Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive adult brain tumor with a poor prognosis. One hallmark of GBM is the accumulation of immunosuppressive and tumor-promoting CD4+FoxP3+GITR+ regulatory T cells (Tregs). Here, we investigated the role of indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase (IDO) in brain tumors and the impact on Treg recruitment.
To determine the clinical relevance of IDO expression in brain tumors, we first correlated patient survival to the level of IDO expression from resected glioma specimens. We also used novel orthotopic and transgenic models of glioma to study how IDO affects Tregs. The impact of tumor-derived and peripheral IDO expression on Treg recruitment, GITR expression and long-term survival was determined.
Downregulated IDO expression in glioma predicted a significantly better prognosis in patients. Co-incidently, both IDO -competent and -deficient mice showed a survival advantage bearing IDO-deficient brain tumors, when compared to IDO-competent brain tumors. Moreover, IDO-deficiency was associated with a significant decrease in brain-resident Tregs, both in orthotopic and transgenic mouse glioma models. IDO-deficiency was also associated with lower GITR expression levels on Tregs. Interestingly, the long-term survival advantage conferred by IDO-deficiency was lost in T cell-deficient mice.
These clinical and pre-clinical data confirm that IDO expression increases the recruitment of immunosuppressive Tregs which leads to tumor outgrowth. In contrast, IDO deficiency decreases Treg recruitment and enhances T cell-mediated tumor rejection. Thus, the data suggest a critical role for IDO-mediated immunosuppression in glioma and supports the continued investigation of IDO-Treg interactions in the context of brain tumors.
immunosuppression; tryptophan; glioblastoma; metabolism; immunotherapy
Interleukin 13 receptor alpha 2 (IL-13RA2) is over-expressed in a vast majority of human patients with high-grade astrocytomas like glioblastoma. Spontaneous astrocytomas in dogs resemble human disease and have been proposed as translational model system for investigation of novel therapeutic strategies for brain tumors. We have generated reagents for both detection and therapeutic targeting of IL-13RA2 in human and canine brain tumors. Peptides from three different regions of IL-13RA2 with 100% sequence identity between human and canine receptors were used as immunogens for generation of monoclonal antibodies. Recombinant canine mutant IL-13 (canIL-13.E13K) and canIL-13.E13K based cytotoxin were also produced. The antibodies were examined for their immunoreactivities in western blots, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence and cell binding assays using human and canine tumor specimen sections, tissue lysates and established cell lines; the cytotoxin was tested for specific cell killing. Several isolated MAbs were immunoreactive to IL-13RA2 in western blots of cell and tissue lysates from glioblastomas from both human and canine patients. Human and canine astrocytomas and oligodendrogliomas were also positive for IL-13RA2 to various degrees. Interestingly, both human and canine meningiomas also exhibited strong reactivity. Normal human and canine brain samples were virtually negative for IL-13RA2 using the newly generated MAbs. MAb 1E10B9 uniquely worked on tissue specimens and western blots, bound live cells and was internalized in GBM cells over-expressing IL-13RA2. The canIL-13.E13K cytotoxin was very potent and specific in killing canine GBM cell lines. Thus, we have obtained several monoclonal antibodies against IL-13RA2 cross-reacting with human and canine receptors. In addition to GBM, other brain tumors, such as high grade oligodendrogliomas, meningiomas and canine choroid plexus papillomas, appear to express the receptor at high levels and thus may be appropriate candidates for IL-13RA2-targeted imaging/therapies. Canine spontaneous primary brain tumors represent an excellent translational model for human counterparts.
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common and aggressive form of brain tumor, characterized by high migratory behavior and infiltration in brain parenchyma which render classic therapeutic approach ineffective. The migratory behaviour of GBM cells could be conditioned by a number of tissue- and glioma-derived cytokines and growth factors. Although the pro-migratory action of CXCL12 on GBM cells in vitro and in vivo is recognized, the molecular mechanisms involved are not clearly identified. In fact the signaling pathways involved in the pro-migratory action of CXCL12 may differ in individual glioblastoma and integrate with those resulting from abnormal expression and activation of growth factor receptors. In this study we investigated whether some of the receptor tyrosine kinases commonly expressed in GBM cells could cooperate with CXCL12/CXCR4 in their migratory behavior. Our results show a functional cross-talk between CXCR4 and PDGFR which appears to be essential for GBM chemotaxis.
Conditionally replicating adenoviruses (CRAd) are a promising class of gene therapy agents that can overcome already known glioblastoma (GBM) resistance mechanisms but have limited distribution upon direct intratumoral (i.t.) injection. Collagen bundles in the extracellular matrix (ECM) play an important role in inhibiting virus distribution. In fact, ECM pre-treatment with collagenases improves virus distributions to tumor cells. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are an endogenous class of collagenases secreted by tumor cells whose function can be altered by different drugs including anti-angiogenic agents, such as bevacizumab. In this study we hypothesized that up-regulation of MMP activity during antiangiogenic therapy can improve CRAd-S-pk7 distribution in GBM. We find that MMP-2 activity in human U251 GBM xenografts increases (*p=0.03) and collagen IV content decreases (*p=0.01) during vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-A) antibody neutralization. After proving that collagen IV inhibits CRAd-S-pk7 distribution in U251 xenografts (Spearman rho= −0.38; **p=0.003), we show that VEGF blocking antibody treatment followed by CRAd-S-pk7 i.t. injection reduces U251 tumor growth more than each individual agent alone (***p<0.0001). Our data proposes a novel approach to improve virus distribution in tumors by relying on the early effects of anti-angiogenic therapy.
anti-VEGF; bevacizumab; oncolytic virus; adenovirus; metalloproteinase; glioma; glioblastoma; brain tumor
Vδ2neg γδ T cells, of which Vδ1+ γδ T cells are by far the largest subset, are important effectors against CMV infection. Malignant gliomas often contain CMV genetic material and proteins, and evidence exists that CMV infection may be associated with initiation and/or progression of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). We sought to determine if Vδ1+ γδ T cells were cytotoxic to GBM and the extent to which their cytotoxicity was CMV dependent. We examined the cytotoxic effect of ex vivo expanded/activated Vδ1+ γδ T cells from healthy CMV seropositive and CMV seronegative donors on unmanipulated and CMV-infected established GBM cell lines and cell lines developed from short- term culture of primary tumors. Expanded/activated Vδ1+ T cells killed CMV-negative U251, U87, and U373 GBM cell lines and two primary tumor explants regardless of the serologic status of the donor. Experimental CMV infection did not increase Vδ1+ T cell - mediated cytotoxicity and in some cases the cell lines were more resistant to lysis when infected with CMV. Flow cytometry analysis of CMV-infected cell lines revealed down-regulation of the NKG2D ligands ULBP-2, and ULBP-3 as well as MICA/B in CMV-infected cells. These studies show that ex vivo expanded/activated Vδ1+ γδ T cells readily recognize and kill established GBM cell lines and primary tumor-derived GBM cells regardless of whether CMV infection is present, however, CMV may enhance the resistance GBM cell lines to innate recognition possibly contributing to the poor immunogenicity of GBM.
Members of the Src family kinases (SFK) can modulate diverse cellular processes, including division, death and survival, but their role in autophagy has been minimally explored. Here, we investigated the roles of Lyn, a SFK, in promoting the survival of human glioblastoma tumor (GBM) cells in vitro and in vivo using lentiviral vector-mediated expression of constitutively-active Lyn (CA-Lyn) or dominant-negative Lyn (DN-Lyn). Expression of either CA-Lyn or DN-Lyn had no effect on the survival of U87 GBM cells grown under nutrient-rich conditions. In contrast, under nutrient-deprived conditions (absence of supplementation with L-glutamine, which is essential for growth of GBM cells, and FBS) CA-Lyn expression enhanced survival and promoted autophagy as well as inhibiting cell death and promoting proliferation. Expression of DN-Lyn promoted cell death. In the nutrient-deprived GBM cells, CA-Lyn expression enhanced AMPK activity and reduced the levels of pS6 kinase whereas DN-Lyn enhanced the levels of pS6 kinase. Similar results were obtained in vitro using another cultured GBM cell line and primary glioma stem cells. On propagation of the transduced GBM cells in the brains of nude mice, the CA-Lyn xenografts formed larger tumors than control cells and autophagosomes were detectable in the tumor cells. The DN-Lyn xenografts formed smaller tumors and contained more apoptotic cells. Our findings suggest that on nutrient deprivation in vitro Lyn acts to enhance the survival of GBM cells by promoting autophagy and proliferation as well as inhibiting cell death, and Lyn promotes the same effects in vivo in xenograft tumors. As the levels of Lyn protein or its activity are elevated in several cancers these findings may be of broad relevance to cancer biology.
Metalloproteinases are membrane-bound proteins that play a role in the cellular responses to antiglioma therapy. Previously, it has been shown that treatment of glioma cells with temozolomide (TMZ) and radiation (XRT) induces the expression of metalloproteinase 14 (MMP14). To investigate the role of MMP14 in gliomagenesis, we used several chemical inhibitors which affect MMP14 expression. Of all the inhibitors tested, we found that Marimastat not only inhibits the expression of MMP14 in U87 and U251 glioma cells, but also induces cell cycle arrest. To determine the relationship between MMP14 inhibition and alteration of the cell cycle, we used an RNAi technique. Genetic knockdown of MMP14 in U87 and U251 glioma cells induced G2/M arrest and decreased proliferation. Mechanistically, we show that TMZ and XRT regulated expression of MMP14 in clinical samples and in vitro models through downregulation of microRNA374. In vivo genetic knockdown of MMP14 significantly decreased tumor growth of glioma xenografts and improved survival of glioma-bearing mice. Moreover, the combination of MMP14 silencing with TMZ and XRT significantly improved the survival of glioma-bearing mice compared to a single modality treatment group. Therefore, we show that the inhibition of MMP14 sensitizes tumor cells to TMZ and XRT and could be used as a future strategy for antiglioma therapy.
Glioblastoma remains an incurable form of brain cancer. In this manuscript, we show that inhibition of MMP14 can potentiate the efficacy of current standard of care which includes chemo- and radiotherapy.
Brain cancer; glioma; MMP14; radiation; temozolomide
Cytokine immunogene therapy is a promising strategy for cancer treatment. Interleukin (IL)-12 boosts potent antitumor immunity by inducing T helper 1 cell differentiation and stimulating cytotoxic T lymphocyte and natural killer cell cytotoxicity. IL-23 has been proposed to have similar but not overlapping functions with IL-12 in inducing Th1 cell differentiation and antitumor immunity. However, the therapeutic effects of intratumoral co-expression of IL-12 and IL-23 in a cancer model have yet to be investigated. Therefore, we investigated for the first time an effective cancer immunogene therapy of syngeneic tumors via intratumoral inoculation of oncolytic adenovirus co-expressing IL-23 and p35, RdB/IL23/p35. Intratumoral administration of RdB/IL23/p35 elicited strong antitumor effects and increased survival in a murine B16-F10 syngeneic tumor model. The levels of IL-12, IL-23, interferon-γ (IFN-γ), and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) were elevated in RdB/IL23/p35-treated tumors. Moreover, the proportion of regulatory T cells was markedly decreased in mice treated with RdB/IL23/p35. Consistent with these data, mice injected with RdB/IL23/p35 showed massive infiltration of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells into the tumor as well as enhanced induction of tumor-specific immunity. Importantly, therapeutic mechanism of antitumor immunity mediated by RdB/IL23/p35 is associated with the generation and recruitment of IFN-γ- and TNF-α-co-producing T cells in tumor microenvironment. These results provide a new insight into therapeutic mechanisms of IL-12 plus IL-23 and provide a potential clinical cancer immunotherapeutic agent for improved antitumor immunity.
Metastases to the brain represent a feared complication and contribute to the morbidity and mortality of breast cancer. Despite improvements in therapy, prognostic factors for development of metastases are lacking. KISS1 is a metastasis suppressor that demonstrates inhibition of metastases formation in several types of cancer. The purpose of this study was to determine the importance of KISS1 expression in breast cancer progression and the development of intracerebral lesions.
In this study, we performed a comparative analysis of 47 brain metastases and 165 primary breast cancer specimens by using the antihuman KISS1 antibody. To compare KISS1 expression between different groups, we used a 3-tier score and the automated score computer software (ACIS) evaluation. To reveal association between mRNA and protein expression, we used quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis. Significance of immunohistochemistry stainings was correlated with clinicopathological data.
We identified that KISS1 expression is significantly higher in primary breast cancer compared with brain metastases (P < .05). The mRNA analysis performed on 33 selected ductal carcinoma brain metastatic lesions and 36 primary ductal carcinomas revealed a statistically significant down-regulation of KISS1 protein in metastatic cases (P = .04). Finally, we observed a significant correlation between expression of KISS1 and metastasis-free survival (P = .04) along with progression of breast cancer and expression of KISS1 in primary breast cancer specimens (P = .044).
In conclusion, our study shows that breast cancer expresses KISS1. Cytoplasmic expression of KISS1 may be used as a prognostic marker for increased risk of breast cancer progression.
KISS1; breast cancer; brain metastases; mediator; suppressor; IHC; RNA
Brain tumors are a unique class of cancers since they are anatomically shielded from normal immunosurveillance by the blood brain barrier, lack a normal lymphatic drainage system and reside in a potently immunosuppressive environment. Of the primary brain cancers, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and aggressive in adults. Although treatment options include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, the average lifespan of GBM patients remains at only 14.6 months post-diagnosis.
A review of key cellular and molecular immune system mediators in the context of brain tumors including TGF-β, cytotoxic T cells, Tregs, CTLA-4, PD-1, and IDO, is discussed. In addition, prognostic factors, currently utilized immunotherapeutic strategies, on-going clinical trials, and a discussion of new or potential immunotherapies for brain tumor patients are considered.
Current drugs that improve the quality of life and overall survival in patients with brain tumors, especially for GBM, are poorly effective. This disease requires a re-analysis of currently accepted treatment strategies, as well as newly designed approaches. Here, we review the fundamental aspects of immunosuppression in brain tumors, new and promising immunotherapeutic drugs, as well as combinatorial strategies that focus on the simultaneous inhibition of immunosuppressive hubs, both in immune- and brain tumor-cells, which is critical to consider for achieving future success for the treatment of this devastating disease.
Glioblastoma; glioma; Treg; Rindopepimut; CTLA-4; PD-1; IDO; TGF-β
In vivo tracking of gene therapy vectors challenges the investigation and improvement of biodistribution of these agents in the brain, a key feature for their targeting of infiltrative malignant gliomas. The glioma-targeting Ad5/3-cRGD gene therapy vector was covalently bound to super-paramagnetic iron oxide (Fe3O4) nanoparticles (SPION) to monitor its distribution by MRI. Transduction of labeled and unlabeled vectors was assessed on the U87 glioma cell line and normal human astrocytes (NHA), and was higher in U87 compared to NHA, but was similar between labeled and unlabeled virus. An in vivo study was performed by intracranial subcortical injection of labeled-Ad5/3-cRGD particles into a pig brain. The labeled vector appeared in vivo as a T2-weighted hyperintensity and a T2-gradient echo signal at the injection site, persisting up to 72 hours post-injection. We describe a glioma-targeting vector that is labeled with SPION, thereby allowing for MRI detection with no change in transduction capability.
Adenovirus; Gene therapy; Nanoparticle
The feasibility of cancer immunotherapy mediated by T lymphocytes is now a clinical reality. Indeed, many tumour associated antigens have been identified for cytotoxic CD8 T cells, which are believed to be key mediators of tumour rejection. However, for aggressive malignancies in specialised anatomic sites such as the brain, a limiting factor is suboptimal tumour infiltration by CD8 T cells. Here we take advantage of recent advances in T cell biology to differentially polarise CD4 T cells in order to explore their capacity to enhance immunotherapy. We used an adoptive cell therapy approach to work with clonal T cell populations of defined specificity. Th1 CD4 T cells preferentially homed to and accumulated within intracranial tumours compared with Th2 CD4 T cells. Moreover, tumour-antigen specific Th1 CD4 T cells enhanced CD8 T cell recruitment and function within the brain tumour bed. Survival of mice bearing intracranial tumours was significantly prolonged when CD4 and CD8 T cells were co-transferred. These results should encourage further definition of tumour antigens recognised by CD4 T cells, and exploitation of both CD4 and CD8 T cell subsets to optimise T cell therapy of cancer.
With therapies for systemic malignancy improving, life expectancy for cancer patients is becoming increasingly dependent on control of brain metastatic disease. Despite improvements in surgical and radiotherapy modalities for control of brain metastasis, the prognosis for patients with brain metastases is poor. The development of controlled release polymers has lead to novel new therapies for malignant brain tumors consisting of direct surgical delivery of chemotherapy agents to the tumor bed and sustained chemotherapy release over a prolonged period of time. Although there is a large body of literature in support of BCNU polymer wafer for primary brain malignancy and experimental brain metastases, clinical studies evaluating the BCNU polymer wafer for brain metastatic disease are relatively sparse. In this review, we discuss the role of the BCNU polymer wafer for brain metastasis focusing specifically on rationale for use of locally delivered sustained release polymers, history of the BCNU polymer wafer, and emerging studies examining the role of the BCNU polymer wafer for metastatic brain tumors.
Brain tumor; brain metastasis; BCNU polymer wafer; gliadel chemotherapy; local delivery
Temozolomide (TMZ) is an alkylating agent shown to prolong survival in patients with high grade glioma and is routinely used to treat melanoma brain metastases. A prominent side effect of TMZ is induction of profound lymphopenia, which some suggest may be incompatible with immunotherapy. Conversely, it has been proposed that recovery from chemotherapy-induced lymphopenia may actually be exploited to potentiate T-cell responses. Here, we report the first demonstration of TMZ as an immune host-conditioning regimen in an experimental model of brain tumor and examine its impact on antitumor efficacy of a well-characterized peptide vaccine. Our results show that high-dose, myeloablative (MA) TMZ resulted in markedly reduced CD4+, CD8+ T-cell and CD4+Foxp3+ TReg counts. Adoptive transfer of naïve CD8+ T cells and vaccination in this setting led to an approximately 70-fold expansion of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells over controls. Ex vivo analysis of effector functions revealed significantly enhanced levels of pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion from mice receiving MA TMZ when compared to those treated with a lower lymphodepletive, non-myeloablative (NMA) dose. Importantly, MA TMZ, but not NMA TMZ was uniquely associated with an elevation of endogenous IL-2 serum levels, which we also show was required for optimal T-cell expansion. Accordingly, in a murine model of established intracerebral tumor, vaccination-induced immunity in the setting of MA TMZ–but not lymphodepletive, NMA TMZ–led to significantly prolonged survival. Overall, these results may be used to leverage the side-effects of a clinically-approved chemotherapy and should be considered in future study design of immune-based treatments for brain tumors.
Despite all recent advances in malignant glioma research, only modest progress has been achieved in improving patient prognosis and quality of life. Such a clinical scenario underscores the importance of investing in new therapeutic approaches that, when combined with conventional therapies, are able to effectively eradicate glioma infiltration and target distant tumor foci. Nanoparticle-loaded delivery systems have recently arisen as an exciting alternative to improve targeted anti-glioma drug delivery. As drug carriers, they are able to efficiently protect the therapeutic agent and allow for sustained drug release. In addition, their surface can be easily manipulated with the addition of special ligands, which are responsible for enhancing tumor-specific nanoparticle permeability. However, their inefficient intratumoral distribution and failure to target disseminated tumor burden still pose a big challenge for their implementation as a therapeutic option in the clinical setting. Stem cell-based delivery of drug-loaded nanoparticles offers an interesting option to overcome such issues. Their ability to incorporate nanoparticles and migrate throughout interstitial barriers, together with their inherent tumor-tropic properties and synergistic anti-tumor effects make these stem cell carriers a good fit for such combined therapy. In this review, we will describe the main nanoparticle delivery systems that are presently available in preclinical and clinical studies. We will discuss their mechanisms of targeting, current delivery methods, attractive features and pitfalls. We will also debate the potential applications of stem cell carriers loaded with therapeutic nanoparticles in anticancer therapy and why such an attractive combined approach has not yet reached clinical trials.
Nanoparticle; drug delivery systems; stem cell carriers; malignant glioma; brain cancer; targeted delivery
Wnt/β-catenin signalling has been suggested to be active in basal-like breast cancer. However, in highly aggressive metastatic triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC) the role of β-catenin and the underlying mechanism(s) for the aggressiveness of TNBC remain unknown. We illustrate that WNT10B induces transcriptionally active β-catenin in human TNBC and predicts survival-outcome of patients with both TNBC and basal-like tumours. We provide evidence that transgenic murine Wnt10b-driven tumours are devoid of ERα, PR and HER2 expression and can model human TNBC. Importantly, HMGA2 is specifically expressed during early stages of embryonic mammogenesis and absent when WNT10B expression is lost, suggesting a developmentally conserved mode of action. Mechanistically, ChIP analysis uncovered that WNT10B activates canonical β-catenin signalling leading to up-regulation of HMGA2. Treatment of mouse and human triple-negative tumour cells with two Wnt/β-catenin pathway modulators or siRNA to HMGA2 decreases HMGA2 levels and proliferation. We demonstrate that WNT10B has epistatic activity on HMGA2, which is necessary and sufficient for proliferation of TNBC cells. Furthermore, HMGA2 expression predicts relapse-free-survival and metastasis in TNBC patients.
cancer stem cells; HMGA2; metastasis; triple negative breast cancer; wnt signalling
Glioblastoma multiforme, one of the most common and aggressive brain tumors in adults, is highly resistant to currently available therapies and often recurs. Due to its poor prognosis and difficult management, there is an urgent need for the development and translation of new anti-glioma therapeutic approaches into the clinic. In this context, oncolytic virotherapy arises as an exciting treatment option for glioma patients. These natural or genetically engineered viruses are able to effectively infect cancer cells, inducing a specific anti-tumor cytotoxic effect. In addition, some viruses have been redesigned to modulate glioma microenvironment, to express cytokines to boost a systemic anti-glioma immune response and to incorporate angiostatic genes to decrease glioma vasculature. Although recent clinical trials have confirmed the safety of oncolytic virotherapies in the brain, their moderate clinical efficacy has not yet matched the encouraging preclinical laboratory results. In this review, we will discuss the leading anti-glioma virotherapy approaches that are presently under preclinical and clinical evaluation. We will also review different delivery methods, in vivo virus behavior, fate, replication, intratumoral spread, activation of anti-tumor immune response, and targeting of glioma stem cells. We will focus on the advantages and limitations of each therapeutic approach and how to overcome these hurdles to effectively translate exciting laboratory results into promising clinical trials.
oncolytic virotherapy; malignant glioma; cancer stem cells; immunomodulation; challenges
One of the hallmark features of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common adult primary brain tumor with a very dismal prognosis, is the accumulation of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs). Regulatory T cells (Tregs) segregate into two primary categories: thymus-derived natural Tregs (nTregs) that develop from the interaction between immature T cells and thymic epithelial stromal cells, and inducible Tregs (iTregs) that arise from the conversion of CD4+FoxP3− T cells into FoxP3 expressing cells. Normally, these Treg subsets complement one another’s actions by maintaining tolerance of self-antigens, thereby suppressing autoimmunity, while also enabling effective immune responses toward non-self-antigens, thus promoting infectious protection. However, Tregs have also been shown to be associated with the promotion of pathological outcomes, including cancer. In the setting of GBM, nTregs appear to be primary players that contribute to immunotherapeutic failure, ultimately leading to tumor progression. Several attempts have been made to therapeutically target these cells with variable levels of success. The blood brain barrier-crossing chemotherapeutics, temozolomide, and cyclophosphamide (CTX), vaccination against the Treg transcriptional regulator, FoxP3, as well as mAbs against Treg-associated cell surface molecules CD25, CTLA-4, and GITR are all different therapeutic approaches under investigation. Contributing to the poor success of past approaches is the expression of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO), a tryptophan catabolizing enzyme overexpressed in GBM, and critically involved in regulating tumor-infiltrating Treg levels. Herein, we review the current literature on Tregs in brain cancer, providing a detailed phenotype, causative mechanisms involved in their pathogenesis, and strategies that have been used to target this population, therapeutically.
malignant glioma; glioblastoma multiforme; regulatory T cells; Tregs; natural Tregs; tumor-induced Tregs; IDO (indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase)
Pathotropic neural stem and/or progenitor cells (NSCs) can potentially deliver therapeutic agents to otherwise inaccessible cancers. In glioma, NSCs are found in close contact with tumor cells, raising the possibility that specificity of NSC contact with glioma targets originates in the tumor cells themselves. Alternatively, target preferences may originate, at least in part, in the tumor microenvironment. To better understand mechanisms underlying NSC interactions with glioma cells, we examined NSC-target cell contacts in a highly simplified 3-dimensional peptide hydrogel (Puramatrix) in which cell behaviors can be studied in the relative absence of external cues. HB1.F3 is an immortalized clonal human NSC line extensively characterized in preclinical investigations. To study contact formation between HB1.F3 NSCs and glioma cells, we first examined co-cultures of eGFP-expressing HB1.F3 (HB1.F3.eGFP) NSCs and dsRed-expressing U251 glioma (U251.dsRed) cells. Using confocal microscopy, HB1.F3.eGFP cells were observed contacting or encircling U251.dsRed glioma cells, but never the reverse. Next, examining specificity of these contacts, no significant quantitative differences in either percentages of HB1.F3 NSCs contacting targets, or in the extent of target cell encirclement, were observed when HB1.F3.eGFP cells were presented with various potential target cells (human glioma and breast cancer cell lines, patient-derived brain tumor lines, non-tumor fibroblasts, primary mouse and human astroglial cells, and primary adult and newborn human dermal fibroblasts) except that interactions between HB1.F3 cells did not progress beyond establishing contacts. Finally cytoskeletal mechanisms employed by HB1.F3.eGFP cells varied with the substrate. When migrating in Puramatrix, HB1.F3 NSCs exhibited intermittent process extension followed by soma translocation, while during encirclement their movements were more amoeboid. We conclude that formation of contacts and subsequent encirclement of target cells by HB1.F3 NSCs is an intrinsic property of these NSCs, and that preferential contact formation with tumor cells in vivo must therefore be highly dependent on microenvironmental cues.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a highly malignant brain tumor with an average survival time of 15 months. Previously, we and others demonstrated that CD4+FoxP3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) infiltrate human GBM as well as mouse models that recapitulate malignant brain tumors. However, whether brain tumor-resident Tregs are thymus-derived natural Tregs (nTregs) or induced Tregs (iTregs), by the conversion of conventional CD4+ T cells, has not been established. To investigate this question, we utilized the i.c. implanted GL261 cell-based orthotopic mouse model, the RasB8 transgenic astrocytoma mouse model, and a human GBM tissue microarray. We demonstrate that Tregs in brain tumors are predominantly thymus derived, since thymectomy, prior to i.c. GL261 cell implantation, significantly decreased the level of Tregs in mice with brain tumors. Accordingly, most Tregs in human GBM and mouse brain tumors expressed the nTreg transcription factor, Helios. Interestingly, a significant effect of the brain tumor microenvironment on Treg lineage programming was observed, based on higher levels of brain tumor-resident Tregs expressing glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor receptor and CD103 and lower levels of Tregs expressing CD62L and CD45RB compared with peripheral Tregs. Furthermore, there was a higher level of nTregs in brain tumors that expressed the proliferative marker Ki67 compared with iTregs and conventional CD4+ T cells. Our study demonstrates that future Treg-depleting therapies should aim to selectively target systemic rather than intratumoral nTregs in brain tumor-specific immunotherapeutic strategies.
brain cancer; CD4; CD25; FoxP3; GBM; glioblastoma; glioma; RasB8; regulatory T cells; Tregs
Oncolytic virotherapy is a promising novel therapy for glioblastoma that needs to be optimized before introduced to clinic. The targeting of conditionally replicating adenoviruses (CRAds) can be improved by relying on the tumor tropic properties of neural stem cells (NSCs). Here, we report the characterization of an FDA approved NSC, HB1.F3-CD, as a cell carrier for CRAd-S-pk7, a glioma-tropic oncolytic adenovirus. We show that NSCs replicate and release infectious CRAd-S-pk7 progeny capable of lysing glioma cell lines. Moreover, ex-vivo loaded NSCs, injected intracranially in nude mice bearing human glioma xenografts (i) retained their tumor-tropism, (ii) continued to replicate CRAd-S-pk7 for more than a week after reaching the tumor site and (iii) successfully handed-off CRAd-S-pk7 to glioma cells in vivo. Delivery via carrier cells reduced non-specific adenovirus distribution in the mouse brain. Moreover, we assessed biodistribution of loaded NSCs after intracranial injection in animal models semi-permissive to adenovirus replication, the Syrian hamster and cotton rat. NSCs did not migrate to distant organs and high levels of CRAd-S-pk7 DNA were observed only in the injected hemisphere. In conclusion, this optimized carrier system, with high efficiency of adenovirus delivery and minimal systemic toxicity, poses considerable advantages for anti-glioma oncolytic virotherapy.
neural stem cell; carrier; oncolytic virus; adenovirus; hamster; cotton rat
Treatment of glioblastoma remains a challenge in neuro-oncology. We investigated if treatment with neural stem cells engineered to express membrane-bound TRAIL (NSCs-mTRAIL) alone or in combination with proteasome inhibitors is a feasible therapeutic approach for experimental glioma. Glioma cells showed resistance to soluble TRAIL and proteasome inhibitors alone, but responded well to their combined treatment. In co-culture with NSCs-mTRAIL, glioma cells appeared to be more prone to apoptosis than to treatment with soluble TRAIL, which was enhanced by proteasome inhibitor bortezomib. In vivo, the survival of animals bearing intracranial glial xenografts was significantly improved by NSCs-mTRAIL. The addition of bortezomib further enhanced the efficacy of NSCs-TRAIL treated group in one of examined tumor models. These data demonstrate that therapy with NSCs-mTRAIL is a potent cell based approach for treatment of glioma. Such an approach warrants further search for therapeutics capable of increasing sensitivity of glioma cells to mTRAIL in vivo.
neural stem cells; TRAIL; bortezomib; glioma; brain cancer
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have attracted much interest in oncology since they exhibit marked tropism for the tumor microenvironment and support or suppress malignant cell growth depending on the tumor model tested. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of MSCs in the control of the growth of neuroblastoma (NB), which is the second most common solid tumor in children. In vivo experiments showed that systemically administered MSCs, under our experimental conditions, did not home to tumor sites and did not affect tumor growth or survival. However, MSCs injected intratumorally in an established subcutaneous NB model reduced tumor growth through inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis of NB cells and prolonged the survival of hMSC-treated mice. The need for contact between MSCs and NB cells was further supported by in vitro experiments. In particular, MSCs were found to be attracted by NB cells, and to affect NB cell proliferation with different results depending on the cell line tested. Moreover, NB cells, after pre-incubation with hMSCs, acquired a more invasive behavior towards CXCL12 and the bone marrow, i.e., the primary site of NB metastases. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that functional cross-talk between MSCs and NB cell lines used in our experiments can occur only within short range interaction. Thus, this report does not support the clinical use of MSCs as vehicles for selective delivery of antitumor drugs at the NB site unless chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy create suitable local conditions for MSCs recruitment.
Glioblastoma multiforme is a primary malignancy of the central nervous system that is universally fatal due to its disseminated nature. Recent investigations have focused on the unique tumor-tropic properties of stem cells as a novel platform for targeted delivery of anticancer agents to the brain. Neural stem cells (NSCs) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) both have the potential to function as cell carriers for targeted delivery of a glioma restricted oncolytic virus to disseminated tumor due to their reported tumor tropism. In this study, we evaluated NSCs and MSCs as cellular delivery vehicles for an oncolytic adenovirus in the context of human glioma. We report the first preclinical comparison of the two cell lines and show that, while both stem cell lines are able to support therapeutic adenoviral replication intracellularly, the amount of virus released from NSCs was a log higher than the MSC (p < 0.001). Moreover, only virus loaded NSCs that were administered intracranially in an orthotopic glioma model significantly prolonged the survival of tumor bearing animals (median survival for NSCs 68.5 days vs 44 days for MSCs, p < 0.002). Loading oncolytic adenovirus into NSCs and MSCs also led to expression of both pro- and anti-inflammatory genes and decreased vector-mediated neuroinflammation. Our results indicate that, despite possessing a comparable migratory capacity, NSCs display superior therapeutic efficacy in the context of intracranial tumors. Taken together, these findings argue in favor of NSCs as an effective cell carrier for antiglioma oncolytic virotherapy.
stem cell; mesenchymal stem cell; neural stem cell; oncolytic adenovirus; glioblastoma; cell carrier; virotherapy
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common intracranial cancer but despite recent advances in therapy the overall survival remains about 20 months. Whole genome exon sequencing studies implicate mutations in the receptor tyrosine kinase pathways (RTK) for driving tumor growth in over 80% of GBMs. In spite of various RTKs being mutated or altered in the majority of GBMs, clinical studies have not been able to demonstrate efficacy of molecular targeted therapies using tyrosine kinase inhibitors in GBMs. Activation of multiple downstream signaling pathways has been implicated as a possible means by which inhibition of a single RTK has been ineffective in GBM. In this study, we sought a combination of approved drugs that would inhibit in vitro and in vivo growth of GBM oncospheres. A combination consisting of gefitinib and sunitinib acted synergistically in inhibiting growth of GBM oncospheres in vitro. Sunitinib was the only RTK inhibitor that could induce apoptosis in GBM cells. However, the in vivo efficacy testing of the gefitinib and sunitinib combination in an EGFR amplified/ PTEN wild type GBM xenograft model revealed that gefitinib alone could significantly improve survival in animals whereas sunitinib did not show any survival benefit. Subsequent testing of the same drug combination in a different syngeneic glioma model that lacked EGFR amplification but was more susceptible to sunitinib in vitro demonstrated no survival benefit when treated with gefitinib or sunitinib or the gefitinib and sunitinib combination. Although a modest survival benefit was obtained in one of two animal models with EGFR amplification due to gefitinib alone, the addition of sunitinib, to test our best in vitro combination therapy, did not translate to any additional in vivo benefit. Improved targeted therapies, with drug properties favorable to intracranial tumors, are likely required to form effective drug combinations for GBM.