Epigenetic pathways and glioblastoma treatment

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society (Impact Factor: 4.78). 06/2013; 8(8). DOI: 10.4161/epi.25440
Source: PubMed


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common malignant adult brain tumor. Standard GBM treatment includes maximal safe surgical resection with combination radiotherapy and adjuvant temozolomide (TMZ) chemotherapy. Alarmingly, patient survival at five-years is below 10%. This is in part due to the invasive behavior of the tumor and the resulting inability to resect greater than 98% of some tumors. In fact, recurrence after such treatment may be inevitable, even in cases where gross total resection is achieved. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) research network performed whole genome sequencing of GBM tumors and found that GBM recurrence is linked to epigenetic mechanisms and pathways. Central to these pathways are epigenetic enzymes, which have recently emerged as possible new drug targets for multiple cancers, including GBM. Here we review GBM treatment, and provide a systems approach to identifying epigenetic drivers of GBM tumor progression based on temporal modeling of putative GBM cells of origin. We also discuss advances in defining epigenetic mechanisms controlling GBM initiation and recurrence and the drug discovery considerations associated with targeting epigenetic enzymes for GBM treatment.

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Available from: Chiara Pastori, Dec 10, 2014
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    • "Standard GBM treatment includes surgical resection followed by radiotherapy and temozolomide (TMZ) chemotherapy, but rarely results in long term survival [46]. In this study, we focused on the potential of ATO as a therapeutic agent for GBM patients, particularly its ability to inhibit the Notch and Hedgehog pathways which have been shown to play key roles in stem-like glioma cells. "
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    ABSTRACT: Notch and Hedgehog signaling have been implicated in the pathogenesis and stem-like characteristics of glioblastomas, and inhibitors of the pathways have been suggested as new therapies for these aggressive tumors. It has also been reported that targeting both pathways simultaneously can be advantageous in treating glioblastoma neurospheres, but this is difficult to achieve in vivo using multiple agents. Since arsenic trioxide has been shown to inhibit both Notch and Hedgehog in some solid tumors, we examined its effects on these pathways and on stem cell phenotype in glioblastoma. We found that arsenic trioxide suppresses proliferation and promotes apoptosis in three stem-like glioblastoma neurospheres lines, while inhibiting Notch and Hedgehog target genes. Importantly, arsenic trioxide markedly reduced clonogenic capacity of the tumor neurospheres, and the stem-like CD133-positive fraction was also diminished along with expression of the stem cell markers SOX2 and CD133. Our results suggest that arsenic trioxide may be effective in targeting stem-like glioblastoma cells in patients by inhibiting Notch and Hedgehog activity.
    03/2014; 2(1):31. DOI:10.1186/2051-5960-2-31
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    ABSTRACT: Epigenetic proteins have recently emerged as novel anticancer targets. Among these, bromodomain and extra terminal domain (BET) proteins recognize lysine-acetylated histones, thereby regulating gene expression. Newly described small molecules that inhibit BET proteins BRD2, BRD3, and BRD4 reduce proliferation of NUT (nuclear protein in testis)-midline carcinoma, multiple myeloma, and leukemia cells in vitro and in vivo. These findings prompted us to determine whether BET proteins may be therapeutic targets in the most common primary adult brain tumor, glioblastoma (GBM). We performed NanoString analysis of GBM tumor samples and controls to identify novel therapeutic targets. Several cell proliferation assays of GBM cell lines and stem cells were used to analyze the efficacy of the drug I-BET151 relative to temozolomide (TMZ) or cell cycle inhibitors. Lastly, we performed xenograft experiments to determine the efficacy of I-BET151 in vivo. We demonstrate that BRD2 and BRD4 RNA are significantly overexpressed in GBM, suggesting that BET protein inhibition may be an effective means of reducing GBM cell proliferation. Disruption of BRD4 expression in glioblastoma cells reduced cell cycle progression. Similarly, treatment with the BET protein inhibitor I-BET151 reduced GBM cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo. I-BET151 treatment enriched cells at the G1/S cell cycle transition. Importantly, I-BET151 is as potent at inhibiting GBM cell proliferation as TMZ, the current chemotherapy treatment administered to GBM patients. Since I-BET151 inhibits GBM cell proliferation by arresting cell cycle progression, we propose that BET protein inhibition may be a viable therapeutic option for GBM patients suffering from TMZ resistant tumors.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 02/2014; 9(4). DOI:10.4161/epi.27906 · 4.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent years have seen the increasing understanding of the crucial role of RNA in the functioning of the eukaryotic genome. These discoveries, fueled by the achievements of the FANTOM, and later GENCODE and ENCODE consortia, led to the recognition of the important regulatory roles of natural antisense transcripts (NATs) arising from what was previously thought to be ‘junk DNA’. Roughly defined as non-coding regulatory RNA transcribed from the opposite strand of a coding gene locus, NATs are proving to be a heterogeneous group with high potential for therapeutic application. Here, we attempt to summarize the rapidly growing knowledge about this important non-coding RNA subclass.
    Human Molecular Genetics 05/2014; 23(R1). DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddu207 · 6.39 Impact Factor
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