Object. Intracranial infusions of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid, have been used as an adjuvant therapy following malignant glioma resection; however, little is known about the dose response of glioma cells to this therapy. In this in vitro study the authors address this important pharmacological question.
Methods. Glioma spheroids derived from U87, U373, MOG-G-CCM, and C6 cell lines were grown in collagen gel and exposed to a range of GLA concentrations (0–1 mM) for 5 days. The diameter of glioma spheroids was measured, the apoptotic index was assessed using both the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase—mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick-end labeling technique and cell morphological testing, and the levels of proliferating cell nuclear antigen were also measured.
Conclusions. The dose—response patterns were similar for all four glioma spheroids. Low concentrations of GLA (< 100 µM) increased both apoptosis and proliferation with a net increase in tumor growth and invasion, whereas high-dose GLA (> 100 µM) significantly impaired spheroid cell growth. The proliferative effects of low-dose GLA could be a hazard in the clinical treatment of malignant glioma; however, because of the low toxicity of GLA against normal cells, local delivery of millimolar doses of GLA could significantly reduce tumor size.