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Jonathan G. Thomas, Brittany C. Parker Kerrigan, Anwar Hossain, Joy Gumin, Naoki Shinojima, Felix Nwajei, Ravesanker Ezhilarasan, Patrice Love, Erik P. Sulman, and Frederick F. Lang

OBJECTIVE

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been shown to localize to gliomas after intravascular delivery. Because these cells home to areas of tissue injury, the authors hypothesized that the administration of ionizing radiation (IR) to tumor would enhance the tropism of MSCs to gliomas. Additionally, they sought to identify which radiation-induced factors might attract MSCs.

METHODS

To assess the effect of IR on MSC migration in vitro, transwell assays using conditioned medium (CM) from an irradiated commercially available glioma cell line (U87) and from irradiated patient-derived glioma stem-like cells (GSCs; GSC7-2 and GSC11) were employed. For in vivo testing, green fluorescent protein (GFP)-labeled MSCs were injected into the carotid artery of nude mice harboring orthotopic U87, GSC7-2, or GSC17 xenografts that were treated with either 0 or 10 Gy of IR, and brain sections were quantitatively analyzed by immunofluorescence for GFP-positive cells. These GSCs were used because GSC7-2 is a weak attractor of MSCs at baseline, whereas GSC17 is a strong attractor. To determine the factors implicated in IR-induced tropism, CM from irradiated GSC7-2 and from GSC11 was assayed with a cytokine array and quantitative ELISA.

RESULTS

Transwell migration assays revealed statistically significant enhanced MSC migration to CM from irradiated U87, GSC7-2, and GSC11 compared with nonirradiated controls and in a dose-dependent manner. After their intravascular delivery into nude mice harboring orthotopic gliomas, MSCs engrafted more successfully in irradiated U87 (p = 0.036), compared with nonirradiated controls. IR also significantly increased the tropism of MSCs to GSC7-2 xenografts (p = 0.043), which are known to attract MSCs only poorly at baseline (weak-attractor GSCs). Ionizing radiation also increased the engraftment of MSCs in strong-attractor GSC17 xenografts, but these increases did not reach statistical significance. The chemokine CCL2 was released by GSC7-2 and GSC11 after irradiation in a dose-dependent manner and mediated in vitro transwell migration of MSCs. Immunohistochemistry revealed increased CCL2 in irradiated GSC7-2 gliomas near the site of MSC engraftment.

CONCLUSIONS

Administering IR to gliomas enhances MSC localization, particularly in GSCs that attract MSCs poorly at baseline. The chemokine CCL2 appears to play a crucial role in the IR-induced tropism of MSCs to gliomas.

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Markus M. Luedi, Sanjay K. Singh, Jennifer C. Mosley, Islam S. A. Hassan, Masumeh Hatami, Joy Gumin, Lukas Andereggen, Erik P. Sulman, Frederick F. Lang, Frank Stueber, Gregory N. Fuller, Rivka R. Colen, and Pascal O. Zinn

OBJECTIVE

Dexamethasone, a known regulator of mesenchymal programming in glioblastoma (GBM), is routinely used to manage edema in GBM patients. Dexamethasone also activates the expression of genes, such as CEBPB, in GBM stem cells (GSCs). However, the drug’s impact on invasion, proliferation, and angiogenesis in GBM remains unclear. To determine whether dexamethasone induces invasion, proliferation, and angiogenesis in GBM, the authors investigated the drug’s impact in vitro, in vivo, and in clinical information derived from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) cohort.

METHODS

Expression profiles of patients from the TCGA cohort with mesenchymal GBM (n = 155) were compared with patients with proneural GBM by comparative marker selection. To obtain robust data, GSCs with IDH1 wild-type (GSC3) and with IDH1 mutant (GSC6) status were exposed to dexamethasone in vitro and in vivo and analyzed for invasion (Boyden chamber, human-specific nucleolin), proliferation (Ki-67), and angiogenesis (CD31). Ex vivo tumor cells from dexamethasone-treated and control mice were isolated by fluorescence activated cell sorting and profiled using Affymetrix chips for mRNA (HTA 2.0) and microRNAs (miRNA 4.0). A pathway analysis was performed to identify a dexamethasone-regulated gene signature, and its relationship with overall survival (OS) was assessed using Kaplan-Meier analysis in the entire GBM TCGA cohort (n = 520).

RESULTS

The mesenchymal subgroup, when compared with the proneural subgroup, had significant upregulation of a dexamethasone-regulated gene network, as well as canonical pathways of proliferation, invasion, and angiogenesis. Dexamethasone-treated GSC3 demonstrated a significant increase in invasion, both in vitro and in vivo, whereas GSC6 demonstrated a modest increase. Furthermore, dexamethasone treatment of both GSC3 and GSC6 lines resulted in significantly elevated cell proliferation and angiogenesis in vivo. Patients with mesenchymal GBM had significant upregulation of dexamethasone-regulated pathways when compared with patients with proneural GBM. A prognostic (p = 0.0007) 33-gene signature was derived from the ex vivo expression profile analyses and used to dichotomize the entire TCGA cohort by high (median OS 12.65 months) or low (median OS 14.91 months) dexamethasone signature.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors present evidence that furthers the understanding of the complex effects of dexamethasone on biological characteristics of GBM. The results suggest that the drug increases invasion, proliferation, and angiogenesis in human GSC-derived orthotopic tumors, potentially worsening GBM patients’ prognoses. The authors believe that careful investigation is needed to determine how to minimize these deleterious dexamethasone-associated side effects in GBM.

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Anna Likhacheva, Chelsea C. Pinnix, Neil Parikh, Pamela K. Allen, Nandita Guha-Thakurta, Mary McAleer, Erik P. Sulman, Anita Mahajan, Almon Shiu, Dershan Luo, Max Chiu, Paul D. Brown, Sujit S. Prabhu, and Eric L. Chang

Object

Brain metastases present a therapeutic challenge because patients with metastatic cancers live longer now than in the recent past due to systemic therapies that, while effective, may not penetrate the blood-brain barrier. In the present study the authors sought to validate the Diagnosis-Specific Graded Prognostic Assessment (DS-GPA), a new prognostic index that takes into account the histological characteristics of the primary tumor, and the Radiation Therapy Ontology Group Recursive Partitioning Analysis (RPA) system by using a single-institution database of patients who were treated initially with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) alone for brain metastases.

Methods

Investigators retrospectively identified adult patients who had undergone SRS at a single institution, MD Anderson Cancer Center, for initial treatment of brain metastases between 2003 and 2010 but excluded those who had undergone craniotomy and/or whole-brain radiation therapy at an earlier time; the final number was 251. The Leksell Gamma Knife was used to treat 223 patients, and a linear accelerator was used to treat 28 patients. The patient population was grouped according to DS-GPA scores as follows: 0–0.5 (7 patients), 1 (33 patients), 1.5 (25 patients), 2 (63 patients), 2.5 (14 patients), 3 (68 patients), and 3.5–4 (41 patients). The same patients were also grouped according to RPA classes: 1 (24 patients), 2 (216 patients), and 3 (11 patients). The most common histological diagnoses were non–small cell lung cancer (34%), melanoma (29%), and breast carcinoma (16%). The median number of lesions was 2 (range 1–9) and the median total tumor volume was 0.9 cm3 (range 0.3–22.9 cm3). The median radiation dose was 20 Gy (range 14–24 Gy). Stereotactic radiosurgery was performed as the sole treatment (62% of patients) or combined with a salvage treatment consisting of SRS (22%), whole-brain radiation therapy (12%), or resection (4%). The median duration of follow-up was 9.4 months.

Results

In this patient group the median overall survival was 11.1 months. The DS-GPA prognostic index divided patients into prognostically significant groups. Median survival times were 2.8 months for DS-GPA Scores 0–0.5, 3.9 months for Score 1, 6.6 months for Score 1.5, 12.9 months for Score 2, 11.9 months for Score 2.5, 12.2 months for Score 3, and 31.4 months for Scores 3.5–4 (p < 0.0001). In the RPA groups, the median overall survival times were 38.8 months for Class 1, 9.4 months for Class 2, and 2.8 months for Class 3 (p < 0.0001). Neither the RPA class nor the DS-GPA score was prognostic for local tumor control or new lesion–free survival. A multivariate analysis revealed that patient age > 60 years, Karnofsky Performance Scale score ≤ 80%, and total lesion volume > 2 cm3 were significant adverse prognostic factors for overall survival.

Conclusions

Application of the DS-GPA to a database of patients with brain metastases who were treated with SRS appears to be valid and offers additional prognostic refinement over that provided by the RPA. The DS-GPA may also allow for improved selection of patients to undergo initial SRS alone and should be studied further.

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Adomas Bunevicius, Stylianos Pikis, Douglas Kondziolka, Dev N. Patel, Kenneth Bernstein, Erik P. Sulman, Cheng-chia Lee, Huai-che Yang, Violaine Delabar, David Mathieu, Christopher P. Cifarelli, David E. Arsanious, Basem A. Dahshan, Joshua S. Weir, Herwin Speckter, Angel Mota, Manjul Tripathi, Narendra Kumar, Ronald E. Warnick, and Jason P. Sheehan

OBJECTIVE

Molecular profiles, such as isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutation and O 6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) methylation status, have important prognostic roles for glioblastoma patients. The authors studied the efficacy and safety of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for glioblastoma patients with consideration of molecular tumor profiles.

METHODS

For this retrospective observational multiinstitutional study, the authors pooled consecutive patients who were treated using SRS for glioblastoma at eight institutions participating in the International Radiosurgery Research Foundation. They evaluated predictors of overall and progression-free survival with consideration of IDH mutation and MGMT methylation status.

RESULTS

Ninety-six patients (median age 56 years) underwent SRS (median dose 15 Gy and median treatment volume 5.53 cm3) at 147 tumor sites (range 1 to 7). The majority of patients underwent prior fractionated radiation therapy (92%) and temozolomide chemotherapy (98%). Most patients were treated at recurrence (85%), and boost SRS was used for 12% of patients. The majority of patients harbored IDH wild-type (82%) and MGMT-methylated (62%) tumors. Molecular data were unavailable for 33 patients. Median survival durations after SRS were similar between patients harboring IDH wild-type tumors and those with IDH mutant tumors (9.0 months vs 11 months, respectively), as well as between those with MGMT-methylated tumors and those with MGMT-unmethylated tumors (9.8 vs. 9.0 months, respectively). Prescription dose > 15 Gy (OR 0.367, 95% CI 0.190–0.709, p = 0.003) and treatment volume > 5 cm3 (OR 1.036, 95% CI 1.007–1.065, p = 0.014) predicted overall survival after controlling for age and IDH status. Treatment volume > 5 cm3 (OR 2.215, 95% CI 1.159–4.234, p = 0.02) and absence of gross-total resection (OR 0.403, 95% CI 0.208–0.781, p = 0.007) were associated with inferior local control of SRS-treated lesions in multivariate models. Nine patients experienced adverse radiation events after SRS, and 7 patients developed radiation necrosis at 59 to 395 days after SRS.

CONCLUSIONS

Post-SRS survival was similar as a function of IDH mutation and MGMT promoter methylation status, suggesting that molecular profiles of glioblastoma should be considered when selecting candidates for SRS. SRS prescription dose > 15 Gy and treatment volume ≤ 5 cm3 were associated with longer survival, independent of age and IDH status. Prior gross-total resection and smaller treatment volume were associated with superior local control.