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Background: Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common solid malignant pediatric brain neoplasm. Group 3 (G3) MB, particularly MYC amplified G3 MB, is the most aggressive subgroup with the highest frequency of children presenting with metastatic disease, and is associated with a poor prognosis. To further our understanding of the role of MSI1 in MYC amplified G3 MB, we performed an unbiased integrative analysis of eCLIP binding sites, with changes observed at the transcriptome, the translatome, and the proteome after shMSI1 inhibition. Methods: Primary human pediatric MBs, SU_MB002 and HD-MB03 were kind gifts from Dr. Yoon-Jae Cho (Harvard, MS) and Dr. Till Milde (Heidelberg) and cultured for in vitro and in vivo experiments. eCLIP, RNA-seq, Polysome-seq, and TMT-MS were completed as previously described. Results:MSI1 is overexpressed in G3 MB. shRNA Msi1 interference resulted in a reduction in tumour burden conferring a survival advantage to mice injected with shMSI1 G3MB cells. Robust ranked multiomic analysis (RRA) identified an unconventional gene set directly perturbed by MSI1 in G3 MB. Conclusions: Our robust unbiased integrative analysis revealed a distinct role for MSI1 in the maintenance of the stem cell state in G3 MB through post-transcriptional modification of multiple pathways including identification of unconventional targets such as HIPK1.
Glioblastoma (GBM) is an aggressive brain tumor that is resistant to conventional radiation and cytotoxic chemotherapies. We hypothesize that brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs), a subpopulation of treatment-resistant cells with stem cell properties cause tumor relapse and a subset of neural stem cell genes regulate BTIC self-renewal, driving GBM recurrence. We adapted the existing treatment protocol for adults with primary GBM for in vivo treatment of immunocompromised mice engrafted with GBMs. Post-chemoradiotherapy, the recovered GFP+GBMs were profiled for self-renewal and expression of critical stem cell genes. Using invitro and invivo gain-of-function/loss-of-function experiments, we investigated the regulatory functions of Bmi1 in primary neural stem & progenitor cells (NSPCs) and GBM tumor formation. Finally, global RNA-Seq profiling was performed to understand the consequences of Bmi1 dysregulation on target gene expression. GBM cells showed an increase in Bmi1 levels post-chemoradiotherapy, suggesting the presence of a treatment-refractory BTICs. GFP+cells extracted from treated xenografts had higher self-renewal and BTIC marker expression. Although treated mice responded to therapy, we observed tumor relapse with increased Bmi1 expression. Knockdown of Bmi1 diminished self-renewal and proliferation of GBM cells and delayed tumorigenesis, highlighting a critical role for Bmi1 in tumor maintenance. Conversely, over-expressing Bmi1 in NSPCs failed to initiate tumor formation in vivo. Using high-throughput sequencing data, we generated a map of signaling pathways dysregulated in GBM that may lead to tumor recurrence. Our data confirms the existence of a rare treatment-refractory BTIC population with enhanced self-renewal capacity that escapes therapy and drives tumor relapse.
Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant pediatric brain tumour, and is categorized into four molecular subgroups, with Group 3 MB having the worst prognosis due to the highest rate of metastatic dissemination and relapse. In this work, we describe the epigenetic regulator Bmi1 as a novel therapeutic target for treatment of recurrent Group 3 MB. Through comparative profiling of primary and recurrent MB, we show that Bmi1 defines a treatment-refractory cell population that is uniquely targetable by a novel class of small molecule inhibitors. We have optimized an in vivo mouse-adapted therapy model that has the advantage of generating recurrent, human, treatment-refractory MBs. Our preliminary studies showed that although chemoradiotherapy administered to mice engrafted with human MB showed reduction in tumour size, Bmi1 expression was enriched in the post-treatment residual tumour. Furthermore, we found that knockdown of Bmi1 in human recurrent MB cells decreases proliferation and self-renewing capacities of MB cells in vitro as well as both tumour size and extent of spinal leptomeningeal metastases in vivo. Oral administration of a potent Bmi1 inhibitor, PTC 028, resulted in a marked reduction in tumour burden and an increased survival in treatment cohort. Bmi1 inhibitors showed high specificity for MB cells and spared normal human neural stem cells, when treated with doses relevant for MB cells. As Group 3 medulloblastoma is often metastatic and uniformly fatal at recurrence, with no current or planned trials of targeted therapy, an efficacious agent such as Bmi1 inhibitor could be rapidly transitioned to clinical trials.
Glioblastoma (GBM), an aggressive primary adult brain tumor, is feared for its near uniformly fatal prognosis. Despite the use of aggressive treatment including surgical resection, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the outcome of patients with GBM has failed to improve significantly. Numerous studies have implicated CD133+GBM subpopulation as driver of chemo- and radio-resistance. CD133 expression correlates with disease progression, recurrence, and poor overall survival of GBM patients. Here, we describe the preclinical evaluation of a recombinant CD133xCD3 bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE) antibody that redirects human polyclonal T cells to CD133+GBM cells, inducing very potent anti-tumor response. CD133-specific BiTE was constructed; with one arm recognizing the tumor antigen (CD133) while the second is specific to CD3 antigen. Using CD133high and CD133low primary GBM lines, we validated the binding of BiTEs to CD133+GBMs and CD3+T cells. In order to test the ability of BiTEs to functionally elicit CD133-specific cytotoxic responses in vitro, we performed killing assays. We observed CD133-specific BiTE mediated T cell activation and redirection to kill CD133-expressing GBM cells in a co-culture of T cells and GBM cells. The killing was more efficient in CD133high GBMs compared to CD133low GBMs, validating its specificity to target CD133+BTICs. Treatment with BiTEs yielded significant reductions in brain tumor burden in vivo. These data offers compelling evidence that BiTE-mediated cytotoxicity against treatment-resistant CD133+GBMs could provide a very potent, specific and can be a novel therapeutic strategy for GBM patients.
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