[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The methylation status of the O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) gene is an important predictive biomarker for benefit from alkylating agent therapy in glioblastoma. Recent studies in anaplastic glioma suggest a prognostic value for MGMT methylation. Investigation of pathogenetic and epigenetic features of this intriguingly distinct behavior requires accurate MGMT classification to assess high throughput molecular databases. Promoter methylation-mediated gene silencing is strongly dependent on the location of the methylated CpGs, complicating classification. Using the HumanMethylation450 (HM-450K) BeadChip interrogating 176 CpGs annotated for the MGMT gene, with 14 located in the promoter, two distinct regions in the CpG island of the promoter were identified with high importance for gene silencing and outcome prediction. A logistic regression model (MGMT-STP27) comprising probes cg1243587 and cg12981137 provided good classification properties and prognostic value (kappa = 0.85; log-rank p < 0.001) using a training-set of 63 glioblastomas from homogenously treated patients, for whom MGMT methylation was previously shown to be predictive for outcome based on classification by methylation-specific PCR. MGMT-STP27 was successfully validated in an independent cohort of chemo-radiotherapy-treated glioblastoma patients (n = 50; kappa = 0.88; outcome, log-rank p < 0.001). Lower prevalence of MGMT methylation among CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP) positive tumors was found in glioblastomas from The Cancer Genome Atlas than in low grade and anaplastic glioma cohorts, while in CIMP-negative gliomas MGMT was classified as methylated in approximately 50 % regardless of tumor grade. The proposed MGMT-STP27 prediction model allows mining of datasets derived on the HM-450K or HM-27K BeadChip to explore effects of distinct epigenetic context of MGMT methylation suspected to modulate treatment resistance in different tumor types.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioma cell lines are an important tool for research in basic and translational neuro-oncology. Documentation of their genetic identity has become a requirement for scientific journals and grant applications to exclude cross-contamination and misidentification that lead to misinterpretation of results. Here, we report the standard 16 marker short tandem repeat (STR) DNA fingerprints for a panel of 39 widely used glioma cell lines as reference. Comparison of the fingerprints among themselves and with the large DSMZ database comprising 9 marker STRs for 2278 cell lines uncovered 3 misidentified cell lines and confirmed previously known cross-contaminations. Furthermore, 2 glioma cell lines exhibited identity scores of 0.8, which is proposed as the cutoff for detecting cross-contamination. Additional characteristics, comprising lack of a B-raf mutation in one line and a similarity score of 1 with the original tumor tissue in the other, excluded a cross-contamination. Subsequent simulation procedures suggested that, when using DNA fingerprints comprising only 9 STR markers, the commonly used similarity score of 0.8 is not sufficiently stringent to unambiguously differentiate the origin. DNA fingerprints are confounded by frequent genetic alterations in cancer cell lines, particularly loss of heterozygosity, that reduce the informativeness of STR markers and, thereby, the overall power for distinction. The similarity score depends on the number of markers measured; thus, more markers or additional cell line characteristics, such as information on specific mutations, may be necessary to clarify the origin.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma (GBM) is a morphologically heterogeneous tumor type with a median survival of only 15 months in clinical trial populations. However, survival varies greatly among patients. As part of a central pathology review, we addressed the question if patients with GBM displaying distinct morphologic features respond differently to combined chemo-radiotherapy with temozolomide. Morphologic features were systematically recorded for 360 cases with particular focus on the presence of an oligodendroglioma-like component and respective correlations with outcome and relevant molecular markers. GBM with an oligodendroglioma-like component (GBM-O) represented 15% of all confirmed GBM (52/339) and was not associated with a more favorable outcome. GBM-O encompassed a pathogenetically heterogeneous group, significantly enriched for IDH1 mutations (19 vs. 3%, p = 0.003) and EGFR amplifications (71 vs. 48%, p = 0.04) compared with other GBM, while co-deletion of 1p/19q was found in only one case and the MGMT methylation frequency was alike (47 vs. 46%). Expression profiles classified most of the GBM-O into two subtypes, 36% (5/14 evaluable) as proneural and 43% as classical GBM. The detection of pseudo-palisading necrosis (PPN) was associated with benefit from chemotherapy (p = 0.0002), while no such effect was present in the absence of PPN (p = 0.86). In the adjusted interaction model including clinical prognostic factors and MGMT status, PPN was borderline nonsignificant (p = 0.063). Taken together, recognition of an oligodendroglioma-like component in an otherwise classic GBM identifies a pathogenetically mixed group without prognostic significance. However, the presence of PPN may indicate biological features of clinical relevance for further improvement of therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gene expression-based prediction of genomic copy number aberrations in the chromosomal region 12q13 to 12q15 that is flanked by MDM2 and CDK4 identified Wnt inhibitory factor 1 (WIF1) as a candidate tumor suppressor gene in glioblastoma. WIF1 encodes a secreted Wnt antagonist and was strongly downregulated in most glioblastomas as compared with normal brain, implying deregulation of Wnt signaling, which is associated with cancer. WIF1 silencing was mediated by deletion (7/69, 10%) or epigenetic silencing by promoter hypermethylation (29/110, 26%). Co-amplification of MDM2 and CDK4 that is present in 10% of glioblastomas was associated in most cases with deletion of the whole genomic region enclosed, including the WIF1 locus. This interesting pathogenetic constellation targets the RB and p53 tumor suppressor pathways in tandem, while simultaneously activating oncogenic Wnt signaling. Ectopic expression of WIF1 in glioblastoma cell lines revealed a dose-dependent decrease of Wnt pathway activity. Furthermore, WIF1 expression inhibited cell proliferation in vitro, reduced anchorage-independent growth in soft agar, and completely abolished tumorigenicity in vivo. Interestingly, WIF1 overexpression in glioblastoma cells induced a senescence-like phenotype that was dose dependent. These results provide evidence that WIF1 has tumor suppressing properties. Downregulation of WIF1 in 75% of glioblastomas indicates frequent involvement of aberrant Wnt signaling and, hence, may render glioblastomas sensitive to inhibitors of Wnt signaling, potentially by diverting the tumor cells into a senescence-like state.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amplification of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene is one of the most common oncogenic alterations in glioblastoma (45%) making it a prime target for therapy. However, small molecule inhibitors of the EGFR tyrosine kinase showed disappointing efficacy in clinical trials for glioblastoma. Here we aimed at investigating the molecular effects of the tyrosine kinase inhibitor gefitinib on the EGFR signaling pathway in human glioblastoma. Twenty-two patients selected for reoperation of recurrent glioblastoma were treated within a phase II trial for 5 days with 500 mg gefitinib before surgery followed by postoperative gefitinib until recurrence. Resected glioblastoma tissues exhibited high concentrations of gefitinib (median, 4.1 μg/g), 20 times higher than respective plasma. EGFR-pathway activity was evaluated with phosphorylation-specific assays. The EGFR was efficiently dephosphorylated in treated patients as compared to a control cohort of 12 patients. However, no significant effect on 12 pathway constituents was detected. In contrast, in vitro treatment of a glioblastoma cell line, BS-153, with endogenous EGFRwt amplification and EGFRvIII expression resulted not only in dephosphorylation of the EGFR, but also of key regulators in the pathway such as AKT. Treating established xenografts of the same cell line as an in vivo model showed dephosphorylation of the EGFR without affecting downstream signal transductors, similar to the human glioblastoma. Taken together, gefitinib reaches high concentrations in the tumor tissue and efficiently dephosphorylates its target. However, regulation of downstream signal transducers in the EGFR pathway seems to be dominated by regulatory circuits independent of EGFR phosphorylation.
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 04/2011; 10(6):1102-12. · 5.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Quantitative methylation-specific tests suggest that not all cells in a glioblastoma with detectable promoter methylation of the O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) gene carry a methylated MGMT allele. This observation may indicate cell subpopulations with distinct MGMT status, raising the question of the clinically relevant cutoff of MGMT methylation therapy. Epigenetic silencing of the MGMT gene by promoter methylation blunts repair of O6-methyl guanine and has been shown to be a predictive factor for benefit from alkylating agent therapy in glioblastoma.
Ten paired samples of glioblastoma and respective glioblastoma-derived spheres (GS), cultured under stem cell conditions, were analyzed for the degree and pattern of MGMT promoter methylation by methylation-specific clone sequencing, MGMT gene dosage, chromatin status, and respective effects on MGMT expression and MGMT activity.
In glioblastoma, MGMT-methylated alleles ranged from 10% to 90%. In contrast, methylated alleles were highly enriched (100% of clones) in respective GS, even when 2 MGMT alleles were present, with 1 exception (<50%). The CpG methylation patterns were characteristic for each glioblastoma exhibiting 25% to 90% methylated CpGs of 28 sites interrogated. Furthermore, MGMT promoter methylation was associated with a nonpermissive chromatin status in accordance with very low MGMT transcript levels and undetectable MGMT activity.
In MGMT-methylated glioblastoma, MGMT promoter methylation is highly enriched in GS that supposedly comprise glioma-initiating cells. Thus, even a low percentage of MGMT methylation measured in a glioblastoma sample may be relevant and predict benefit from an alkylating agent therapy.
Clinical Cancer Research 01/2011; 17(2):255-66. · 8.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Invasion and migration are key processes of glioblastoma and are tightly linked to tumor recurrence. Integrin inhibition using cilengitide has shown synergy with chemotherapy and radiotherapy in vitro and promising activity in recurrent glioblastoma. This multicenter, phase I/IIa study investigated the efficacy and safety of cilengitide in combination with standard chemoradiotherapy in newly diagnosed glioblastoma.
Patients (age > or = 18 to < or = 70 years) were treated with cilengitide (500 mg) administered twice weekly intravenously in addition to standard radiotherapy with concomitant and adjuvant temozolomide. Treatment was continued until disease progression or for up to 35 weeks. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS) at 6 months.
Fifty-two patients (median age, 57 years; 62% male) were included. Six- and 12-month PFS rates were 69% (95% CI, 54% to 80%) and 33% (95% CI, 21% to 46%). Median PFS was 8 months (95% CI, 6.0 to 10.7 months). Twelve- and 24-month overall survival (OS) rates were 68% (95% CI, 53% to 79%) and 35% (95% CI, 22% to 48%). Median OS was 16.1 months (95% CI, 13.1 to 23.2 months). PFS and OS were longer in patients with tumors with O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter methylation (13.4 and 23.2 months) versus those without MGMT promoter methylation (3.4 and 13.1 months). The combination of cilengitide with temozolomide and radiotherapy was well tolerated, with no additional toxicity. No pharmacokinetic interactions between temozolomide and cilengitide were identified.
Compared with historical controls, the addition of concomitant and adjuvant cilengitide to standard chemoradiotherapy demonstrated promising activity in patients with glioblastoma with MGMT promoter methylation.
Journal of Clinical Oncology 06/2010; 28(16):2712-8. · 17.88 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Uveal melanoma is associated with a high mortality rate once metastases occur, with over >90% of metastatic patients dying within less than 1 year from metastases to the liver. The intraarterial hepatic (iah) administration of the alkylating agent fotemustine holds some promise with response rates of 36% and median survival of 15 months. Here, we investigated whether the DNA-repair-protein MGMT may be involved in the variability of response to fotemustine and temozolomide in uveal melanoma. Epigenetic inactivation of MGMT has been demonstrated to be a predictive marker for benefit from alkylating agent therapy in glioblastoma. We found a methylated MGMT promoter in 6% of liver metastases from 34 uveal melanoma patients. The mean MGMT activity measured in liver metastases with negligible liver tissue content was significantly lower than in liver tissue (146 versus 523 fmol/mg protein, p = 0.002). Expression of the MGMT protein was detectable in 50% of 88 metastases by immunohistochemistry on a tissue microarray. Expression was heterogeneous, and in accordance with MGMT activity data, usually lower than in the surrounding liver. Differential MGMT activity/expression between metastasis and liver tissue and more efficient depletion of MGMT with higher doses of alkylating agent therapy using iah delivery may provide the pharmacologic window for the higher response rate. However, these results do not support MGMT methylation status or protein expression as predictive markers for treatment outcome to iah chemotherapy with alkylating agents.
International Journal of Cancer 09/2008; 123(5):1215-8. · 6.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epigenetic silencing of the DNA repair protein O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) by promoter methylation predicts successful alkylating agent therapy, such as with temozolomide, in glioblastoma patients. Stratified therapy assignment of patients in prospective clinical trials according to tumor MGMT status requires a standardized diagnostic test, suitable for high-throughput analysis of small amounts of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor tissue. A direct, real-time methylation-specific PCR (MSP) assay was developed to determine methylation status of the MGMT gene promoter. Assay specificity was obtained by selective amplification of methylated DNA sequences of sodium bisulfite-modified DNA. The copy number of the methylated MGMT promoter, normalized to the beta-actin gene, provides a quantitative test result. We analyzed 134 clinical glioma samples, comparing the new test with the previously validated nested gel-based MSP assay, which yields a binary readout. A cut-off value for the MGMT methylation status was suggested by fitting a bimodal normal mixture model to the real-time results, supporting the hypothesis that there are two distinct populations within the test samples. Comparison of the tests showed high concordance of the results (82/91 [90%]; Cohen's kappa = 0.80; 95% confidence interval, 0.82-0.95). The direct, real-time MSP assay was highly reproducible (Pearson correlation 0.996) and showed valid test results for 93% (125/134) of samples compared with 75% (94/125) for the nested, gel-based MSP assay. This high-throughput test provides an important pharmacogenomic tool for individualized management of alkylating agent chemotherapy.
Journal of Molecular Diagnostics 08/2008; 10(4):332-7. · 3.96 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Silencing of O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) protein expression because of MGMT gene promoter hypermethylation is considered to be associated with postoperative chemoradiotherapy benefits in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) patients. The objective of this study was to clarify the usability of MGMT immunohistochemistry (IHC) as a clinical biomarker. We immunostained a tissue microarray containing biopsy samples of 164 GBM patients from the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer and the National Cancer Institute of Canada (EORTC/NCIC) trial 26981/22981 using two commercial anti-MGMT antibodies (clones MT3.1 and MT23.2). Immunostaining results were semiquantitatively evaluated by four observers from three neuropathological laboratories using a predefined algorithm. We analyzed (i) inter- and intraobserver agreement on MGMT expression (kappa statistics); (ii) correlation of MGMT expression with MGMT promoter methylation status (kappa statistics); and (iii) correlation of MGMT expression with patient outcome (log-rank test). Interobserver agreement on MGMT expression varied from slight to almost perfect, whereas intraobserver agreement ranged from substantial to almost perfect. MGMT expression showed poor to moderate correlation with MGMT promoter methylation status. We found no significant association of MGMT expression with patient outcome. In our hands, observer variability as well as lack of association with the MGMT promoter methylation status and patient survival impeded the use of anti-MGMT immunohistochemistry as a clinical biomarker for routine diagnostic purposes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epigenetic silencing of the MGMT (O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase) DNA-repair gene by promoter methylation compromises DNA repair and has been associated with longer survival in patients with glioblastoma who receive alkylating agents.
We tested the relationship between MGMT silencing in the tumor and the survival of patients who were enrolled in a randomized trial comparing radiotherapy alone with radiotherapy combined with concomitant and adjuvant treatment with temozolomide. The methylation status of the MGMT promoter was determined by methylation-specific polymerase-chain-reaction analysis.
The MGMT promoter was methylated in 45 percent of 206 assessable cases. Irrespective of treatment, MGMT promoter methylation was an independent favorable prognostic factor (P<0.001 by the log-rank test; hazard ratio, 0.45; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.32 to 0.61). Among patients whose tumor contained a methylated MGMT promoter, a survival benefit was observed in patients treated with temozolomide and radiotherapy; their median survival was 21.7 months (95 percent confidence interval, 17.4 to 30.4), as compared with 15.3 months (95 percent confidence interval, 13.0 to 20.9) among those who were assigned to only radiotherapy (P=0.007 by the log-rank test). In the absence of methylation of the MGMT promoter, there was a smaller and statistically insignificant difference in survival between the treatment groups.
Patients with glioblastoma containing a methylated MGMT promoter benefited from temozolomide, whereas those who did not have a methylated MGMT promoter did not have such a benefit.
New England Journal of Medicine 03/2005; 352(10):997-1003. · 54.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amplification of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) or expression of its constitutively activated mutant, DeltaEGFR(2-7), in association with the inactivation of the INK4a/Arf gene locus is a frequent alteration in human glioblastoma. The notion of a cooperative effect between these two alterations has been demonstrated in respective mouse brain tumor models including our own. Here, we investigated underlying molecular mechanisms in early passage cortical astrocytes deficient for p16(INK4a)/p19(Arf) or p53, respectively, with or without ectopic expression of DeltaEGFR(2-7). Targeting these cells with the specific EGFR inhibitor tyrphostin AG1478 revealed that phosphorylation of ERK was only abrogated in the presence of an intact INK4a/Arf gene locus. The sensitivity to inhibit ERK phosphorylation was independent of ectopic expression of DeltaEGFR(2-7) and independent of the TP53 status. This resistance to downregulate the MAPK pathway in the absence of INK4a/Arf was confirmed in cell lines derived from our mouse glioma models with the respective initial genetic alterations. Thus, deletion of INK4a/Arf appears to keep ERK in its active, phosphorylated state insensitive to an upstream inhibitor specifically targeting EGFR/DeltaEGFR(2-7). This resistance may contribute to the cooperative tumorigenic effect selected for in human glioblastoma that may be of crucial clinical relevance for treatments specifically targeting EGFR/DeltaEGFR(2-7) in glioblastoma patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the setting of a prospective clinical trial, we determined the predictive value of the methylation status of the O-6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter for outcome in glioblastoma patients treated with the alkylating agent temozolomide. Expression of this excision repair enzyme has been associated with resistance to alkylating chemotherapy.
The methylation status of MGMT in the tumor biopsies was evaluated in 38 patients undergoing resection for newly diagnosed glioblastoma and enrolled in a Phase II trial testing concomitant and adjuvant temozolomide and radiation. The epigenetic silencing of the MGMT gene was determined using methylation-specific PCR.
Inactivation of the MGMT gene by promoter methylation was associated with longer survival (P = 0.0051; Log-rank test). At 18 months, survival was 62% (16 of 26) for patients testing positive for a methylated MGMT promoter but reached only 8% (1 of 12) in absence of methylation (P = 0.002; Fisher's exact test). In the presence of other clinically relevant factors, methylation of the MGMT promoter remains the only significant predictor (P = 0.017; Cox regression).
This prospective clinical trial identifies MGMT-methylation status as an independent predictor for glioblastoma patients treated with a methylating agent. The association of the epigenetic inactivation of the DNA repair gene MGMT with better outcome in this homogenous cohort may have important implications for the design of future trials and supports efforts to deplete MGMT by O-6-benzylguanine, a noncytotoxic substrate of this enzyme.
Clinical Cancer Research 04/2004; 10(6):1871-4. · 8.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The development of targeted treatment strategies adapted to individual patients requires identification of the different tumor classes according to their biology and prognosis. We focus here on the molecular aspects underlying these differences, in terms of sets of genes that control pathogenesis of the different subtypes of astrocytic glioma. By performing cDNA-array analysis of 53 patient biopsies, comprising low-grade astrocytoma, secondary glioblastoma (respective recurrent high-grade tumors), and newly diagnosed primary glioblastoma, we demonstrate that human gliomas can be differentiated according to their gene expression. We found that low-grade astrocytoma have the most specific and similar expression profiles, whereas primary glioblastoma exhibit much larger variation between tumors. Secondary glioblastoma display features of both other groups. We identified several sets of genes with relatively highly correlated expression within groups that: (a). can be associated with specific biological functions; and (b). effectively differentiate tumor class. One prominent gene cluster discriminating primary versus nonprimary glioblastoma comprises mostly genes involved in angiogenesis, including VEGF fms-related tyrosine kinase 1 but also IGFBP2, that has not yet been directly linked to angiogenesis. In situ hybridization demonstrating coexpression of IGFBP2 and VEGF in pseudopalisading cells surrounding tumor necrosis provided further evidence for a possible involvement of IGFBP2 in angiogenesis. The separating groups of genes were found by the unsupervised coupled two-way clustering method, and their classification power was validated by a supervised construction of a nearly perfect glioma classifier.
Cancer Research 11/2003; 63(20):6613-25. · 9.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Angiogenesis, the sprouting of new capillaries from preexisting blood vessels, results from a disruption of the balance between
stimulatory and inhibitory factors. Here, we show that anoxia reduces expression of thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), a natural inhibitor
of angiogenesis, in glioblastoma cells. This suggests that reduced oxygen tension can promote angiogenesis not only by stimulating
the production of inducers, such as vascular endothelial growth factor, but also by reducing the production of inhibitors.
This downregulation may significantly contribute to glioblastoma development, since we show that an increase in TSP-1 expression
is sufficient to strongly suppress glioblastoma cell tumorigenicity in vivo.
Journal of Experimental Medicine 05/2000; 191(10):1789-1798. · 13.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An antiglioma antiserum was produced by immunization of a rabbit with membrane-enriched preparations of a human malignant glioma cell line, LN-18. After extensive absorption, this antiserum reacted exclusively with antigenic determinants present on seven out of 16 malignant glioma cell lines tested, as shown by complement-dependent cytotoxicity in a 51Cr-release assay. This glioma specificity could be further confirmed by quantitative absorption experiments where cells from a glioma line, LN-135, abolished the cytolytic reactivity of the antiserum against four other glioma lines. The step-wise absorption of the crude antiserum consisted of: step 1, absorption with normal peripheral blood lymphocytes from 10 individual donors; step 2, absorption with a pool of cells from four different lymphoblastoid cell lines and one endometrial carcinoma; step 3, absorption with cells from a colon carcinoma; and step 4, absorption with cells from two different melanoma lines. After each absorption step the antiserum was tested by complement-dependent cytotoxicity against a large panel of malignant glioma lines and control non-glioma cell lines. After the absorptions from step 1 and 2 the antiserum reacted with all cell lines tested, while after step 3 absorption, it reacted only with cells from malignant glioma, melanomas and fetal brain. Quantitative absorption experiments performed at this stage with fetal brain cells showed that the reactivity for fetal brain and melanoma cells could be abolished, while the antiserum was still cytolytic for malignant gliomas. After the absorption from step 4, the antiserum reacted exclusively with seven malignant gliomas. After a further absorption with normal adult brain homogenate, the antiserum still reacted with four of the seven malignant glioma cell lines. Thus, the antiserum described here recognized three types of antigens: antigens common to cells of neuroectodermal origin, antigens shared by malignant gliomas and adult brain, and antigens expressed only on some gliomas.
International Journal of Cancer 09/1981; 28(3):267 - 273. · 6.20 Impact Factor