. In vivo, Ad-Delo3-RGD-mediated tumor growth inhibition was evaluated in an orthotopic mouse GBM model. Safety and specificity of Ad-Delo3-RGD were investigated in immortalized human astrocytes and by siRNA-mediated downregulation of YB-1.
YB-1 is highly expressed in brain CSC lines and in GBM specimen. Efficient viral replication in and virus-mediated lysis of CSC was observed in vitro. Experiments addressing safety aspects of Ad-Delo3-RGD showed that (i) virus production in human astrocytes was significantly reduced compared to wild type adenovirus (Ad-WT) and (ii) knockdown of YB-1 significantly reduced virus replication. Mice harboring othotopic GBM developed from a temozolomide (TMZ)-resistant GBM derived CSC line which was intratumorally injected with Ad-Delo3-RGD survived significantly longer than mice receiving PBS-injections or TMZ treatment.
The results of this study supported YB-1 based virotherapy as an attractive therapeutic strategy for GBM treatment which will be exploited further in multimodal treatment concepts.