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1.  CCR7 signalling as an essential regulator of CNS infiltration in T-cell leukaemia 
Nature  2009;459(7249):1000-1004.
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL) is a blood malignancy afflicting mainly children and adolescents1. T-ALL patients present at diagnosis with increased white cell counts and hepatosplenomegaly, and are at an increased risk of central nervous system (CNS) relapse2,3. For that reason, T-ALL patients usually receive cranial irradiation in addition to intensified intrathecal chemotherapy. The marked increase in survival is thought to be worth the considerable side-effects associated with this therapy. Such complications include secondary tumours, neurocognitive deficits, endocrine disorders and growth impairment3. Little is known about the mechanism of leukaemic cell infiltration of the CNS, despite its clinical importance4. Here we show, using T-ALL animal modelling and gene-expression profiling, that the chemokine receptor CCR7 (ref. 5) is the essential adhesion signal required for the targeting of leukaemic T-cells into the CNS. Ccr7 gene expression is controlled by the activity of the T-ALL oncogene Notch1 and is expressed in human tumours carrying Notch1-activating mutations. Silencing of either CCR7 or its chemokine ligand CCL19 (ref. 6) in an animal model of T-ALL specifically inhibits CNS infiltration. Furthermore, murine CNS-targeting by human T-ALL cells depends on their ability to express CCR7. These studies identify a single chemokine–receptor interaction as a CNS ‘entry’ signal, and open the way for future pharmacological targeting. Targeted inhibition of CNS involvement in T-ALL could potentially decrease the intensity of CNS-targeted therapy, thus reducing its associated short- and long-term complications.
PMCID: PMC3750496  PMID: 19536265
2.  Radiotherapy Enhances Antitumor Effect of Anti-CD137 Therapy in a Mouse Glioma Model 
Radiation research  2010;173(4):426-432.
Previously, we reported that peripheral vaccination of mice with modified autologous tumor cells secreting granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) combined with ionizing radiation to the whole brain cured 50% of mice using a syngeneic, intracranial model of murine high-grade glioma. Here, we tested the combination of radiotherapy (4 Gy × 2) with an immunotherapeutic approach using an anti-CD137 antibody directed to the co-stimulatory molecule CD137. The CD137 antibody has shown promise in generating effective antitumor responses in several animal models and has demonstrated a favorable toxicity profile in the clinic. The combination of radiation and anti-CD137 therapy resulted in complete tumor eradication and prolonged survival in six of nine (67%) mice with established brain tumors (P = 0.0009). Five of six (83%) long-term survivors in the combination group demonstrated antitumor immunity by rejecting challenge tumors. Antitumor immunity was associated with an increased number of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in brain tumors and increased tumor-specific production of γ IFN. In view of the finding that radiation enhanced the antitumor effect of anti-CD137 therapy, this approach should be studied further for clinical translation.
PMCID: PMC3721320  PMID: 20334514
3.  Knock down of HIF-1α in glioma cells reduces migration in vitro and invasion in vivo and impairs their ability to form tumor spheres 
Molecular Cancer  2010;9:133.
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and malignant primary intracranial human neoplasm. GBMs are characterized by the presence of extensive areas of necrosis and hypoxia. Hypoxia and its master regulator, hypoxia inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) play a key role in glioma invasion.
To further elucidate the functional role of HIF-1α in glioma cell migration in vitro and in invasion in vivo, we used a shRNA approach to knock down HIF-1α expression complemented with genome-wide expression profiling, performed in both normoxic and hypoxic conditions. Our data show that knock down of HIF-1α in glioma cells significantly impairs their migration in vitro as well as their ability to invade into the brain parenchyma in vivo. Next, we assessed the role that HIF-1α plays in maintaining the characteristics of cancer stem cells (CSCs). By using the tumor sphere forming assay, we demonstrate that HIF-1α plays a role in the survival and self-renewal potential of CSCs. Finally, expression profiling experiments in glioma cells provided detailed insight into a broad range of specific biological pathways and processes downstream of HIF-1α. We discuss the role of these processes in the migratory and invasive properties, as well as the stem cell biology of glioblastomas
Our data show that knock down of HIF-1α in human and murine glioma cells impairs their migration in vitro and their invasion in vivo. In addition, our data suggest that HIF-1α plays a role in the survival and self-renewal potential of CSCs and identify genes that might further elucidate the role of HIF-1α in tumor migration, invasion and stem cell biology.
PMCID: PMC2896954  PMID: 20515450
4.  Antiangiogenic Effects of Noscapine Enhance Radioresponse for GL261 Tumors 
To determine whether the tubulin-binding drug noscapine could enhance radiosensitivity of GL261 glioma tumors by inhibiting tumor angiogenesis.
Methods and Materials
The human T98G and murine GL261 glioma cell lines treated with noscapine, radiation, or both were assayed for clonogenic survival. Mice with established GL261 hind limb tumors were treated with noscapine, radiation or both to evaluate the effect of noscapine on radioresponse. In a separate experiment with the same treatment groups, 7 days after radiation tumors were resected and immunostained to measure proliferation rate, apoptosis and angiogenic activity.
Noscapine reduced clonogenic survival without enhancement of radiosensitivity in vitro. Noscapine combined with radiation significantly increased tumor growth delay: 5, 8, 13, 18 days for control, noscapine alone, radiation alone, and the combination treatment, respectively (p < 0.001). To assess the effect of the combination of noscapine plus radiation on the tumor vasculature, tubule formation by the murine endothelial 2H11 cells was tested. Noscapine with radiation significantly inhibited tubule formation compared with radiation alone. By immunohistochemistry, tumors treated with the combination of noscapine plus radiation showed a decrease in BrdU incorporation, an increase in apoptosis by TUNEL and a decrease in tumor vessel density compared with tumors treated with radiation alone.
Noscapine enhanced the sensitivity of GL261 glioma tumors to radiation resulting in a significant tumor growth delay. These findings are clinically relevant, particularly in view of the mild toxicity profile of this drug.
PMCID: PMC2572218  PMID: 18640497
Noscapine; glioma; GL261 mouse model; angiogenesis; radioresponse
5.  Flavopiridol downregulates hypoxia-mediated hypoxia-inducible factor-1α expression in human glioma cells by a proteasome-independent pathway: Implications for in vivo therapy1 
Neuro-Oncology  2005;7(3):225-235.
Angiogenesis is a critical step required for sustained tumor growth and tumor progression. The stimulation of endothelial cells by cytokines secreted by tumor cells such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) induces their proliferation and migration. This is a prominent feature of high-grade gliomas. The secretion of VEGF is greatly upregulated under conditions of hypoxia because of the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α, which controls the expression of many genes, allowing rapid adaptation of cells to their hypoxic microenvironment. Flavopiridol, a novel cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, has been attributed with antiangiogenic properties in some cancer cell lines by its ability to inhibit VEGF production. Here, we show that flavopiridol treatment of human U87MG and T98G glioma cell lines decreases hypoxia-mediated HIF-1α expression, VEGF secretion, and tumor cell migration. These in vitro results correlate with reduced vascularity of intracranial syngeneic GL261 gliomas from animals treated with flavopiridol. In addition, we show that flavopiridol downregulates HIF-1α expression in the presence of a proteasome inhibitor, an agent that normally results in the accumulation and overexpression of HIF-1α. The potential to downregulate HIF-1α expression with flavopiridol treatment in combination with a proteasome inhibitor makes this an extremely attractive anticancer treatment strategy for tumors with high angiogenic activity, such as gliomas.
PMCID: PMC1871916  PMID: 16053697
flavopiridol; proteasome inhibitor; hypoxia; HIF-1α; VEGF; glioma

Results 1-5 (5)