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Malignant astrocytic glioma: genetics, biology, and paths to treatment

Malignant astrocytic glioma: genetics, biology, and paths to treatment Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press REVIEW Malignant astrocytic glioma: genetics, biology, and paths to treatment 1,2,3 1 4 1 5 Frank B. Furnari, Tim Fenton, Robert M. Bachoo, Akitake Mukasa, Jayne M. Stommel, 5 6,7,8 6,7,9 10 11 Alexander Stegh, William C. Hahn, Keith L. Ligon, David N. Louis, Cameron Brennan, 5,7,12 5,7,8,14 1,2,3,13,15 Lynda Chin, Ronald A. DePinho, and Webster K. Cavenee 1 2 Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA; Department of Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA; Cancer Center University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA; Department of Neurology and Department of Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, Texas 75390, USA; Center for Applied Cancer Science of the Belfer Institute for Innovative Cancer Science, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachussetts 02115, USA; Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachussetts 02115, USA; Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachussetts 02115, USA; Department of Medicine and Department of Genetics Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachussetts 02115, USA; Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachussetts 02115, USA; Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachussetts 02115, USA; Department of Neurosurgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute, New York, New York 10065, USA; Department of Dermatology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachussetts 02115, USA; Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA Malignant astrocytic gliomas such as glioblastoma are instability. As reflected in the old moniker “multi- the most common and lethal intracranial tumors. These forme,” GBM presents with significant intratumoral het- cancers exhibit a relentless malignant progression char- erogeneity on the cytopathological, transcriptional, and acterized by widespread invasion throughout the brain, genomic levels. This complexity, combined with a puta- resistance to traditional and newer targeted therapeutic tive cancer stem cell (CSC) subpopulation and an incom- approaches, destruction of normal brain tissue, and cer- plete atlas of (epi)genetic lesions driving GBM pathogen- tain death. The recent confluence of advances in stem esis, has conspired to make this cancer one of the most cell biology, cell signaling, genome and computational difficult to understand and to treat. Despite implemen- science and genetic model systems have revolutionized tation of intensive therapeutic strategies and supportive our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the ge- care, the median survival of GBM has remained at 12 mo netics, biology and clinical behavior of glioblastoma. over the past decade. This progress is fueling new opportunities for under- In this review, we summarize current basic and trans- standing the fundamental basis for development of this lational challenges and highlight the striking scientific devastating disease and also novel therapies that, for the advances that promise to improve the clinical course of first time, portend meaningful clinical responses. this lethal disease. These advances include a more com- prehensive view of the altered genes and pathways in glioma and how such alterations drive the hallmark Malignant gliomas are classified and subtyped on the pathobiological features of the disease, the identification basis of histopathological features and clinical presenta- of new molecular subtypes in GBM, an improved under- tion (Fig. 1). The most common and biologically aggres- standing of the cellular origins of the disease and how sive of these is glioblastoma (GBM), World Health Orga- CSCs may influence therapeutic responses, refined nization (WHO) grade IV, and is defined by the hallmark model systems for use in research and preclinical experi- features of uncontrolled cellular proliferation, diffuse in- mental therapeutics, and novel therapeutic strategies for filtration, propensity for necrosis, robust angiogenesis, targeting keystone genetic lesions and their pathways. intense resistance to apoptosis, and rampant genomic For reasons of length, we have not discussed the ad- vances in such important areas as tumor immunology, the blood-brain barrier, and tumor imaging. For the first [Keywords: Glioma; glioblastoma; neural stem cells; cancer stem cells; time, there is a strong sentiment that meaningful thera- tyrosine kinase inhibitor; genetically engineered models] Corresponding authors. peutic advances will soon flow from this explosion of E-MAIL ron_depinho@dfci.harvard.edu; FAX (617) 632-6069. new molecular and biological knowledge; the remark- E-MAIL wcavenee@ucsd.edu; FAX (858) 534-7750. Article is online at http://www.genesdev.org/cgi/doi/10.1101/gad.1596707. able technological advances in genomics, proteomics, GENES & DEVELOPMENT 21:2683–2710 © 2007 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press ISSN 0890-9369/07; www.genesdev.org 2683 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Furnari et al. Figure 1. Chromosomal and genetic aberrations involved in the genesis of glioblastoma. Shown are the relationships between survival, pathobiology, and the molecular lesions that lead to the formation of primary (de novo) and secondary (progressive) glio- blastomas. Although histologically indistinguishable, these grade IV gliomas occur in different age groups and present distinct genetic alterations affecting similar molecular pathways. For example, inactivation of p53 function occurs due to direct mutation in progres- sive GBMs or INK4aARF mutation/decrease in expression or MDM2 amplification in de novo GBMs. Similarly, activation of the PI3K pathway is achieved by several cooperative mechanisms, including EGFR amplification and mutation as well as PTEN mutation, although underexpression of PTEN in the absence of mutation is frequently seen as well. See the text and Figure 2 for details on the molecular function of implicated genes. (OE) Overexpressed; (amp) amplified; (mut) mutated. and model systems; and the systematic and accurate de- vanced features of malignancy, including vascular pro- velopment of small molecule drugs, therapeutic antibod- liferation and necrosis, and as they are recalcitrant to ies, and the entirely new class of RNA interference radio/chemotherapy they are generally lethal within 12 (RNAi)-based agents. mo. This review focuses on tumors of the astrocytic se- ries, emphasizing grade IV GBM. On the basis of clinical presentation, GBMs have been Classification and grading of glioma further subdivided into the primary or secondary GBM The incidence of primary brain tumors worldwide is ap- subtypes. Primary GBMs account for the great majority proximately seven per 100,000 individuals per year, ac- of GBM cases in older patients, while secondary GBMs counting for ∼2% of primary tumors and 7% of the years are quite rare and tend to occur in patients below the age of life lost from cancer before the age of 70. The common of 45 yr. Primary GBM presents in an acute de novo gliomas affecting the cerebral hemispheres of adults are manner with no evidence of a prior symptoms or ante- termed “diffuse” gliomas due to their propensity to in- cedent lower grade pathology. In contrast, secondary filtrate, early and extensively, throughout the brain pa- GBM derives consistently from the progressive transfor- renchyma. These gliomas are classified histologically, mation of lower grade astrocytomas, with ∼70% of grade immunohistochemically, and/or ultrastructurally as as- II gliomas transforming into grade III/IV disease within trocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, or tumors with mor- 5–10 yr of diagnosis. Remarkably, despite their distinct phological features of both astrocytes and oligodendro- clinical histories, primary and secondary GBMs are mor- cytes, termed oligoastrocytomas. Tumors are then phologically and clinically indistinguishable as reflected graded on a WHO consensus-derived scale of I to IV ac- by an equally poor prognosis when adjusted for patient cording to their degree of malignancy as judged by vari- age. However, although these GBM subtypes achieve a ous histological features accompanied by genetic alter- common phenotypic endpoint, recent genomic profiles ations (Fig. 1; Louis et al. 2007). Grade I tumors are bio- have revealed strikingly different transcriptional pat- logically benign and can be cured if they can be terns and recurrent DNA copy number aberrations be- surgically resected; grade II tumors are low-grade malig- tween primary and secondary GBM as well as new dis- nancies that may follow long clinical courses, but early ease subclasses within each category (as discussed be- diffuse infiltration of the surrounding brain renders them low; Maher et al. 2006; Phillips et al. 2006). These incurable by surgery; grade III tumors exhibit increased molecular distinctions make obvious the need to change anaplasia and proliferation over grade II tumors and are the current standardized clinical management of these more rapidly fatal; grade IV tumors exhibit more ad- truly distinct diseases toward one of rational application 2684 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Glioma pathogenesis and treatment of targeted therapies to appropriate molecular sub- Tumor biological processes and known underlying classes. genetic alterations in astrocytic gliomas Immunohistochemical markers are important and rap- The classical genetic alterations in glioma target path- idly evolving tools in the classification and neuropatho- ways governing cellular proliferation, cellular survival logical diagnosis of malignant gliomas. Currently, the (apoptosis and necrosis), invasion, and angiogenesis. The most clinically useful and specific of these markers for following subsections cover these hallmark biological classification of gliomas are GFAP and OLIG2. GFAP is processes and their links to specific genetic aberrations universally expressed in astrocytic and ependymal tu- and associated signaling pathways (Figs. 1, 2). mors and only rarely in oligodendroglial lineage tumors. OLIG2, a more recently discovered stem/progenitor and Cell cycle dysregulation and enhanced glioma cell oligodendroglial marker, is CNS specific and is univer- proliferation sally and abundantly expressed in all diffuse gliomas, but is rarely expressed at such high levels in other types of Frequent mutations of cell cycle regulatory genes in gliomas and CNS malignancies (Ligon et al. 2004; Rous- glioma have underscored the importance of these genes seau et al. 2006). These markers thus serve as effective in cellular proliferation and senescence. The RB and p53 tools for unequivocal identification of gliomas and their pathways, which regulate the cell cycle primarily by gov- distinction from non-CNS tumors while aiding the pa- erning the G1-to-S-phase transition, are major targets of thologist in distinction of different glioma classes. inactivating mutations in GBM. The absence of these A recently expanded collection of novel markers has cell cycle guardians renders tumors particularly suscep- emerged from numerous avenues of research and holds tible to inappropriate cell division driven by constitu- potential to be deployed to improve classification and tively active mitogenic signaling effectors, such as phos- inform the potential clinical course of glioma patients. phoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) and mitogen-activated pro- Of particular interest are newly discovered stem and pro- tein kinase (MAPK). genitor cell markers that, once clinically validated, may aid in the differential diagnosis of these tumors as well as The Rb pathway In quiescent cells, hypophosphory- monitoring their responses to therapy. Intensive re- lated RB blocks proliferation by binding and sequestering search efforts are attempting to uncover agents that may the E2F family of transcription factors, which prevents target subpopulations of these cells with high tumori- the transactivation of genes essential for progression genic potential and increased resistance to current thera- through the cell cycle (Sherr and McCormick 2002). pies. Along these lines, the cell surface marker, CD133, Upon mitogenic stimulation, the activation of the and other markers of stem cells, such as Nestin and MAPK cascade leads to the induction of cyclin D1 and Musashi, have been shown to negatively correlate with its association with the cyclin-dependent kinases CDK4 outcome parameters. These newly discovered markers and CDK6, as well as the degradation of the CDK2/cyc- Kip1 suggest that pathologists will soon have at their disposal lin E inhibitor, p27 (Albanese et al. 1995; Lavoie et al. highly useful tools for improved clinical diagnosis and 1996; Aktas et al. 1997). These activated CDK complexes classification of gliomas. in turn phosphorylate RB, enabling E2F transactivation Immunohistochemical markers have also recently of its direct transcriptional targets governing S-phase en- been shown to aid in prediction of the clinical course for try and progression (Weinberg 1995; Frolov and Dyson certain classes of tumors. GBMs with intact expression 2004). of the PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted Gliomas circumvent RB-mediated cell cycle inhibi- on chromosome 10) and EGFRvIII proteins (for details, tion through any of several genetic alterations. The Rb1 see next section) correlated with increased epidermal gene, which maps to chromosome 13q14, is mutated in growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor response and ∼25% of high-grade astrocytomas and the loss of 13q progression-free survival compared with those tumors typifies the transition from low- to intermediate-grade expressing EGFRvIII but lacking PTEN (Mellinghoff et gliomas (James et al. 1988; Henson et al. 1994). More- al. 2005). Also, patients with EGFR protein expression, over, amplification of the CDK4 gene on chromosome mutant or wild-type, have been identified for the sake of 12q13-14 accounts for the functional inactivation of RB targeting EGFR therapy to the appropriate patient popu- in ∼15% high-grade gliomas, and CDK6 is also amplified lation. Furthermore, a powerful and widely used molecu- but at a lower frequency (Reifenberger et al. 1994; Cos- lar marker—combined loss of the short arm of chromo- tello et al. 1997). RB activity is also frequently lost some 1 and the long arm of chromosome 19—is already through the inactivation of a critical negative regulator Ink4a widely used in the management of oligodendroglial of both CDK4 and CDK6, p16 (Serrano et al. 1993). gliomas, but its role in the evaluation of astrocytic glio- This gene is one of two transcripts generated at the mas such as GBM is not yet well defined (Reifenberger CDKN2A locus on chromosome 9p21 (in addition to ARF and Louis 2003; Louis et al. 2007). With the wealth of p14 [alternate reading frame p14]; see below), which accumulating profiling and genomic data, an increase is predominantly inactivated by allelic loss or hyper- in confidence is merited that useful diagnostic, prognos- methylation in 50%–70% of high-grade gliomas and tic, and drug response biomarkers will be incorporated ∼90% of cultured glioma cell lines (Jen et al. 1994; into routine clinical management of GBM in the near Schmidt et al. 1994; Merlo et al. 1995; Costello et al. future. 1996; Fueyo et al. 1996). Consistent with its role as an GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2685 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Furnari et al. Figure 2. Genetic alterations characteristic of astrocytic glioma lead to aberrant activation of key pathways involved in mitogenic signaling and cell cycle control. Certain proto-oncogenes (shown in green) such as EGFR and PIK3CA (p110) are activated by mutation, while other growth-promoting genes (also green) are commonly overexpressed. Tumor suppressor genes that are either lost or inactivated by mutation are shown in red. Knowledge of glioma genetics has driven the development of therapeutic agents (listed in blue boxes) that specifically target these pathways—both those intrinsic to the tumor cells and those that impact on the surrounding endothelium and extracellular matrix to direct glioma angiogenesis and invasion. Direct signaling connections, such as post-trans- lational modification of target proteins, are shown in solid lines, while dashed lines represent indirect or uncharacterized interactions. The major mitogenic signaling modules downstream from RTKs (RAS-MAPK and PI3K-mTOR) and the cell cycle machinery are frequently dysregulated in glioma and are highlighted (see the text for details). (AKT) Murine thymoma viral oncogene homolog; (AMPK) AMP-dependent protein kinase; (c-src) sarcoma (Schmidt-Ruppin A-2) viral oncogene homolog; (ERK) extracellular signal- regulated kinase; (eIF4E) eukaryotic initiation factor 1; (4EBP1) eIF4E-binding protein 1; (HDAC) histone deacetylase; (mdm-2,4) murine double minute 2,4; (MEK) mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase; (mTOR) mammalian target of rapamycin; (p90RSK) p90 ribosomal protein S6 kinase; (PLC) phospholipase C; (pRb) retinoblastoma protein; (RAF1) v-raf1 murine leukemia viral oncogene homolog 1; (RAS) rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog; (REDD1) regulated in development and DNA damage responses; (RHEB) Ras homolog enriched in brain; (S6K1) p70 ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1; (TORC1,2) mTOR complex1,2. Ink4a important glioma tumor suppressor, p16 is also a The importance of the inactivation of the RB pathway in critical inhibitor of progenitor cell renewal in the sub- glioma progression is evidenced by the near-universal ventricular zone of aging mice (Molofsky et al. 2006). and mutually exclusive alteration of RB pathway ef- 2686 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Glioma pathogenesis and treatment fectors and inhibitors in both primary and secondary 1995; Montes de Oca Luna et al. 1995; Honda et al. 1997; GBM (Schmidt et al. 1994; Ueki et al. 1996). However, Fang et al. 2000; Honda and Yasuda 2000). Concordantly, numerous in vitro and in vivo assays have demonstrated the chromosomal region containing MDM2, 12q14-15, is that the neutralization of this pathway alone is insuffi- amplified in ∼10% of primary GBM, the majority of cient to abrogate cell cycle control to the extent needed which contain intact p53 (Reifenberger et al. 1994). The for cellular transformation, suggesting that other impor- discovery of the MDM2-related gene, MDM4 (chromo- tant cell cycle regulation pathways complement its ac- some 1q32), which inhibits p53 transcription and en- tivities in preventing gliomagenesis (Holland et al. hances the ubiquitin ligase activity of MDM2, prompted 1998a,b; Rich et al. 2001; Sonoda et al. 2001; Bachoo et the finding that the p53 pathway is also inactivated by al. 2002; Huang et al. 2002; Uhrbom et al. 2002, 2005; the amplification of MDM4 in 4% of GBM with neither Xiao et al. 2002). TP53 mutation nor MDM2 amplification (Shvarts et al. 1996; Riemenschneider et al. 1999; Gu et al. 2002; Lin- The p53 pathway The p53 tumor suppressor prevents ares et al. 2003). Additionally, the recently discovered the propagation of cells with unstable genomes, pre- tumor suppressor gene CHD5 (chromodomain helicase dominantly by halting the cell cycle in the G1 phase or DNA-binding domain 5), which maps to chromosome instigating a program of apoptosis or proliferative arrest 1p36 and is therefore frequently hemizygously deleted in (Vousden and Lu 2002). P53 achieves these ends prima- those human gliomas that have 1p loss, has been shown rily through its function as a transcription factor: Upon to maintain p53 levels by facilitating expression of Arf Arf being post-translationally modified by various genotoxic p19 (mouse p14 ortholog), and thus presents an ad- and cytotoxic stress-sensing agents, p53 is stabilized, ditional mechanism for inactivation of this critical path- then binds and transcriptionally regulates the promoters way (Bagchi et al. 2007). of >2500 potential effector genes (Hoh et al. 2002; Levine Mitogenic signaling pathways Many mitogens and et al. 2006). The best characterized of these effectors is their specific membrane receptors are present in overac- the transcriptional target CDNK1A, which encodes the tive form in gliomas. Proliferation of normal cells re- protein for the CDK2 inhibitor p21 (El-Deiry et al. 1993; quires activation of mitogenic signaling pathways Harper et al. 1993). Although this gene has not been through diffusible growth factor binding, cell–cell adhe- found to be genomically altered in gliomas, its expres- sion, and/or contact with extracellular matrix (ECM) sion is frequently abrogated by p53 functional inactivity components. These signals are transduced intracellu- as well as by mitogenic signaling through the PI3K and larly by transmembrane receptors that typically activate MAPK pathways. the PI3K and MAPK signaling pathways. In contrast, tu- The p53 pathway is nearly invariably altered in spo- mor cells acquire genomic alterations that greatly reduce radic gliomas: Loss of p53, through either point muta- their dependence on exogenous growth stimulation, en- tions that prevent DNA binding or loss of chromosome abling their inappropriate cell division, survival, and mo- 17p, is a frequent and early event in the pathological tility through the constitutive activation of these path- progression of secondary GBM (Louis 1994; Louis and ways. While gliomas overcome the normal impositions Cavenee 1997). The importance of p53 in gliomagenesis on the control of mitogenic signaling through multiple is also underscored by the increased incidence of gliomas mechanisms, activation of receptor tyrosine kinases in Li-Fraumeni syndrome, a familial cancer-predisposi- (RTKs), discussed in detail below, appears to be the pre- tion syndrome associated with germline p53 mutations dominant mechanism. (Malkin et al. 1990; Srivastava et al. 1990). This genetic linkage has been reinforced by a glioma-prone condition MAPK Proliferation signals can be transduced by the in mice engineered with a commonly observed Li-Frau- MAPK pathway by both integrins and RTKs. Integrins meni p53 mutation (Olive et al. 2004) as well as in are membrane-bound ECM receptors that mediate the ARF p19 -null mice, albeit at a low frequency (Kamijo et al. interaction between the ECM and the cytoskeleton. 1999). Upon adhesion to ECM, integrins bind cytoplasmic an- The finding that a second promoter drives an alterna- chor proteins that coordinate the binding of integrins to tively spliced transcript at the CDKN2A locus prompted actin filaments, thus creating a focal adhesion complex. the discovery of an additional tumor suppressor gene Multiple molecules of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) clus- that is inactivated at this locus (Quelle et al. 1995). The ter at these complexes and become activated by cross- ARF second protein encoded by CDKN2A, p14 , was sub- phosphorylation, whereupon FAK activates a signal sequently shown to be an important accessory to p53 transduction cascade that leads to extracellular signal- activation under conditions of oncogenic stress due to its regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation either through neutralization of the p53 ubiquitin ligase, MDM2 (Ka- activation of Ras by the recruitment of the adaptor pro- mijo et al. 1998; Pomerantz et al. 1998; Stott et al. 1998; tein Grb2 and the Ras guanine nucleotide exchange fac- Honda and Yasuda 1999), an oncogene originally discov- tor SOS to phospho-FAK at the plasma membrane, or ered amplified as double minute chromosomes in a spon- through Src-dependent phosphorylation of p130Cas taneously transformed murine cell line, and then later (Schlaepfer et al. 1994, 1997; Schlaepfer and Hunter found to be a key negative regulator of p53 during normal 1997). Ras-GTP in turn phosphorylates Raf kinase, development and in tumorigenesis (Fakharzadeh et al. which phosphorylates MEK, which phosphorylates ERK, 1991; Momand et al. 1992; Oliner et al. 1993; Jones et al. which enters the nucleus and phosphorylates nuclear GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2687 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Furnari et al. transcription factors that induce the expression of genes tumor suppressor that is inactivated in 50% of high- promoting cell cycle progression, such as cyclin D1. grade gliomas by mutations or epigenetic mechanisms, RTKs activate the MAPK pathway when activated by each resulting in uncontrolled PI3K signaling in these growth factor signaling, mutation, or overexpression. As tumors (Knobbe and Reifenberger 2003; Ohgaki et al. discussed in more detail below, RTK activation results 2004). In mouse models, brain-specific inactivation of in receptor dimerization and cross-phosphorylation, cre- PTEN caused overgrowth of the mouse brain and aber- ating binding sites for adaptor protein complexes such as rant proliferation of astrocytes both in vivo and in vitro Grb2/SOS, which in turn activates Ras. While constitu- (Fraser et al. 2004). An elegant mouse model of astrocy- tively activated, mutated forms of Ras are found in ∼50% toma has been developed in which the Rb family pro- of all human tumors, few Ras mutations have been teins are inactivated by GFAP-directed expression of found in gliomas. Despite this, high levels of active Ras- SV40 T antigen (Xiao et al. 2002). In this model system, GTP are found in advanced astrocytomas (Guha et al. PTEN inactivation was associated with increased angio- 1997), suggesting that a more relevant mechanism for genesis—a close parallel to the progression of high-grade MAPK-dependent mitogenic signaling in GBM is disease in humans coincident with loss of PTEN (Xiao et through inappropriate activation of RTKs and/or inte- al. 2002, 2005). While regulation of PI3K signaling is grins. critical to controlling cell growth and survival, a number of recent studies have pointed to additional levels at PI3K/PTEN/AKT The class I PI3Ks catalyze the which PTEN may act to suppress transformation and mitogen-stimulated phosphorylation of phosphatidyli- tumor progression. Differentiated and quiescent cells nositol-4,5-bisphosphate [PtdIns(4,5)P ] to produce harbor high levels of nuclear PTEN, which appears to PtdIns(3,4,5)P . This creates docking sites for a multi- fulfill important roles in the maintenance of genomic tude of signaling proteins containing domains capable of integrity, through centromere stabilization and promo- binding either to PtdIns(3,4,5)P itself or to the 5-dephos- tion of DNA repair (Shen et al. 2007). Importantly, a phorylated product, PtdIns(3,4)P (for reviews, see Van- number of PTEN point mutations found in familial can- haesebroeck et al. 2001; Hawkins et al. 2006). The class cer predisposition syndromes have no effect on enzyme IA PI3Ks are heterodimers that are recruited to activated activity but instead lie within sequences important for RTKs and adaptor proteins via their regulatory subunit, regulating PTEN localization. Analysis of such mutants of which there are five isoforms encoded by three genes: has confirmed that aberrant sequestration of PTEN into p85, p55, and p50 (PIK3R1); p85 (PIKR2); and p55 either the nucleus or the cytoplasm compromises its tu- (PIKR3). mor suppressor function (Denning et al. 2007; Trotman Since the regulatory subunits appear thus far to be et al. 2007). functionally equivalent, the class IA PI3Ks are currently Of the many signaling proteins that are recruited to defined by the catalytic isoform present: p110, p110, the membrane and activated by binding to and p110, encoded by the PIK3CA, PIK3CB, and PtdIns(3,4,5)P , the phosphoinositide-dependent kinase PIK3CD genes, respectively (Hawkins et al. 2006). Evi- (PDK1) and Akt/PKB (also the cellular homolog of a viral +/− dence for the importance of p110 in transformation de- oncoprotein), are required for tumorigenesis in PTEN −/− rives from the discovery of a vPIK3CA oncogene in avian mice and for growth of PTEN embryonic stem (ES) sarcoma virus with potent transforming activity in cells as tumors in nude mice (Stiles et al. 2002; Bayascas chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEFs) (Chang et al. 1997). et al. 2005; Chen et al. 2006). In response to PI3K acti- PIK3CA gain-of-function point mutants have been de- vation, PDK1 and the mammalian target of rapamycin tected in a variety of cancers, including malignant glio- (mTOR, acting in the rapamycin-insensitive TORC2 mas such as GBM, in which the frequency of mutation complex) activate Akt via phosphorylation of two key has been cited in some studies to be as high as 15% residues, T308 and S473, respectively (Mora et al. 2004; (Samuels et al. 2004; Gallia et al. 2006). Elevated expres- Sarbassov et al. 2005). Assessment of the phosphoryla- sion of the PIK3D gene has also been reported in GBM tion status of these residues is often the method of (Knobbe and Reifenberger 2003; S. Kang et al. 2006). choice for monitoring PI3K pathway activity in cell lines In addition to p85 binding, the p110 subunits can also and primary tumors, including GBM samples, 85% of be activated by binding to GTP-bound Ras (Rodriguez- which have been reported to display activated Akt (Wang Viciana et al. 1994, 1996). Recently, the study of knock- et al. 2004). In addition to aberrant PI3K signaling, there in mice bearing a p110 point mutant that is unable to are a number of other possible mechanisms by which bind Ras has revealed that this interaction is essential Akt activation may become dysregulated in GBM. both for normal development and for Ras-driven tumori- PHLPP (PH domain leucine-rich repeat protein phospha- genesis, as assessed both by transformation of mouse tase), which dephosphorylates S473, is expressed at very embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) by H-Ras and using a low levels in certain GBM cell lines, as is CTMP (C- mouse model of K-ras-induced lung adenocarcinomas terminal modulator protein), which binds to Akt and in- (Gupta et al. 2007). hibits its phosphorylation (Maira et al. 2001; Knobbe et The action of class I PI3K enzymes is directly antago- al. 2004; Gao et al. 2005). PIKE-A, a small GTPase highly nized by the PtdIns(3,4,5)P 3-phosphatase encoded by expressed in GBMs and glioma cell lines, binds directly the PTEN gene located at 10q23.3 (Li et al. 1997; Steck et to phosphorylated Akt and enhances its anti-apoptotic al. 1997; Maehama and Dixon 1998). PTEN is a major function (Ahn et al. 2004; Knobbe et al. 2005). 2688 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Glioma pathogenesis and treatment Akt phosphorylates many proteins involved in the ways can negate each other: p53 can inhibit activated regulation of cell growth, proliferation, metabolism, and FOXOs by inducing the expression of the kinase SGK1, apoptosis. A recent study on v-H-ras-induced transfor- which phosphorylates and exports FOXOs from the mation of MEFs and skin carcinogenesis indicates that nucleus (You et al. 2004). Conversely, FOXOs can inhibit activation of mTOR in the rapamycin-sensitive TORC1 p53 transcriptional activity by increasing its association complex via inhibition of the TSC2 tumor suppressor is with nuclear export receptors that translocate it to the a key pro-oncogenic function of Akt (Skeen et al. 2006). cytoplasm (You et al. 2006). The recent finding that Since mutant H-ras is seldom seen in human tumors, it Sprouty2, a gene involved in suppression of Ras signaling will be important to determine whether Akt/TSC/ during oncogene-induced senescence, is also a direct TORC1 signaling is similarly required downstream from transcriptional target of FoxO emphasizes the complex- glioma-relevant perturbations, such as EGFR mutation ity of cross-talk that exists between the Ras/MAPK and and overexpression and/or PTEN loss. Evidence that this PI3K pathways (Courtois-Cox et al. 2006; Paik et al. 2007). The complicated interplay among these critical may indeed be the case is provided by the efficacy of PI-103, a small molecule inhibitor of both p110 and molecules highlights the need for detailed dissection of mTOR, which potently blocks the growth of glioma cell the pathways that are aberrant in each tumor to accu- lines and of U87EGFRvIII xenografts following subcuta- rately guide the choice of combination therapies that can neous injection in nude mice, without discernable tox- simultaneously target multiple pathways. −/− icity to the animals (Fan et al. 2006). The use of TSC2 RTKs Gliomas may activate receptor-driven pathways cells, which display constitutive phosphorylation of the by different mechanisms: overexpression of both ligands TORC1 substrates S6K1 and 4E-BP1, revealed the exist- and receptors leading to an autocrine loop, genomic am- ence of a negative feedback loop, whereby inhibitory plification, and/or mutation of the receptor leading to phosphorylation of the insulin receptor substrate (IRS-1) constitutive activation in the absence of ligand. TheEGF by S6K1 causes a reduction in Akt activation (Harrington and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) pathways play et al. 2004; Shah et al. 2004; Riemenschneider et al. important roles in both CNS development and glioma- 2006; Shah and Hunter 2006). Treatment of glioma cells genesis, and targeted therapy against these potentially with TORC1-specific inhibitors, such as rapamycin, dis- critical signaling pathways is currently under vigorous rupts such feedback control, resulting in increased Akt basic and clinical investigation. activity (Fan et al. 2006). Dual inhibition of PI3K and TORC1 by PI-103 overcomes these problems and likely EGFR EGFR gene amplification occurs in ∼40% of all explains its increased efficacy. GBMs, and the amplified genes are frequently rearranged In addition, phosphorylation of the FOXO transcrip- (Libermann et al. 1984, 1985; Ekstrand et al. 1991; Wong tion factors by Akt, which promotes their exclusion et al. 1992; Louis et al. 2007). An EGFR mutant allele from the nucleus, reduces the expression of a number of with deletion of exons 2–7 (known variously as EGFR- important target genes, including the CDK inhibitors vIII, EGFR, or EGFR*) occurs in 20–30% of all human WAF1/CIP1 KIP1 p21 and p27 (both of which are also directly GBM (and in 50%–60% of those that have amplified targeted by Akt) and the RB family member p130 wild-type EGFR), making it the most common EGFR (Medema et al. 2000; Kops et al. 2002; Seoane et al. 2004). mutant (Sugawa et al. 1990; Frederick et al. 2000). Given the recent data illustrating context-specific ac- EGFRvIII is a highly validated glioma target as evidenced tions of FOXO on various targets in different cell types by the capacity of activated EGFR mutants to enhance and tissues, it may be prudent to validate these FOXO tumorigenic behavior of human GBM cells by reducing targets specifically in glioma (Paik et al. 2007). apoptosis and increasing proliferation (Nishikawa et al. 1994; Nagane et al. 1996; Huang et al. 1997; Narita et al. PI3K–MAPK–p53–RB pathway interactions While 2002) and to malignantly transform murine Ink4a/Arf- the PI3K, MAPK, p53, and RB pathways are often con- null neural stem cells (NSCs) or astrocytes in the mouse sidered as distinct entities, there is significant cross-talk brain (Holland et al. 1998a; Bachoo et al. 2002). Thus, among the pathways that serve to reinforce the inappro- EGFR has been a prime target for therapeutic inter- priate regulation of any single pathway perturbation. For vention in GBM with small molecule kinase inhibitors, example, because p53 enhances PTEN transcription and antibody-based immunotherapy and immunotoxins represses the expression of p110 (Stambolic et al. 2001; (Lorimer et al. 1995; Mishima et al. 2001; Nagane et al. Singh et al. 2002), the loss of p53 in cells with constitu- 2001; Jungbluth et al. 2003), and, more recently, small tively active RTK signaling can further potentiate PI3K interfering RNA (siRNA)-directed neutralization of ei- pathway activation. Therapies aimed at reactivating p53 ther wild-type EGFR or the unique junction present in in GBM may be compromised by MAPK and PI3K inter- the EGFRvIII allele (Fan and Weiss 2005; C.S. Kang et al. 2006). vention in the activity of p53 and its effectors. MAPK signaling activates c-myc, which binds the miz-1 tran- Transcriptional profiles of GBM with EGFR over- scriptional repressor to block p21 gene induction (Herold expression have revealed distinct gene expression pro- et al. 2002; Seoane et al. 2002), while Akt impacts on p53 files that have enabled classification of molecular sub- function by phosphorylation of Mdm2 (Zhou et al. 2001; groups among phenotypically undistinguishable tumors Shin et al. 2002; Feng et al. 2004) in addition to the direct (Mischel et al. 2003). Along similar lines, immunohisto- inhibition of p21 discussed earlier. Moreover, these path- chemical studies have demonstrated that GBM could be GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2689 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Furnari et al. stratified according to PI3K pathway activation status tricular zone have been shown to express PDGFR and and that these activation profiles are associated with PDGF could stimulate these NSCs to form glioma-like EGFRvIII expression and PTEN loss (Choe et al. 2003). lesions in the mouse (Jackson et al. 2006). Furthermore, Such efforts to stratify patients appear to be important in mice transgenic for neural progenitor PDGF-B expres- the optimal deployment of small molecule EGFR inhibi- sion resulted in the formation of oligodendrogliomas and tors as only a small fraction of GBM patients show forced elevation of PDGF-B levels increased overall tu- meaningful responses to such agents (Rich et al. 2004; mor incidence (Dai et al. 2001; Shih et al. 2004), sug- Lassman et al. 2005). Thus far, in responsive cases, pa- gesting that targeted therapy against this pathway could tients with coexpression of EGFRvIII (Mellinghoff et al. have therapeutic potential (Shih and Holland 2006). 2005) or wild-type EGFR (Haas-Kogan et al. 2005), to- To this end, an orally active kinase inhibitor of the gether with PTEN presence or low Akt activation levels 2-phenylaminopyrimidine class such as STI571 (ima- in their GBM cells, exhibited the most favorable out- tinib mesylate, Gleevec) has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of these oncogenic loops (Kilic et al. 2000; Hag- comes to EGFR inhibitors. In accordance with findings of multiple activated pathways in GBM, addition of the erstrand et al. 2006) and, when combined with hydroxy- mTOR inhibitor, rapamycin, has been shown to enhance urea in a phase II study, has been shown to achieve du- the sensitivity of PTEN-deficient tumor cells to the rable anti-tumor activity in some patients with recurrent EGFR kinase inhibitor, erlotinib (Fan et al. 2003; Goudar GBM (Reardon et al. 2005); in contrast, when used alone, et al. 2005; Wang et al. 2006). Consistent with enhanced imatinib has demonstrated minimal activity in malig- apoptosis resistance by EGFRvIII, activated EGFR has nant glioma (see below; Table 1; Wen et al. 2006). also been shown to confer radio- and chemo-resistance to RTK coactivation and cooperation One additional GBM cells (Nagane et al. 1998; Chakravarti et al. 2002). potential explanation for the failure of EGFR and PDGFR These experimental observations and the capacity of inhibitors to elicit significant clinical outcomes is that EGFR inhibitors or dominant-negative EGFR-CD533 to additional RTKs may cooperate to provide a signaling sensitize GBM cells to radiation and chemotherapeutic threshold that prevents the inhibition of mitogenic and agents (Nagane et al. 2001; Stea et al. 2003; Lammering survival signals through the inactivation of any single et al. 2004; Sarkaria et al. 2006) predict that disruption of RTK. This hypothesis is supported by recent work that EGFR function at the time of ionizing radiation and sub- demonstrates that multiple RTKs in addition to EGFR sequent chemotherapy, instead of at the time of recur- and PDGFR are activated simultaneously in primary rence, would improve therapeutic outcome (Nyati et al. GBM patient samples (Stommel et al. 2007), and onco- 2006). These results, coupled with the recent identifica- genic signaling, survival, and anchorage-independent tion of EGFR-activating ectodomain mutations in ∼14% growth were not fully abrogated until cell lines with en- of GBMs that convey sensitivity toward erlotinib (Lee et dogenous coactivation of RTKs were treated with phar- al. 2006), are beginning to detail tumor molecular pro- macological agents or siRNAs targeting at least three files and therapeutic regimens that will best benefit pa- different receptors. Importantly, these effects were ob- tients with EGF receptor and downstream pathway ge- served irrespective of PTEN status, indicating that the netic lesions. presence of this tumor suppressor may not be a critical determinant of therapeutic success as long as upstream PDGF receptor (PDGFR) In addition to the EGFR sig- signaling effectors are sufficiently inhibited. The discov- naling axis, PDGFR and its ligands, PDGF-A and ery of receptor coactivation or cooperation suggests that PDGF-B, are expressed in gliomas, particularly in high- tumor RTK profiling may be an important step in the grade tumors, while strong expression of PDGFR oc- development of a personalized GBM therapeutic regi- curs in proliferating endothelial cells in GBM (Herman- men. Another study (Huang et al. 2007) showed that son et al. 1992; Plate et al. 1992; Westermark et al. 1995; glioma cells engineered to overexpress EGFRvIII to lev- Di Rocco et al. 1998). PDGF-C and PDGF-D, which re- els observed in GBM caused increased c-MET phos- quire proteolytic cleavage for activity, are also frequently phorylation that was dependent on the kinase activity expressed in glioma cell lines and in GBM tissues (Lok- and levels of this mutant EGFR. The cross-talk between ker et al. 2002). In contrast to EGFR, amplification or the receptors could be targeted with specific inhibitors to rearrangement of PDGFR is much less common, and a both, resulting in enhanced cytotoxicity of EGFRvIII-ex- relatively rare oncogenic deletion mutation of PDGFR pressing cells compared with either compound alone. It (loss of exons 8 and 9) has been described (Clarke and appears that the initially disappointing clinical trials us- Dirks 2003) that, similar to EGFRvIII, is constitutively ing RTK-targeted agents in GBM should be reanalyzed active and enhances tumorigenicity. Given the tumoral with respect to the RTK activation profiles of the re- coexpression of PDGF and PDGFR, autocrine and para- sponders and nonresponders, and that future trials could crine loops may be the primary means by which this take RTK coactivation into account when selecting com- growth factor axis exerts its effects. Supportive evidence bination inhibitor regimens. for a paracrine circuitry initiated by PDGF-B secretion that enhances glioma angiogenesis has been shown Apoptosis through stimulation of endothelial cells displaying PDGFR, in part, to express VEGF (Guo et al. 2003). A hallmark feature of malignant glioma cells is an in- Besides glial precursor cells, NSCs in the adult subven- tense resistance to death-inducing stimuli such as radio- 2690 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Glioma pathogenesis and treatment Table 1. Inhibitors being used in clinical trials and their targets Inhibitor target Mono-therapy Combined therapy RTK EGFR Erlotinib (Tarceva) Erlotinib + radiation, erlotinib + temozolomide, erlotinib + temsirolimus, erlotinib + sorafenib Gefitinib (Iressa) Gefitinib + everolimus Cetuximab (Erbitux) Cetuximab + temozolomide + radiation EGFRvIII and mAb 806 amp wtEGFR PDGFR Imatinib (Gleevec) (PDGFR, c-Kit, Imatinib + temozolomid, Abl) imatinib + vatalanib + hydroxyurea, imatinib + hydroxyurea VEGFR and AZD2171 (VEGFR, PDGFR, c-Kit) multi-RTK Vatalanib (VEGFR, PDGFR, c-Kit) Sunitinib malate (PDGFR, VEGFR1/2, c-Kit) AEE788 (EGFR, VEGFR1/2) ZD6474 (EGFR, VEGFR2/3) Lapatinib (EGFR, HER2) Sorafenib (RAF, VEGFR2/3, Sorafenib + temsirolimus, PDGFR, c-Kit) sorafenib + (Temsirolimus, Tipifarnib or Erlotinib) Pazopanib (VEGFR, PDGFR, Kit) Pazopanib + lapatanib Tandutinib (FLT3, PDGFR) Ligand VEGF Bevacizumab (ligand) Bevacizumab + irinotecan VEGF-Trap (ligand) Signal transduction Akt Perifosine PKC Tamoxifen Tamoxifen + bortezomib Enzastaurin mTOR AP23573 Everolimus Everolimus + temozolomide Sirolimus Temsirolimus Temsirolimus + temozolomide + radiation Protein modification HDAC Suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid SAHA + temozolomide (SAHA, Vorinostat) Farnesyltransferase Tipifarnib Lonafarnib Lonafarnib + temozolomide, lonafarnib + temozolomide Depsipeptide Other v3 Integrin Cilengitide Cilengitide + radiation Steroid receptors Synthetic retinoids (e.g., all-trans and 13-cis retinoic acid) Proteosome Bortezomib (Velcade) Sp1 transcription Tetra-O-methyl factor nordihydroguaiaretic acid Various drugable molecules and pathways implicated in glioma are being targeted by mono and combined therapeutic approaches. For detailed information, see the text and htp://www.clinicaltrials.gov. (PKC) Protein kinase C; (HDAC) histone deacetylase. therapy and chemotherapy. This biological property has ecules to provide a molecular scaffold for the autopro- been linked to genetic alterations of key regulatory mol- teolytic processing and activation of caspases (for review, ecules involved in mitogenic signaling, most promi- see Lavrik et al. 2005). The most important death recep- nently RTKs and the PI3K–PTEN–Akt signaling axis, as tor systems include TNFR1 (DR1/CD120a), TRAILR1 well as regulatory and effector molecules residing in (DR4/APO-2), TRAILR2 (DR5/KILLER/TRICK2), and classical cell death networks of both extrinsic (death re- CD95 (DR2/Fas/APO-1). Several lines of evidence sup- ceptor-mediated) and intrinsic (mitochondria-dependent) port important roles of these death receptors in glioma apoptosis signaling pathways. pathogenesis. First, various human glioma cell lines and The “death receptors” are cell surface molecules that, primary glioma-derived cell cultures are sensitive to upon binding their cognate ligands, recruit adapter mol- death ligand-mediated apoptosis in vitro and in xenograft GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2691 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Furnari et al. model systems in vivo (Weller et al. 1994; Roth et al. classical roles, Bcl2 family members may contribute to 1997; Shinoura et al. 1998; Nagane et al. 2000; Maleniak gliomagenesis through enhancement of migration and et al. 2001; Rohn et al. 2001). Second, expression levels of invasion by altering the expression of a set of metalopro- these death receptors and in particular of their corre- teinases and their inhibitors (Wick et al. 1998, 2001, sponding (antagonistic) decoy receptors may correlate 2004). Due to their central role and importance in apo- with susceptibility of glioma cells to death ligand-in- ptosis signaling, neutralization of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 duced apoptosis. A prominent example is the decoy re- proteins by antisense technology (Julien et al. 2000), ceptor for CD95 ligand (CD95L), soluble decoy receptor 3 small molecules that block BcL2 interactions with other (DcR3). It is expressed on malignant glioma cell lines, families (Fesik 2005), or by viral-mediated delivery of and its expression pattern correlates with the grade of select proapoptotic members (Naumann et al. 2003), malignancy in human glioma specimens (Roth et al. may represent promising future avenues of therapeutic + + 2001). Interestingly, infiltration of CD4 and CD8 T intervention. cells and microglia/macrophages was significantly de- creased in DcR3-driven xenografts, suggesting that Necrosis glioma cells may escape CD95L-dependent immune-cy- totoxic attack by expressing a decoy receptor that neu- While highly resistant to therapeutic apoptotic stimuli, tralizes CD95L by preventing its interaction with the GBM tumor cells exhibit the paradoxical propensity for receptor (Roth et al. 2001). extensive cellular necrosis. Indeed, necrosis is the most The TRAIL death receptor system in particular has prominent form of spontaneous cell death in GBM, pre- gained considerable interest as a specific inducer of can- sented as foci of micronecrosis surrounded by broad hy- cer cell apoptosis as its expression has been positively percellular zones contiguous with normal tissue or by correlated with survival of patients with primary GBM parenchymal infiltrates (Raza et al. 2002; Brat and Van (Kuijlen et al. 2006). In this regard, loco-regional admin- Meir 2004). While limited blood supply and anoxia due istration of TRAIL inhibited growth of human glioma to a microthrombotic process has been identified as an cell xenografts (Roth et al. 1999) and acted synergisti- important cause of necrosis, the molecular basis for this cally with chemotherapeutic drugs (Nagane et al. 2000; necrotic phenotype, particularly in the context of in- Rohn et al. 2001), in part through up-regulation of tense apoptotic therapy resistance, has recently come TRAIL-R2 and Bak protein and down-regulation of the into focus with the discovery and characterization of the caspase-8-specific inhibitor cFLIPs (LeBlanc et al. 2002; Bcl2-like 12 (Bcl2L12) protein. Arizono et al. 2003; J.H. Song et al. 2003). In addition, Bcl2L12 has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of peptides derived from the second mitochondria-derived post-mitochondrial apoptosis signal transduction that is activator of caspases (Smac), a potent antagonist of mem- significantly overexpressed in primary GBMs (Stegh et bers of the IAP family of caspase inhibitors, acted syner- al. 2007). Bcl2L12 is a proline-rich protein characterized gistically with TRAIL to induce tumor cell apoptosis in by a C-terminal 14-amino-acid sequence with significant vitro and in vivo without demonstrable neurotoxicity homology with the BH (Bcl-2 Homology) 2 domain found (Fulda et al. 2002). Mechanistically, these peptides abro- in several members of the Bcl-2 protein family (Scorilas gate IAP-binding activity and, consequently inhibition of et al. 2001). Enforced expression of Bcl2L12 in primary effector caspase-9, caspase-3, and caspase-7 activity cortical astrocytes inhibited apoptosis, and its RNAi-me- downstream from mitochondrial membrane disintegra- diated knockdown sensitizes human glioma cell lines to tion, underscoring the importance of post-mitochondrial drug-induced apoptosis and reduces tumor formation in caspase activation for apoptosis propagation in glioma an orthotopic transplant model in vivo (Stegh et al. cell lines and its validity as a therapeutic target (Fulda et 2007). The anti-apoptotic actions of Bcl2L12 relate sig- al. 2002). nificantly to its capacity to neutralize effector caspase The role of the Bcl-2 family in gliomagenesis has also activity downstream from mitochondrial dysfunction been extensively studied. On the mechanistic level, clas- and apoptosome activity, likely through specific interac- sical anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members (BAK, BAD, tion with effector caspase-7 (Stegh et al. 2007). These BID, BAX, BCL-X , MCL-1) modulate apoptosis signal- activities of Bcl2L12 are highly relevant to the necrotic ing by preserving mitochondrial membrane integrity and process in the light of studies showing that suppression the release of cytochrome c, which effects the caspase of caspase activity downstream from mitochondria redi- cascade and the apoptotic program (for review, see Green rects the death program from apoptosis to necrosis (for and Kroemer 2004). On the clinical level, there is a cor- review, see Nicotera and Melino 2004), indicating that relation between tumor grade and expression of several post-mitochondrial caspase activation acts as a molecu- anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins (BCL-2 and MCL-1) (Weller lar switch between apoptotic and necrotic cell death et al. 1995; Krajewski et al. 1997), and in general, this paradigms (for review, see Nicotera and Melino 2004). Bcl-2 “rheostat” is shifted toward an anti-apoptotic bal- In support of this model, germline deletion of post- ance during the transition from initial to recurrent GBM mitochondrial apoptosis signaling components, such as (Strik et al. 1999). Additionally, Bcl-x is up-regulated by the caspase activator Apaf-1, or blockage of effector overexpression of EGFRvIII in glioma cells and this up- caspase maturation by pan-specific caspase inhibitors re- regulation confers resistance to the chemotherapeutic sults in decreased apoptosis, yet causes an increase in agent cisplatin (Nagane et al. 1998). In addition to their necrosis (for review, see Nicotera and Melino 2004). 2692 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Glioma pathogenesis and treatment Mechanistically, oxidative phosphorylation and conse- regions of the same tumor. Recently, a number of experi- quently intracellular ATP levels decrease due to exten- mental studies have shown that key glioma-relevant sive cytochrome c release and mitochondrial dysfunc- mutations—including those in the PTEN, EGFR, and tion, rendering cells unable to maintain ion homeostasis CMYC genes—may act as an “angiogenic switch” by sta- and provoking cellular edema, dissolution of organelles, bilizing HIF-1 or one of its downstream targets, VEGF and plasma membranes (for review, see Nicotera and (Watnick et al. 2003; Blum et al. 2005; Phung et al. 2006; Melino 2004). That apoptosis and necrosis signaling Shchors et al. 2006). The distinction between microvas- pathways are interconnected is evidenced by the ability cular proliferation being an adaptive response to hypoxia of enforced Bcl2L12 expression to provoke necrotic cell or it being an epiphenomenon of critical genetic muta- morphology, as evidenced by substantial plasma mem- tions that also activate a cascade of proangiogenesis brane disintegration and enhanced nuclear and subcellu- pathways has clinical and therapeutic importance. lar organelle swelling in apoptosis-primed astrocytes Another issue is the functional consequences of tumor angiogenesis, with respect to tissue perfusion (Vogel et (Stegh et al. 2007). Therefore, up-regulation of Bcl2L12 as a novel regulator of the apoptosis/necrosis balance in al. 2004). Tumor microvessels are highly tortuous with glial cells may represent an important event in malig- sluggish flow and diminished gradient for oxygen deliv- nant glioma pathogenesis. ery and increasing susceptibility to thrombosis and mi- crohemorrhages (Kaur et al. 2004). Thus, the GBM mi- crovasculature proliferation may provide little support Angiogenesis in oxygen/nutrient delivery but rather paradoxically con- GBMs are among the most highly vascular of all solid tribute to further exacerbating a metabolic mismatch be- tumors. Microvascular hyperplasia, the defining histo- tween the “supply and demand,” leading to progressive pathological phenotype of both primary and secondary hypoxia and eventually necrosis. This scenario is sup- GBM, consists of proliferating endothelial cells that ported by the recent experience with anti-angiogenesis emerge from normal parent microvessels as tufted mi- drugs, where their limited clinical benefit seems to be croaggregates (glomeruloid bodies) accompanied by stro- the result of “pruning” immature vessel growth and al- mal elements, including pericytes and basal lamina lowing “normalization” of the pre-existing vasculature (Stiver et al. 2004). Microvascular density, a measure of (see below; Horsman and Siemann 2006). In addition to microvascular proliferation, is an independent prognos- the poor vascular architecture, endothelial cells associ- tic factor for adult gliomas (Leon et al. 1996; Birlik et al. ated with the tumor vasculature fail to form tight junc- 2006). The idea that angiogenesis is rate limiting for tu- tions and have few associated pericytes or astrocytic foot mor growth, and therefore a rational therapeutic target, processes leaving the integrity of the BBB compromised, is strongly supported by animal studies that have shown resulting in increased interstitial edema. Interstitial that angiogenesis is vital for macroscopic solid tumor edema may further compromise regional blood flow and growth (Folkman 2007). exacerbate tumor hypoxia leading to areas of necrosis. In One common feature in the transition from low-grade addition to these maladapted biophysical properties of or anaplastic astrocytomas to secondary GBM is a dra- GBM microvasculature, specific genetic mutations in matic increase in microvascular proliferation. An GBM likely contribute to compromised tumor bioener- equivalently robust microvasculature proliferation phe- getics, specifically the shift in energy reduction from oxi- notype is observed in primary GBM. Since there are dative phosphorylation to glycolysis (Elstrom et al. 2004; marked genomic differences between primary and sec- Fantin et al. 2006). These interrelated mechanisms lead ondary GBM (Maher et al. 2006), it is likely that different to a level of metabolic demand that may exceed the abil- genetic programs converge on a final common angiogen- ity of the cerebrovascular system to maintain adequate esis pathway involving HIF and non-HIF-dependent blood flow to prevent hypoxia and necrosis. The histo- downstream effectors that include positive (VEGF, logical evidence of thrombosis and degenerating vessels PDGF, bFGF,IL-8, SDF-1) and negative (thrombospon- with microhemorrhages are a common feature of GBM din1, thrombospondin2, endostatin, tumstatin, interfer- and likely reflect these biological processes. ons) regulators of this process (Nyberg et al. 2005). A comprehensive understanding of the molecular mecha- Anti-angiogenesis therapies The hypothesis that inter- nisms driving angiogenesis in GBM will be necessary for ruption of blood supply to the tumor will lead to regres- the rational development and deployment of anti-angio- sion or dormancy of the tumor has led to the develop- genesis therapies. Increasingly, it is becoming evident ment of several drugs that target multiple steps in an- that tumor-associated angiogenesis is not simply a giogenesis (Table 1; Fig. 2). Currently three approaches physiological adaptation to hypoxia as a result of an in- are in advanced stages of clinical testing that aim to tar- get VEGF/VEGFR signaling pathways: (1) monoclonal creasing tumor cell mass. Rather it appears to be the result of critical genetic mutations that activate a tran- antibodies directed against VEGF or its receptor(s) (Win- scriptional program for angiogenesis with local tumor kler et al. 2004; Vredenburgh et al. 2007), (2) small mol- oxygen status further modifying this response. The rela- ecule inhibitors of VEGFR-2 tyrosine kinase activity tive contributions of these two mechanisms are not yet (Batchelor et al. 2007), and (3) soluble decoy receptors fully defined, but it is likely that both may operate to created from VEFGR1 receptor that selectively inhibits different extents in different tumors or even in different VEGF (Folkman 2007). A fourth approach targeting V3 GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2693 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Furnari et al. and V5 integrin receptors on endothelial cells (Nabors radation of ECM and active cell movement. These pro- et al. 2007) is also in early clinical trials as an anti-an- cesses bear a striking resemblance to the robust inherent giogenesis therapy in GBM. migration potential of glial cells during embryogenesis Clinical studies, in which anti-angiogenesis drugs (Hatten 1999). have been used as “single” agents to treat GBM, have The most frequent route of invasion of glial tumor shown little efficacy. This may reflect the fact that these cells is along white matter tracts and basement mem- drugs have no direct effect on the pre-existing stable mi- branes of blood vessels. Whether this route offers a path crovasculature that may be co-opted to support tumor of least resistance or there are biochemical substrates growth especially at the infiltrating tumor edge. Recent that mediate adhesion and promote migration, or both, is data, however, suggest that anti-angiogenesis drugs may unclear. Invasion and migration of glial tumors differs be more effective when combined with cytotoxic from other tumors where local spread is very limited and therapy (Table 1). Recently a single-arm phase II study of dissemination occurs hematogenously or via the lym- phatic system. In fact, glioma cells lack the ability to bevacizumab (Avastin; Genetech, Inc.) (Vredenburgh et al. 2007), a recombinant, humanized monoclonal anti- penetrate the basement membrane of blood vessels body targeting VEGF, plus irinotecan (CPT-11) in pa- (Bernstein and Woodard 1995), and cells gaining access to tients with recurrent high-grade gliomas reported dra- the blood through a disrupted blood vessel within the matic rates (63%) of radiographic response and a near tumor are unable to establish robust tumor growth out- doubling of 6 mo and median progression free survival side the CNS. The molecular basis for this curious in- (PFS) in the patients with GBM (30% and 20 wk, com- ability of glioma cells to metastasize outside of the CNS pared with historical controls of 15% and 9 wk). The is not known and warrants further investigation. therapeutic benefits in the setting of combination Several genes involved in glioma invasiveness have therapy (radiation and/or conventional chemotherapy) been identified and include members of the family of could be attributed to (1) improved drug delivery because metalloproteases (MMP) and their endogenous tissue in- of improved vascular flow, (2) improved drug penetration hibitors (TIMPs). Expression of MMP-2 and, to a lesser into the tumor because of reduced interstitial pressure, extent, MMP-9 correlate with invasiveness, proliferation and/or (3) improved radiation/chemotherapy response as and prognosis in astrocytomas (M. Wang et al. 2003). a result of reducing tumor hypoxia. Hypoxia is well Other non-MMP proteases, including urokinase-type known to create radiation resistance and reduce efficacy plasminogen activator (uPA) (Landau et al. 1994; Yama- of chemotherapies (Semenza 2003). Overall, the early moto et al. 1994a,b) and cysteine proteases (e.g., cathep- clinical data for the anti-angiogenic drugs when used in sin B) (McCormick 1993), are elevated in high-grade ma- combination with radiation or conventional chemo- lignant gliomas (for review, see Uhm et al. 1997). Despite therapies is encouraging. The possibility that anti-angio- these findings, the role of proteases in glioma invasion genic drugs may enhance intratumoral concentration of remains unclear since low-grade astrocytomas infiltrate conventional chemotherapeutics raises the intriguing diffusely throughout the brain, despite relatively normal possibility that these drugs may improve the efficacy levels of the proteases. profile of some of the currently available drugs. A pos- Integrins, especially V3 complexes, are elevated in sible mechanism for such synergy could be enhanced GBM and appear to be relevant to processes of glioma drug delivery, although off-target drug effects and/or invasion and angiogenesis (Kanamori et al. 2004). Several poorly understood pharmacological mechanisms remain studies have also reported potential novel glioma inva- possibilities. The full benefit of anti-angiogenesis will sion genes. Invasion inhibitory protein 45 (IIp45), a po- derive from an improved understanding of the molecular tential tumor suppressor gene on chromosome 1p36, is basis of tumor angiogenesis process, how tumor cell me- frequently down-regulated in GBMs. Its product inhibits tabolism drives angiogenesis versus cooptation of nor- invasion through the binding of IGFBP2 (S.W. Song et al. mal brain microvascular networks, and definition of 2003). In contrast, IGFBP2 promotes invasion in GBM by those patients that are likely to benefit from various up-regulating a panel of genes involved in invasion, one types of anti-angiogenic therapies operating on different of which is MMP-2 (H. Wang et al. 2003). Other proteins levels of the process. are overexpressed in invasive areas of GBM, such as an- giopoietin-2, which in addition to its involvement in an- giogenesis also plays a role in inducing tumor cell infil- Tumor cell invasion tration by activating MMP-2 (Hu et al. 2003). Ephrin re- Infiltration throughout the brain is prominent feature of ceptors and their ligands, the ephrins, mediate low- and high-grade malignant glioma (Lefranc et al. neurodevelopmental processes such as axon guidance 2005) and is the principal basis for the lack of surgical and cell migration and in glioma have been shown to regulate migration and invasion. Compared with low- cure. In >90% of cases, the recurrent tumor develops immediately adjacent to the resection margin or within grade astrocytoma or normal brain, GBMs, in particular several centimeters of the resection cavity. Invasion by the migratory tumor cells, overexpress EphB2 (Hu et al. glioma cells into regions of normal brain is driven by a 2003). Intriguingly, EphA2 overexpression has been multifactorial process involving cell interactions with linked to poor survival in GBM (Liu et al. 2006). the ECM and with adjacent cells, as well as accompany- Other novel invasion- and migration-associated genes ing biochemical processes supportive of proteolytic deg- have been identified using oligonucleotide microarray 2694 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Glioma pathogenesis and treatment technology (Demuth and Berens 2004; Tatenhorst et al. (gNMF), showed that primary and secondary GBMs seg- 2004) on RNA isolated by laser-captured microdissection regate distinctly into two classes, and that secondary of cryostat sections from human glioma biopsy tumor GBM can be further stratified into two subgroups with cores and invasive edges. These genes include P311, a different times to progression from low-grade to second- 68-amino-acid polypeptide that has been described in ary GBM (Maher et al. 2006). Some of the recurrent ge- embryonic neuronal migration (Studler et al. 1993); nomic alterations have been shown to be prognostic— death-associated protein 3 (DAP3), which has been loss of 6q or 10q or gain of 19q is associated with shorter shown to confer protection from Fas-induced, ionizing survival, while loss of 19q tracks with long-term survival radiation-induced, and streptonigrin-induced cell death (>3 yr) (Burton et al. 2002). Current efforts are now di- (Kissil et al. 1999); and FN14, which encodes a cell sur- rected toward identifying the clinically relevant genes face receptor for the tumor necrosis factor superfamily residing in these loci—efforts strongly motivated by the member named TWEAK, all of which have functionally discovery of molecular signatures of drug response in the clinic (Haas-Kogan et al. 2005; Hegi et al. 2005; Melling- been shown to modulate glioma cell migration and apo- ptosis (Taylor et al. 2000; Mariani et al. 2001; Wiley and hoff et al. 2005). Winkles 2003). Transcriptional profiling Gene expression profiling has Since migrating glioma cells show increased levels of proven to be a highly effective method to obtain global phosphorylated Akt, PI3K inhibitors have been tested signatures reflecting the biological state of the tumor experimentally on these cells, resulting in a decrease in and underlying pathogenic mechanisms and providing migration and an increase in apoptosis sensitivity (Joy et markers for use in diagnosis and clinical management. al. 2003). In conjunction with this, PTEN mutation has Initial applications of transcriptional profiling to GBM been implicated in an invasive phenotype, not only as confirmed that defined gene signatures could be used to contributing to deregulated PI3K signaling but also in its classify different histological grades (Rickman et al. ability to stabilize E-cadherin and modulate cell matrix 2001; Godard et al. 2003; van den Boom et al. 2003). adhesion complexes (Kotelevets et al. 2001). These find- Indeed, among nonclassical lesions, classification by ings highlight the multitude of ways that gliomagenic gene expression signatures more accurately predicted lesions effect a broad spectrum of the tumor phenotypes survival than standard pathological evaluation (Nutt et ranging from aberrant cell proliferation to invasion and al. 2003). More recently, even among histologically in- resistance to apoptosis. distinguishable GBMs, expression profiling was able to classify GBM into subgroups with different overall sur- vival. Although further validation studies are needed to Frontiers in glioma research and therapy confirm that these signatures can be used prospectively, Genomic profiles of GBM these studies suggest that gene expression profiling rep- resents a useful approach in classifying categorize GBM Copy number analysis Comparative genomic hybrid- (Liang et al. 2005). ization (CGH) analysis of astrocytic tumors has revealed In addition, given the observed intratumoral heteroge- numerous recurrent copy number alterations (CNAs), neity in GBM, these studies have provided important pointing to the existence of many additional oncogenes biological insights into the pathogenesis of GBM. When or tumor suppressor genes beyond the handful of classi- histologically distinct lesions from the same patient cal GBM mutation targets described in the previous sec- were compared, the gene signatures from these lesions tions. Conventional and array-based CGH (aCGH) pro- more closely resembled each other than lesions from filing have cataloged the multitude of recurrent CNAs, other patients, suggesting that they arise from a common including gains/amplifications of 1p34-36, 1q32, 3q26- precursor and share a common molecular life history (Li- 28, 5q, 7q31, 8q24, 11q, 12q13, 13q, 15p15, 17q22-25, ang et al. 2005). Such analyses have implicated angiogen- 19q, 20p, and 20q and losses/deletions of 3q25-26, 4q, esis, immune cell infiltration, and extracellular remod- 6q26-27, 9p, 10p, 10q, 11p, 11q, 12q22, 13q, 14q13, eling as drivers of differences between tumor subtypes 14q23-31, 15q13-21, 17p11-13, 18q22-23, 19q, and 22q (Godard et al. 2003; Liang et al. 2005). In a few cases, (Reifenberger et al. 1994; Nishizaki et al. 2000; Hui et al. these studies have facilitated the identification of spe- 2001; Burton et al. 2002; Nutt et al. 2003; Misra et al. cific genes that predict survival, such as FABP7, DLL, 2005; Nigro et al. 2005; Phillips et al. 2006). These high- and ASPM (Liang et al. 2005; Horvath et al. 2006; Phil- resolution studies also revealed new molecular markers lips et al. 2006) and permit one to predict the clinical of glioma that complement and extend histological (as- response to EGFR kinase inhibitors (Haas-Kogan et al. trocytoma, oligodendroglioma, and GBM) (Kotliarov et 2005; Mellinghoff et al. 2005). These studies suggest that al. 2006) and tumor grade classifiers (Nishizaki et al. further characterization, validation, and application of 2000). This is particularly evident for primary and sec- this technology will provide improved metrics for prog- ondary GBMs, which are histopathologically indistin- nostication and choice of therapy. guishable yet show dramatically different patterns with the majority of recurrent CNAs being unique, rather Current status of targeted therapy in GBM than overlapping between the two entities. Analysis of these patterns using an unsupervised classification algo- While surgery remains the primary intervention, several rithm, termed genomic nonnegative matrix factorization early-phase clinical trials of targeted therapies in high- GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2695 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Furnari et al. grade glioma have been completed or are underway ei- cated by variable EGFR inhibition in tumors treated by ther singly or in combination with standard chemo- erlotinib and gefitinib, as measured by abundance of therapy and/or radiation therapy (for a detailed review, phosphorylated EGFR, Akt, and Erk (Lassman et al. see Sathornsumetee et al. 2007 and references therein). A 2005). Phase II single-agent trials for inhibitors of listing of such agents is presented in Table 1 (compiled PDGFR (imatinib), RAS (tipifarnib), and mTor (temsiro- from http://www.clinicaltrials.gov). The compendium of limus) have shown minimal activity overall in GBM as GBM agents reflects the prevalence of alterations in well, although further analysis of tumor material and EGFR, such as the EGFRvIII deletion mutation (Scott et clinical parameters from sporadic responders may indi- al. 2007) and PDGF signaling and modulators of PI3K cate prognostic features (Chang et al. 2005; Galanis et al. signaling, as well as the prominence of biological pro- 2005; Cloughesy et al. 2006; Wen et al. 2006; Franceschi cesses such as angiogenesis and invasion. Clinical out- et al. 2007). VEGF/R inhibitors and multitarget tyrosine comes in these trials are often difficult to interpret and kinase inhibitors with anti-VEGFR potency are theoreti- cally attractive agents for attacking GBM, particularly in are best considered in the context of standard therapy. The mainstay of initial treatment for GBM has changed combination with therapies that have direct tumor cy- little over the last 25 yr and is based primarily on exter- totoxicity. A recent trial of AZD2171, a multikinase in- nal beam radiation delivered conformally to the tumor hibitor with pan-VEGFR, c-Kit, and PDGFR selectivity, volume, now commonly determined by both MRI con- demonstrated primary effects of tumor vasculature “nor- trast-enhancement and surrounding T2 signal hyperin- malization”: namely, a reduction in contrast-enhancing tensity (Walker et al. 1978, 1980). In conjunction with tumor volume and surrounding edema that Batchelor et surgery and medical management, radiation therapy al. (2007) were able to link to vessel pruning and recon- doubles median survival to 12 mo and extends 2-yr sur- stitution of the blood-brain barrier through analysis of vival to 10%, with little added benefit from conventional perfusion MRI and model systems. It remains to be seen chemotherapies (Shapiro et al. 1989; Fine et al. 1993; whether these potent effects on tumor vasculature may DeAngelis et al. 1998; Stewart 2002). More recently, a be vividly improving the patient’s MRI without impact- notable randomized prospective study demonstrated the ing progression of the underlying tumor. Nonetheless, first clear survival benefit for chemotherapy in the treat- VEGF inhibition is likely to have a useful role in com- ment of GBM: The oral alkylating agent temozolomide bination therapy (Vredenburgh et al. 2007). While tar- (TMZ), given concurrently with radiation and continued geted inhibitors have shown little durable effect as thereafter, was found to extend median survival to 15 mo monotherapies, their specificity and generally modest and 2-yr survival to 26% (Stupp et al. 2005). Supporting side effect profiles facilitate combination together and the concept of molecularly informed clinical manage- with conventional cytotoxic agents. Table 1 lists cur- ment, further analysis revealed that the survival benefit rently active clinical trials investigating combined thera- was largely restricted to those patients whose tumors pies. Although there is reason to believe that certain showed epigenetic silencing of the DNA repair gene combinations will be effective in certain patients, the MGMT: Median survival was extended to nearly 2 yr added complexity presents a challenge to clinical trial when MGMT was methylated, whereas little benefit was design, patient stratification and logistics. seen in patients with tumors expressing MGMT (Hegi et al. 2005). It is tempting to speculate that MGMT-medi- Evidence for glioma origins ated DNA repair may itself be considered a potentially valuable therapeutic target for the 50% of patients that There is growing evidence that only a minor population express the MGMT gene (Hegi et al. 2006). of cells in solid tumors, including primary brain tumors Clinical trials of single-agent-targeted therapies typi- (GBM, medulloblastoma, and ependymoma), are capable cally recruit from the molecularly heterogeneous group of forming a tumor when orthotopically transplanted of patients who have tumor relapse following radiation into an immunocompromised mouse (Singh et al. 2004). and other therapies. The difficulties in interpreting out- The concept of the brain CSC (Reya et al. 2001) is based comes, whether radiographic response to treatment or on the observation that only a small fraction of primary overall survival, are well documented (Grant et al. 1997). leukemic (AML) cells are capable of initiating and sus- Several studies have established the validity of 6-mo pro- taining clonogenic growth and inducing leukemia in im- gression-free survival (PFS6), determined radiographi- munocompromised mice (Lapidot et al. 1994; Bonnet cally, as a meaningful endpoint in defining response to and Dick 1997). Importantly, these leukemic subclones + − treatment: A PFS6 of 15% or less has been estimated as shared the same cell surface markers (CD43 , CD38 )as a benchmark for inactive therapy (Wong et al. 1999; Ball- “normal” human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), man et al. 2007). In comparison, TMZ given at first re- while the progeny of these leukemic clones, the blast currence in GBM yields a PFS6 of 21% (Yung et al. 2000). cells, often expressed more differentiated lymphoid or In this challenging patient group, the initial results of myeloid lineage markers and were not capable of produc- the EGFR inhibitors erlotinib and gefitinib in single- ing leukemic disease. At present it is unclear whether agent trials have shown little activity overall, although a the CSC derives from a normal stem cell compartment modest response may be seen in the subset of patients or from a more differentiated progenitor that dedifferen- with intact PTEN (Prados et al. 2003; Rich et al. 2004; tiates into a stem cell-like state is not yet clear. The Mellinghoff et al. 2005). Interpretation may be compli- identification of the “cell of origin” remains an area of 2696 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Glioma pathogenesis and treatment active research for both hematological malignancies produced viable neurosphere cultures. They also re- (Passegue et al. 2003) and solid tumors (Al-Hajj et al. ported that for four out of 11 primary GBM tumors, 2003; Singh et al. 2004; Sanai et al. 2005; Taylor et al. CD133 cells grew as an adherent monolayer yet were 2005; Patrawala et al. 2006; Li et al. 2007; O’Brien et al. able to produce orthotopic tumors. Similarly, CD133 2007; Prince et al. 2007). primary GBM tumor cells, maintained as an adherent The CSC hypothesis was independently proposed for monolayer by addition of serum to stem cell culture me- GBM (Singh et al. 2003) and pediatric gliomas (Hemmati dia, were also able to produce highly infiltrative ortho- et al. 2003). There were two critical findings from these topic tumors (Sakariassen et al. 2006). These data suggest studies. First, only a minor population of cells identified that even brief ex vivo manipulations may alter the mo- in cell cultures, from a variety of primary CNS tumors lecular and phenotypic properties of freshly isolated tu- (including GBM, medulloblastoma, ganglioglioma, epen- mor cells, may complicate the conclusions that can be dymoma, and pilocytic astrocytomas) was able to self- drawn from these sorts of experiments, and point at the renew and form clonogenic neurospheres. These self-re- need for studies using directly isolated tumor cells from newing brain tumor cells were identified (Singh et al. fresh specimens and immediate implantation into im- 2003) by the expression of the cell surface marker, munocompromised mice. While the GBM-stem cell idea CD133 (1%–35% of total population). In contrast, the is in its infancy and many questions remain, its potential CD133 population failed to proliferate and remained as for our understanding of tumor development and therapy an adherent monolayer and expressed mature lineage- design and selection is exciting indeed. specific markers. Second, CD133 tumor neurospheres Genetically engineered models of glioma under NSC culture conditions expressed the stem cell marker Nestin and, upon exposure to serum, differenti- There is little debate of the importance of murine mod- ated into a mixed population of neurons (Tuj1 ), astro- els in advancing our understanding of the complex biol- + + cytes (GFAP ), and oligodendrocytes (PDGFR ), which ogy of gliomas. Various types of in vivo model systems mirrored the mixed cell types found in the original pa- have been developed and utilized, including traditional tient’s tumor. These observations provide support for a orthotopic xenotransplants with established human hierarchical CSC hypothesis, suggesting that only glioma cell lines and, more recently, with primary hu- CD133 brain tumor cells can self-renew and undergo man glioma cells enriched for surface expression of lineage-specific differentiation. CD133 (Singh et al. 2004). There is great interest in the Subsequently, substantial enrichment of the tumor- further development of the CD133 primary tumor model forming ability of FACS-sorted CD133 cells (as few as system as this appears to be superior in recapitulating 100 implanted cells were able to produce orthotopic tu- well the diffuse infiltrative nature of the primary human mors) following in vitro expansion of these cells was re- disease. Whether the CD133 primary tumor system will ported (Singh et al. 2004). In contrast, CD133 cells failed prove to be a more accurate biological model or be more to form tumors, even following injection of a much predictive in drug testing than xenotransplant models larger cell innoculum (10 per injection). The orthotopic with established cell lines is an area of significant cur- tumors mirrored the original tumor heterogeneity, with rent investigation. + − CD133 cells forming a minor fraction and the CD133 In recent years, important advances have been made in cells failing to form tumors on serial transplantation. the construction of genetically engineered mouse (GEM) These data suggest that loss of CD133 expression reflects models harboring glioma-relevant mutations or combi- an “irreversible” loss of cellular ability to propagate a nations of mutations. In several cases, such GEMs pre- tumor. Whether CD133 cells are only important for tu- dictably develop gliomas with many of the features of mor initiation and are less critical for tumor progression the human disease (Table 2; Weissenberger et al. 1997; will require a genetic strategy, similar to that used to Uhrbom et al. 1998; Kamijo et al. 1999; Holland et al. monitor skin stem cells in vivo using a doxycyline-in- 2000; Reilly et al. 2000; Dai et al. 2001; Ding et al. 2001, ducible H2B-eGFP reporter tag that enabled selection of 2003; Rich et al. 2001; Sonoda et al. 2001; Bachoo et al. CD133 cells over time (Tumbar et al. 2004). 2002; Uhrbom et al. 2002; Xiao et al. 2002; Weiss et al. There is now substantial evidence for the enrichment 2003; Holmen and Williams 2005; Zhu et al. 2005; Char- of in vivo cancer-forming ability of CD133 -expressing est et al. 2006; Tchougounova et al. 2007). Given the cells for GBM (Singh et al. 2004; Bao et al. 2006a; Pic- experimentally tractable nature of the mouse, these cirillo et al. 2006) and more recently in colon cancer glioma-prone GEM models are beginning to shed light on (O’Brien et al. 2007; Ricci-Vitiani et al. 2007). There are, a number of key issues such as, for example, the glioma however, a number of reports that suggest a less clear cell of origin (Zhu et al. 2005), the ordering of mutations + − distinction between the ability of CD133 and CD133 and whether such events underlie various glioma sub- cells to form orthotopic tumors (Bao et al. 2006b; Sakari- types (Hu et al. 2005), the cooperative and epistatic re- assen et al. 2006; Beier et al. 2007; Zheng et al. 2007). For lationship of such mutations, and the complex hetero- example, it has been reported recently (Beier et al. 2007) typic interactions between the evolving tumor cell and that CD133 cells isolated from primary GBM tumors the host microenvironment, among other issues central were equally capable of forming orthotopic tumors as the to the problem of gliomagenesis. With further refine- CD133 subpopulation, while under the same condi- ment, there is now increasing evidence that these GEM tions, none of the secondary GBM tumors (zero of seven) model systems will provide an additional vantage with GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2697 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Furnari et al. Table 2. Mouse and human models of gliomagenesis based on genetic alterations found in astrocytic glioma Tumor classification Genetic pathway/method Promoter Study Transgenic and Low-grade astrocytoma Ras/tg GFAP Ding et al. 2001 knockout GEMs Src/tg GFAP Weissenberger et al. 1997 Nf1 + p53/ko — Reilly et al. 2000 floxNf1 + p53/ko GFAP-Cre Zhu et al. 2005 Anaplastic astrocytoma Ras/tg GFAP Ding et al. 2001 Nf1 + p53/ko — Reilly et al. 2000 Src/tg GFAP Weissenberger et al. 1997 Rb/SV40 lg T PTEN/ko GFAP Xiao et al. 2002 floxNf1 + p53/ko GFAP-Cre Zhu et al. 2005 Glioblastoma Nf1 + p53/ko — Reilly et al. 2000 floxNf1 + p53/ko GFAP-Cre Zhu et al. 2005 FIG-ROS + Ink4aArf ko Ad-Cre Charest et al. 2006 Low-grade Arf/ko — Kamijo et al. 1999 oligodendroglioma v-erbB/tg S100 Weiss et al. 2003 Ras + EGFRvIII/tg GFAP Ding et al. 2003 High-grade v-erbB/tg + Inka/Arf ko S100 Weiss et al. 2003 oligodendroglioma RCAS virus Glioblastoma Ras + Akt Nestin Holland et al. 2000 Ink4aArf ko + Ras RCAS GFAP/Nestin Uhrbom et al. 2002 Low-grade PDGFB Nestin Dai et al. 2001 oligodendroglioma Ink4a, Arf, Ink4aArf ko GFAP/Nestin Tchougounova + PDGFB RCAS et al. 2007 Anaplastic Ink4aArf ko + PDGFB RCAS Nestin Dai et al. 2001 oligodendroglioma Ink4a, Arf, Ink4aArf ko GFAP/Nestin Tchougounova + PDGFB RCAS et al. 2007 Mixed oligoastrocytoma Ink4aArf ko + PDGFB RCAS GFAP Dai et al. 2001 Glioblastoma Tet-off KRAS + Akt Nestin Holmen and Williams 2005 Retroviral Glioblastoma PDGFB Mixed Uhrbom et al. 1998 Astrocyte and High-grade gliomas Inka/Arf ko/EGFRvIII retrovirus GFAP and Nestin Bachoo et al. 2002 NSC transgenesis NHA transformation Anaplastic astrocytoma hTERT, H-ras, HPV E6 and E7 — Sonoda et al. 2001 Anaplastic hTERT, H-ras, SV40 T/t-Ag — Rich et al. 2001 astrocytoma-glioblastoma Temporal and compartmental transgene expression in somatic cells was achieved by nestin and S100 (glioneuronal progenitor cells) and GFAP (differentiated astrocytes) promoters. In general, the cell of tumor origin in knockout GEMs is unknown. (GEMs) Geneti- cally engineered mice; (RCAS) replication-competent avian sarcoma-leukosis virus long terminal repeat (LTR) with a splice acceptor; (NHA) normal human astrocytes; (tg) transgene; (ko) knockout; (Nf1) neurofibromatosis 1; (floxNf1) LoxP-flanked Nf1 gene excised by Cre recombinase; (hTERT) human telomerase reverse transcriptase; (HPV E6 and E7) human papillomavirus oncoproteins; (SV40 T/t-Ag) simian virus 40 large and small T antigens; (Ad-Cre) adenovirus expressing Cre recombinase; (FIG-ROS) fused in glioblastoma- Ros oncogene. which to test the timing, dosing, and combination of opment. Although additional study is needed, it is drugs in the pipeline and assist in the development of widely anticipated that refined GEM models of glioma drug response biomarkers (Momota et al. 2005; Xiao et should enable the identification of tumor maintenance al. 2005). genes and the testing of agents targeting such mission Each of the GEM models in Table 2 offers distinct critical lesions, thereby identifying key targets, the best advantages and limitations for certain types of experi- agent, and the right patient population (i.e., genotype) mental inquiry. In particular, these models are ideal for (for review, see Sharpless and Depinho 2006). Thus, investigation of biological mechanisms underlying tu- GEM models may allow for culling of ineffective drugs morigenesis and for the functional validation of candi- and improved clinical trials design for those entering date genes identified through large-scale genomic analy- phase I/II clinical trials. In addition, the availability of sis of tumor specimens. The need for accurate models is refined GEM models that evolve through stages may perhaps most acute in preclinical testing, where experi- help define the tumor grade where an agent or combina- mental data often determine the fate of a drug in devel- tion of agents may be most effective. 2698 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Glioma pathogenesis and treatment While current efforts are focused on the development experimental models, now offer very real opportunities of GEMs harboring signature mutations in human for the development of effective targeted therapy. De- glioma, there remains a great utility for models engi- spite significant gaps in our understanding, a wealth of neered with nonstereotypical lesions that yet capture as- information now exists about the clinical and biological pects of human disease behavior and appearance, includ- behavior of the tumors, the genetic pathways involved in ing invasion, angiogenesis, necrosis, and tumor–ECM in- gliomagenesis, and the nature and role of signature al- teractions. Novel therapies developed to block these terations in these pathways. The challenge now is to biological pathways could be tested in such a model. integrate all of this knowledge in an interdisciplinary Similarly, a model that recapitulates the genetics but way to fully understand this disease and how its signa- lacks several of the clinical features of the tumor can be ture heterogeneity contributes to its intractability. For valuable. For example, a tumor driven by PDGF (Dai et example, the relatively poor response of GBM patients to al. 2001) could be used to study the downstream targets EGFR inhibitors, together with emerging data showing that those who do respond have specific genetic combi- and the biological consequences of neutralization of the pathway. Finally, inducible and conditional models are nations, suggests that a pathway targeting approach re- gaining popularity as ideal systems for the somatic acti- quires a more thorough understanding. Moreover, the vation of genes in specific cell populations and for the fact that even those patients who do respond to these assessment of genetic lesions in tumor progression and therapies eventually progress suggests that the evolution maintenance. of therapeutic resistance is a hallmark feature in their The recently developed glioma-prone GEM models effectiveness. This raises critical questions as to which have been notable for recapitulating most of the cardinal genetic alterations should be targeted as drivers of tumor histological features of the human disease. That said, a maintenance, which should be ignored because they are fully accurate genocopy and phenocopy of the human initially needed for tumor establishment, and which disease has yet to be developed in which the most com- drive the glioma stem cell niche, thus providing a reser- mon mutations are engineered, genome instability is voir from which such therapeutic resistant cells can rampant, and orthologous acquired events are docu- emerge (Bao et al. 2006a). These studies, along with new mented. Nevertheless, current models have provided im- data that will emerge from the TCGA initiative, will portant lessons for understanding the nature of gliomas: likely transform our understanding of genetics underly- (1) Loss of a single tumor suppressor gene or overexpres- ing GBM. sion of an oncogene is insufficient to induce high-grade To fully understand the relevance of this niche in driv- gliomas with high penetrance; (2) modifying mutations ing therapeutic resistance (Bao et al. 2006a), many criti- are important in gliomagenesis; (3) cell-of-origin and the cal questions remain to be answered, including whether mutations or set of mutations in such cells plays a sig- CD133 cells are equivalent to the actively proliferating nificant role in transformation; (4) dysregulating various tumor cells seen on routine histological analysis or rep- family members of a pathway or regulatory machinery resent a quiescent population that is activated by ex vivo may have similar biological consequences; and (5) the manipulations. It is also not yet clear whether there is a mutation or combination of mutations has stark effects prognostic correlation between CD133 and patient out- on a given state of differentiation. come, and if CD133 cells are selectively spared by ra- Thus, while further refinement is needed, these GEM diation and chemotherapeutic drugs. Finally, it is not models have afforded opportunities to better understand clear whether de novo CD133 cells are preferentially many enigmatic aspects of human glioma development found in the neurovascular niche, as was recently pro- and therapy. Given the wealth of new data anticipated posed based on in vitro studies (Calabrese et al. 2007). from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) (Hanauer et al. Beyond the stem cell issue is the emerging data noted 2007), for which GBM is one of the select cancer types to above regarding RTK coactivation that provides a ratio- be analyzed, a key challenge will be to assign the nal explanation for the feeble ability of RTK inhibitor plethora of newly discovered cancer-associated genetic monotherapy to effect durable clinical responses in GBM alterations with cancer relevance. Here, mouse models patients, in that the inhibition of a single RTK is insuf- can serve two key roles: First, they can be used in com- ficient to block signaling through critical growth and parative oncogenomics to identify loci/genes that are survival pathways (Huang et al. 2007; Stommel et al. commonly targeted in cancer development across evolu- 2007). This suggests that RTK profiling will be necessary tion, and second, they can serve as relevant model sys- to rationally determine an appropriate combination of tems to validate genes as well as determine whether new inhibitors that will achieve a significant clinical out- genes cooperate (or not) with specifically engineered mu- come. Thus, a systematic study of combination RTK tations—ultimately allowing for the placement of ge- therapies in cancers harboring specific RTK coexpression netic lesions into certain pathways and the testing of patterns represents an important next step in the design drugs targeting these activities. of new clinical trials, and the secondary analysis of such tumor samples will yield valuable insight into mecha- nisms of response and resistance. Because FDA-approved Future directions RTK inhibitors already exist and additional novel drugs The progress and depth of understanding of the biology are under development, this treatment paradigm may be and genetics of glioma, together with truly manipulable implemented in a relatively timely fashion for GBM and GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2699 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Furnari et al. Glioma stem cells promote radioresistance by preferential other cancers that are currently highly refractory to vir- activation of the DNA damage response. Nature 444: 756– tually all existing therapies. Our ability to isolate and culture neural and CSCs, Bao, S., Wu, Q., Sathornsumetee, S., Hao, Y., Li, Z., Hjelmeland, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes and the creation of A.B., Shi, Q., McLendon, R.E., Bigner, D.D., and Rich, J.N. faithful models of this disease coupled to enormous ad- 2006b. Stem cell-like glioma cells promote tumor angiogen- vances in genomic characterization of gliomas and ex- esis through vascular endothelial growth factor. Cancer Res. quisite functional validation of causative mutations of- 66: 7843–7848. fer the very real prospect of rapid and thorough preclini- Batchelor, T.T., Sorensen, A.G., di Tomaso, E., Zhang, W.T., cal testing of compounds and other agents to directly Duda, D.G., Cohen, K.S., Kozak, K.R., Cahill, D.P., Chen, answer these questions. By identifying the weaknesses of P.J., Zhu, M., et al. 2007. AZD2171, a pan-VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, normalizes tumor vasculature and the tumor, useful treatments for patients with these dev- alleviates edema in glioblastoma patients. Cancer Cell 11: astating diseases will become a reality. 83–95. Bayascas, J.R., Leslie, N.R., Parsons, R., Fleming, S., and Alessi, D.R. 2005. Hypomorphic mutation of PDK1 suppresses tu- Acknowledgments +/− morigenesis in PTEN mice. Curr. Biol. 15: 1839–1846. Beier, D., Hau, P., Proescholdt, M., Lohmeier, A., Wischhusen, This work was supported in part by Scholar Awards for cancer J., Oefner, P.J., Aigner, L., Brawanski, A., Bogdahn, U., and research from the Kimmel Foundation and the V Foundation (to + − Beier, C.P. 2007. CD133 and CD133 glioblastoma-derived F.B.F.), grants CA95616 (to W.K.C., R.M.B., F.B.F., L.C., and cancer stem cells show differential growth characteristics R.A.D.) and CA099041 (to L.C.) from the National Cancer In- and molecular profiles. Cancer Res. 67: 4010–4015. stitute, and a Fellow Award from the National Foundation for Bernstein, J.J. and Woodard, C.A. 1995. Glioblastoma cells do Cancer Research (to W.K.C.). R.A.D. is an American Cancer not intravasate into blood vessels. Neurosurgery 36: 124– Society Research Professor and an Ellison Medical Foundation Scholar and is supported by the Robert A. and Renee E. Belfer Foundation Institute for Innovative Cancer Science. 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Cancer Cell 8: 119–130. 2710 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Frank B. Furnari, Tim Fenton, Robert M. Bachoo, et al. Genes Dev. 2007, 21: Access the most recent version at doi:10.1101/gad.1596707 This article cites 303 articles, 139 of which can be accessed free at: References http://genesdev.cshlp.org/content/21/21/2683.full.html#ref-list-1 License Receive free email alerts when new articles cite this article - sign up in the box at the top Email Alerting right corner of the article or click here. Service Copyright © 2007, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Genes & Development Unpaywall

Malignant astrocytic glioma: genetics, biology, and paths to treatment

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Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press REVIEW Malignant astrocytic glioma: genetics, biology, and paths to treatment 1,2,3 1 4 1 5 Frank B. Furnari, Tim Fenton, Robert M. Bachoo, Akitake Mukasa, Jayne M. Stommel, 5 6,7,8 6,7,9 10 11 Alexander Stegh, William C. Hahn, Keith L. Ligon, David N. Louis, Cameron Brennan, 5,7,12 5,7,8,14 1,2,3,13,15 Lynda Chin, Ronald A. DePinho, and Webster K. Cavenee 1 2 Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA; Department of Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA; Cancer Center University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA; Department of Neurology and Department of Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, Texas 75390, USA; Center for Applied Cancer Science of the Belfer Institute for Innovative Cancer Science, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachussetts 02115, USA; Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachussetts 02115, USA; Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachussetts 02115, USA; Department of Medicine and Department of Genetics Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachussetts 02115, USA; Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachussetts 02115, USA; Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachussetts 02115, USA; Department of Neurosurgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute, New York, New York 10065, USA; Department of Dermatology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachussetts 02115, USA; Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA Malignant astrocytic gliomas such as glioblastoma are instability. As reflected in the old moniker “multi- the most common and lethal intracranial tumors. These forme,” GBM presents with significant intratumoral het- cancers exhibit a relentless malignant progression char- erogeneity on the cytopathological, transcriptional, and acterized by widespread invasion throughout the brain, genomic levels. This complexity, combined with a puta- resistance to traditional and newer targeted therapeutic tive cancer stem cell (CSC) subpopulation and an incom- approaches, destruction of normal brain tissue, and cer- plete atlas of (epi)genetic lesions driving GBM pathogen- tain death. The recent confluence of advances in stem esis, has conspired to make this cancer one of the most cell biology, cell signaling, genome and computational difficult to understand and to treat. Despite implemen- science and genetic model systems have revolutionized tation of intensive therapeutic strategies and supportive our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the ge- care, the median survival of GBM has remained at 12 mo netics, biology and clinical behavior of glioblastoma. over the past decade. This progress is fueling new opportunities for under- In this review, we summarize current basic and trans- standing the fundamental basis for development of this lational challenges and highlight the striking scientific devastating disease and also novel therapies that, for the advances that promise to improve the clinical course of first time, portend meaningful clinical responses. this lethal disease. These advances include a more com- prehensive view of the altered genes and pathways in glioma and how such alterations drive the hallmark Malignant gliomas are classified and subtyped on the pathobiological features of the disease, the identification basis of histopathological features and clinical presenta- of new molecular subtypes in GBM, an improved under- tion (Fig. 1). The most common and biologically aggres- standing of the cellular origins of the disease and how sive of these is glioblastoma (GBM), World Health Orga- CSCs may influence therapeutic responses, refined nization (WHO) grade IV, and is defined by the hallmark model systems for use in research and preclinical experi- features of uncontrolled cellular proliferation, diffuse in- mental therapeutics, and novel therapeutic strategies for filtration, propensity for necrosis, robust angiogenesis, targeting keystone genetic lesions and their pathways. intense resistance to apoptosis, and rampant genomic For reasons of length, we have not discussed the ad- vances in such important areas as tumor immunology, the blood-brain barrier, and tumor imaging. For the first [Keywords: Glioma; glioblastoma; neural stem cells; cancer stem cells; time, there is a strong sentiment that meaningful thera- tyrosine kinase inhibitor; genetically engineered models] Corresponding authors. peutic advances will soon flow from this explosion of E-MAIL ron_depinho@dfci.harvard.edu; FAX (617) 632-6069. new molecular and biological knowledge; the remark- E-MAIL wcavenee@ucsd.edu; FAX (858) 534-7750. Article is online at http://www.genesdev.org/cgi/doi/10.1101/gad.1596707. able technological advances in genomics, proteomics, GENES & DEVELOPMENT 21:2683–2710 © 2007 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press ISSN 0890-9369/07; www.genesdev.org 2683 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Furnari et al. Figure 1. Chromosomal and genetic aberrations involved in the genesis of glioblastoma. Shown are the relationships between survival, pathobiology, and the molecular lesions that lead to the formation of primary (de novo) and secondary (progressive) glio- blastomas. Although histologically indistinguishable, these grade IV gliomas occur in different age groups and present distinct genetic alterations affecting similar molecular pathways. For example, inactivation of p53 function occurs due to direct mutation in progres- sive GBMs or INK4aARF mutation/decrease in expression or MDM2 amplification in de novo GBMs. Similarly, activation of the PI3K pathway is achieved by several cooperative mechanisms, including EGFR amplification and mutation as well as PTEN mutation, although underexpression of PTEN in the absence of mutation is frequently seen as well. See the text and Figure 2 for details on the molecular function of implicated genes. (OE) Overexpressed; (amp) amplified; (mut) mutated. and model systems; and the systematic and accurate de- vanced features of malignancy, including vascular pro- velopment of small molecule drugs, therapeutic antibod- liferation and necrosis, and as they are recalcitrant to ies, and the entirely new class of RNA interference radio/chemotherapy they are generally lethal within 12 (RNAi)-based agents. mo. This review focuses on tumors of the astrocytic se- ries, emphasizing grade IV GBM. On the basis of clinical presentation, GBMs have been Classification and grading of glioma further subdivided into the primary or secondary GBM The incidence of primary brain tumors worldwide is ap- subtypes. Primary GBMs account for the great majority proximately seven per 100,000 individuals per year, ac- of GBM cases in older patients, while secondary GBMs counting for ∼2% of primary tumors and 7% of the years are quite rare and tend to occur in patients below the age of life lost from cancer before the age of 70. The common of 45 yr. Primary GBM presents in an acute de novo gliomas affecting the cerebral hemispheres of adults are manner with no evidence of a prior symptoms or ante- termed “diffuse” gliomas due to their propensity to in- cedent lower grade pathology. In contrast, secondary filtrate, early and extensively, throughout the brain pa- GBM derives consistently from the progressive transfor- renchyma. These gliomas are classified histologically, mation of lower grade astrocytomas, with ∼70% of grade immunohistochemically, and/or ultrastructurally as as- II gliomas transforming into grade III/IV disease within trocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, or tumors with mor- 5–10 yr of diagnosis. Remarkably, despite their distinct phological features of both astrocytes and oligodendro- clinical histories, primary and secondary GBMs are mor- cytes, termed oligoastrocytomas. Tumors are then phologically and clinically indistinguishable as reflected graded on a WHO consensus-derived scale of I to IV ac- by an equally poor prognosis when adjusted for patient cording to their degree of malignancy as judged by vari- age. However, although these GBM subtypes achieve a ous histological features accompanied by genetic alter- common phenotypic endpoint, recent genomic profiles ations (Fig. 1; Louis et al. 2007). Grade I tumors are bio- have revealed strikingly different transcriptional pat- logically benign and can be cured if they can be terns and recurrent DNA copy number aberrations be- surgically resected; grade II tumors are low-grade malig- tween primary and secondary GBM as well as new dis- nancies that may follow long clinical courses, but early ease subclasses within each category (as discussed be- diffuse infiltration of the surrounding brain renders them low; Maher et al. 2006; Phillips et al. 2006). These incurable by surgery; grade III tumors exhibit increased molecular distinctions make obvious the need to change anaplasia and proliferation over grade II tumors and are the current standardized clinical management of these more rapidly fatal; grade IV tumors exhibit more ad- truly distinct diseases toward one of rational application 2684 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Glioma pathogenesis and treatment of targeted therapies to appropriate molecular sub- Tumor biological processes and known underlying classes. genetic alterations in astrocytic gliomas Immunohistochemical markers are important and rap- The classical genetic alterations in glioma target path- idly evolving tools in the classification and neuropatho- ways governing cellular proliferation, cellular survival logical diagnosis of malignant gliomas. Currently, the (apoptosis and necrosis), invasion, and angiogenesis. The most clinically useful and specific of these markers for following subsections cover these hallmark biological classification of gliomas are GFAP and OLIG2. GFAP is processes and their links to specific genetic aberrations universally expressed in astrocytic and ependymal tu- and associated signaling pathways (Figs. 1, 2). mors and only rarely in oligodendroglial lineage tumors. OLIG2, a more recently discovered stem/progenitor and Cell cycle dysregulation and enhanced glioma cell oligodendroglial marker, is CNS specific and is univer- proliferation sally and abundantly expressed in all diffuse gliomas, but is rarely expressed at such high levels in other types of Frequent mutations of cell cycle regulatory genes in gliomas and CNS malignancies (Ligon et al. 2004; Rous- glioma have underscored the importance of these genes seau et al. 2006). These markers thus serve as effective in cellular proliferation and senescence. The RB and p53 tools for unequivocal identification of gliomas and their pathways, which regulate the cell cycle primarily by gov- distinction from non-CNS tumors while aiding the pa- erning the G1-to-S-phase transition, are major targets of thologist in distinction of different glioma classes. inactivating mutations in GBM. The absence of these A recently expanded collection of novel markers has cell cycle guardians renders tumors particularly suscep- emerged from numerous avenues of research and holds tible to inappropriate cell division driven by constitu- potential to be deployed to improve classification and tively active mitogenic signaling effectors, such as phos- inform the potential clinical course of glioma patients. phoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) and mitogen-activated pro- Of particular interest are newly discovered stem and pro- tein kinase (MAPK). genitor cell markers that, once clinically validated, may aid in the differential diagnosis of these tumors as well as The Rb pathway In quiescent cells, hypophosphory- monitoring their responses to therapy. Intensive re- lated RB blocks proliferation by binding and sequestering search efforts are attempting to uncover agents that may the E2F family of transcription factors, which prevents target subpopulations of these cells with high tumori- the transactivation of genes essential for progression genic potential and increased resistance to current thera- through the cell cycle (Sherr and McCormick 2002). pies. Along these lines, the cell surface marker, CD133, Upon mitogenic stimulation, the activation of the and other markers of stem cells, such as Nestin and MAPK cascade leads to the induction of cyclin D1 and Musashi, have been shown to negatively correlate with its association with the cyclin-dependent kinases CDK4 outcome parameters. These newly discovered markers and CDK6, as well as the degradation of the CDK2/cyc- Kip1 suggest that pathologists will soon have at their disposal lin E inhibitor, p27 (Albanese et al. 1995; Lavoie et al. highly useful tools for improved clinical diagnosis and 1996; Aktas et al. 1997). These activated CDK complexes classification of gliomas. in turn phosphorylate RB, enabling E2F transactivation Immunohistochemical markers have also recently of its direct transcriptional targets governing S-phase en- been shown to aid in prediction of the clinical course for try and progression (Weinberg 1995; Frolov and Dyson certain classes of tumors. GBMs with intact expression 2004). of the PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted Gliomas circumvent RB-mediated cell cycle inhibi- on chromosome 10) and EGFRvIII proteins (for details, tion through any of several genetic alterations. The Rb1 see next section) correlated with increased epidermal gene, which maps to chromosome 13q14, is mutated in growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor response and ∼25% of high-grade astrocytomas and the loss of 13q progression-free survival compared with those tumors typifies the transition from low- to intermediate-grade expressing EGFRvIII but lacking PTEN (Mellinghoff et gliomas (James et al. 1988; Henson et al. 1994). More- al. 2005). Also, patients with EGFR protein expression, over, amplification of the CDK4 gene on chromosome mutant or wild-type, have been identified for the sake of 12q13-14 accounts for the functional inactivation of RB targeting EGFR therapy to the appropriate patient popu- in ∼15% high-grade gliomas, and CDK6 is also amplified lation. Furthermore, a powerful and widely used molecu- but at a lower frequency (Reifenberger et al. 1994; Cos- lar marker—combined loss of the short arm of chromo- tello et al. 1997). RB activity is also frequently lost some 1 and the long arm of chromosome 19—is already through the inactivation of a critical negative regulator Ink4a widely used in the management of oligodendroglial of both CDK4 and CDK6, p16 (Serrano et al. 1993). gliomas, but its role in the evaluation of astrocytic glio- This gene is one of two transcripts generated at the mas such as GBM is not yet well defined (Reifenberger CDKN2A locus on chromosome 9p21 (in addition to ARF and Louis 2003; Louis et al. 2007). With the wealth of p14 [alternate reading frame p14]; see below), which accumulating profiling and genomic data, an increase is predominantly inactivated by allelic loss or hyper- in confidence is merited that useful diagnostic, prognos- methylation in 50%–70% of high-grade gliomas and tic, and drug response biomarkers will be incorporated ∼90% of cultured glioma cell lines (Jen et al. 1994; into routine clinical management of GBM in the near Schmidt et al. 1994; Merlo et al. 1995; Costello et al. future. 1996; Fueyo et al. 1996). Consistent with its role as an GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2685 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Furnari et al. Figure 2. Genetic alterations characteristic of astrocytic glioma lead to aberrant activation of key pathways involved in mitogenic signaling and cell cycle control. Certain proto-oncogenes (shown in green) such as EGFR and PIK3CA (p110) are activated by mutation, while other growth-promoting genes (also green) are commonly overexpressed. Tumor suppressor genes that are either lost or inactivated by mutation are shown in red. Knowledge of glioma genetics has driven the development of therapeutic agents (listed in blue boxes) that specifically target these pathways—both those intrinsic to the tumor cells and those that impact on the surrounding endothelium and extracellular matrix to direct glioma angiogenesis and invasion. Direct signaling connections, such as post-trans- lational modification of target proteins, are shown in solid lines, while dashed lines represent indirect or uncharacterized interactions. The major mitogenic signaling modules downstream from RTKs (RAS-MAPK and PI3K-mTOR) and the cell cycle machinery are frequently dysregulated in glioma and are highlighted (see the text for details). (AKT) Murine thymoma viral oncogene homolog; (AMPK) AMP-dependent protein kinase; (c-src) sarcoma (Schmidt-Ruppin A-2) viral oncogene homolog; (ERK) extracellular signal- regulated kinase; (eIF4E) eukaryotic initiation factor 1; (4EBP1) eIF4E-binding protein 1; (HDAC) histone deacetylase; (mdm-2,4) murine double minute 2,4; (MEK) mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase; (mTOR) mammalian target of rapamycin; (p90RSK) p90 ribosomal protein S6 kinase; (PLC) phospholipase C; (pRb) retinoblastoma protein; (RAF1) v-raf1 murine leukemia viral oncogene homolog 1; (RAS) rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog; (REDD1) regulated in development and DNA damage responses; (RHEB) Ras homolog enriched in brain; (S6K1) p70 ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1; (TORC1,2) mTOR complex1,2. Ink4a important glioma tumor suppressor, p16 is also a The importance of the inactivation of the RB pathway in critical inhibitor of progenitor cell renewal in the sub- glioma progression is evidenced by the near-universal ventricular zone of aging mice (Molofsky et al. 2006). and mutually exclusive alteration of RB pathway ef- 2686 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Glioma pathogenesis and treatment fectors and inhibitors in both primary and secondary 1995; Montes de Oca Luna et al. 1995; Honda et al. 1997; GBM (Schmidt et al. 1994; Ueki et al. 1996). However, Fang et al. 2000; Honda and Yasuda 2000). Concordantly, numerous in vitro and in vivo assays have demonstrated the chromosomal region containing MDM2, 12q14-15, is that the neutralization of this pathway alone is insuffi- amplified in ∼10% of primary GBM, the majority of cient to abrogate cell cycle control to the extent needed which contain intact p53 (Reifenberger et al. 1994). The for cellular transformation, suggesting that other impor- discovery of the MDM2-related gene, MDM4 (chromo- tant cell cycle regulation pathways complement its ac- some 1q32), which inhibits p53 transcription and en- tivities in preventing gliomagenesis (Holland et al. hances the ubiquitin ligase activity of MDM2, prompted 1998a,b; Rich et al. 2001; Sonoda et al. 2001; Bachoo et the finding that the p53 pathway is also inactivated by al. 2002; Huang et al. 2002; Uhrbom et al. 2002, 2005; the amplification of MDM4 in 4% of GBM with neither Xiao et al. 2002). TP53 mutation nor MDM2 amplification (Shvarts et al. 1996; Riemenschneider et al. 1999; Gu et al. 2002; Lin- The p53 pathway The p53 tumor suppressor prevents ares et al. 2003). Additionally, the recently discovered the propagation of cells with unstable genomes, pre- tumor suppressor gene CHD5 (chromodomain helicase dominantly by halting the cell cycle in the G1 phase or DNA-binding domain 5), which maps to chromosome instigating a program of apoptosis or proliferative arrest 1p36 and is therefore frequently hemizygously deleted in (Vousden and Lu 2002). P53 achieves these ends prima- those human gliomas that have 1p loss, has been shown rily through its function as a transcription factor: Upon to maintain p53 levels by facilitating expression of Arf Arf being post-translationally modified by various genotoxic p19 (mouse p14 ortholog), and thus presents an ad- and cytotoxic stress-sensing agents, p53 is stabilized, ditional mechanism for inactivation of this critical path- then binds and transcriptionally regulates the promoters way (Bagchi et al. 2007). of >2500 potential effector genes (Hoh et al. 2002; Levine Mitogenic signaling pathways Many mitogens and et al. 2006). The best characterized of these effectors is their specific membrane receptors are present in overac- the transcriptional target CDNK1A, which encodes the tive form in gliomas. Proliferation of normal cells re- protein for the CDK2 inhibitor p21 (El-Deiry et al. 1993; quires activation of mitogenic signaling pathways Harper et al. 1993). Although this gene has not been through diffusible growth factor binding, cell–cell adhe- found to be genomically altered in gliomas, its expres- sion, and/or contact with extracellular matrix (ECM) sion is frequently abrogated by p53 functional inactivity components. These signals are transduced intracellu- as well as by mitogenic signaling through the PI3K and larly by transmembrane receptors that typically activate MAPK pathways. the PI3K and MAPK signaling pathways. In contrast, tu- The p53 pathway is nearly invariably altered in spo- mor cells acquire genomic alterations that greatly reduce radic gliomas: Loss of p53, through either point muta- their dependence on exogenous growth stimulation, en- tions that prevent DNA binding or loss of chromosome abling their inappropriate cell division, survival, and mo- 17p, is a frequent and early event in the pathological tility through the constitutive activation of these path- progression of secondary GBM (Louis 1994; Louis and ways. While gliomas overcome the normal impositions Cavenee 1997). The importance of p53 in gliomagenesis on the control of mitogenic signaling through multiple is also underscored by the increased incidence of gliomas mechanisms, activation of receptor tyrosine kinases in Li-Fraumeni syndrome, a familial cancer-predisposi- (RTKs), discussed in detail below, appears to be the pre- tion syndrome associated with germline p53 mutations dominant mechanism. (Malkin et al. 1990; Srivastava et al. 1990). This genetic linkage has been reinforced by a glioma-prone condition MAPK Proliferation signals can be transduced by the in mice engineered with a commonly observed Li-Frau- MAPK pathway by both integrins and RTKs. Integrins meni p53 mutation (Olive et al. 2004) as well as in are membrane-bound ECM receptors that mediate the ARF p19 -null mice, albeit at a low frequency (Kamijo et al. interaction between the ECM and the cytoskeleton. 1999). Upon adhesion to ECM, integrins bind cytoplasmic an- The finding that a second promoter drives an alterna- chor proteins that coordinate the binding of integrins to tively spliced transcript at the CDKN2A locus prompted actin filaments, thus creating a focal adhesion complex. the discovery of an additional tumor suppressor gene Multiple molecules of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) clus- that is inactivated at this locus (Quelle et al. 1995). The ter at these complexes and become activated by cross- ARF second protein encoded by CDKN2A, p14 , was sub- phosphorylation, whereupon FAK activates a signal sequently shown to be an important accessory to p53 transduction cascade that leads to extracellular signal- activation under conditions of oncogenic stress due to its regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation either through neutralization of the p53 ubiquitin ligase, MDM2 (Ka- activation of Ras by the recruitment of the adaptor pro- mijo et al. 1998; Pomerantz et al. 1998; Stott et al. 1998; tein Grb2 and the Ras guanine nucleotide exchange fac- Honda and Yasuda 1999), an oncogene originally discov- tor SOS to phospho-FAK at the plasma membrane, or ered amplified as double minute chromosomes in a spon- through Src-dependent phosphorylation of p130Cas taneously transformed murine cell line, and then later (Schlaepfer et al. 1994, 1997; Schlaepfer and Hunter found to be a key negative regulator of p53 during normal 1997). Ras-GTP in turn phosphorylates Raf kinase, development and in tumorigenesis (Fakharzadeh et al. which phosphorylates MEK, which phosphorylates ERK, 1991; Momand et al. 1992; Oliner et al. 1993; Jones et al. which enters the nucleus and phosphorylates nuclear GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2687 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Furnari et al. transcription factors that induce the expression of genes tumor suppressor that is inactivated in 50% of high- promoting cell cycle progression, such as cyclin D1. grade gliomas by mutations or epigenetic mechanisms, RTKs activate the MAPK pathway when activated by each resulting in uncontrolled PI3K signaling in these growth factor signaling, mutation, or overexpression. As tumors (Knobbe and Reifenberger 2003; Ohgaki et al. discussed in more detail below, RTK activation results 2004). In mouse models, brain-specific inactivation of in receptor dimerization and cross-phosphorylation, cre- PTEN caused overgrowth of the mouse brain and aber- ating binding sites for adaptor protein complexes such as rant proliferation of astrocytes both in vivo and in vitro Grb2/SOS, which in turn activates Ras. While constitu- (Fraser et al. 2004). An elegant mouse model of astrocy- tively activated, mutated forms of Ras are found in ∼50% toma has been developed in which the Rb family pro- of all human tumors, few Ras mutations have been teins are inactivated by GFAP-directed expression of found in gliomas. Despite this, high levels of active Ras- SV40 T antigen (Xiao et al. 2002). In this model system, GTP are found in advanced astrocytomas (Guha et al. PTEN inactivation was associated with increased angio- 1997), suggesting that a more relevant mechanism for genesis—a close parallel to the progression of high-grade MAPK-dependent mitogenic signaling in GBM is disease in humans coincident with loss of PTEN (Xiao et through inappropriate activation of RTKs and/or inte- al. 2002, 2005). While regulation of PI3K signaling is grins. critical to controlling cell growth and survival, a number of recent studies have pointed to additional levels at PI3K/PTEN/AKT The class I PI3Ks catalyze the which PTEN may act to suppress transformation and mitogen-stimulated phosphorylation of phosphatidyli- tumor progression. Differentiated and quiescent cells nositol-4,5-bisphosphate [PtdIns(4,5)P ] to produce harbor high levels of nuclear PTEN, which appears to PtdIns(3,4,5)P . This creates docking sites for a multi- fulfill important roles in the maintenance of genomic tude of signaling proteins containing domains capable of integrity, through centromere stabilization and promo- binding either to PtdIns(3,4,5)P itself or to the 5-dephos- tion of DNA repair (Shen et al. 2007). Importantly, a phorylated product, PtdIns(3,4)P (for reviews, see Van- number of PTEN point mutations found in familial can- haesebroeck et al. 2001; Hawkins et al. 2006). The class cer predisposition syndromes have no effect on enzyme IA PI3Ks are heterodimers that are recruited to activated activity but instead lie within sequences important for RTKs and adaptor proteins via their regulatory subunit, regulating PTEN localization. Analysis of such mutants of which there are five isoforms encoded by three genes: has confirmed that aberrant sequestration of PTEN into p85, p55, and p50 (PIK3R1); p85 (PIKR2); and p55 either the nucleus or the cytoplasm compromises its tu- (PIKR3). mor suppressor function (Denning et al. 2007; Trotman Since the regulatory subunits appear thus far to be et al. 2007). functionally equivalent, the class IA PI3Ks are currently Of the many signaling proteins that are recruited to defined by the catalytic isoform present: p110, p110, the membrane and activated by binding to and p110, encoded by the PIK3CA, PIK3CB, and PtdIns(3,4,5)P , the phosphoinositide-dependent kinase PIK3CD genes, respectively (Hawkins et al. 2006). Evi- (PDK1) and Akt/PKB (also the cellular homolog of a viral +/− dence for the importance of p110 in transformation de- oncoprotein), are required for tumorigenesis in PTEN −/− rives from the discovery of a vPIK3CA oncogene in avian mice and for growth of PTEN embryonic stem (ES) sarcoma virus with potent transforming activity in cells as tumors in nude mice (Stiles et al. 2002; Bayascas chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEFs) (Chang et al. 1997). et al. 2005; Chen et al. 2006). In response to PI3K acti- PIK3CA gain-of-function point mutants have been de- vation, PDK1 and the mammalian target of rapamycin tected in a variety of cancers, including malignant glio- (mTOR, acting in the rapamycin-insensitive TORC2 mas such as GBM, in which the frequency of mutation complex) activate Akt via phosphorylation of two key has been cited in some studies to be as high as 15% residues, T308 and S473, respectively (Mora et al. 2004; (Samuels et al. 2004; Gallia et al. 2006). Elevated expres- Sarbassov et al. 2005). Assessment of the phosphoryla- sion of the PIK3D gene has also been reported in GBM tion status of these residues is often the method of (Knobbe and Reifenberger 2003; S. Kang et al. 2006). choice for monitoring PI3K pathway activity in cell lines In addition to p85 binding, the p110 subunits can also and primary tumors, including GBM samples, 85% of be activated by binding to GTP-bound Ras (Rodriguez- which have been reported to display activated Akt (Wang Viciana et al. 1994, 1996). Recently, the study of knock- et al. 2004). In addition to aberrant PI3K signaling, there in mice bearing a p110 point mutant that is unable to are a number of other possible mechanisms by which bind Ras has revealed that this interaction is essential Akt activation may become dysregulated in GBM. both for normal development and for Ras-driven tumori- PHLPP (PH domain leucine-rich repeat protein phospha- genesis, as assessed both by transformation of mouse tase), which dephosphorylates S473, is expressed at very embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) by H-Ras and using a low levels in certain GBM cell lines, as is CTMP (C- mouse model of K-ras-induced lung adenocarcinomas terminal modulator protein), which binds to Akt and in- (Gupta et al. 2007). hibits its phosphorylation (Maira et al. 2001; Knobbe et The action of class I PI3K enzymes is directly antago- al. 2004; Gao et al. 2005). PIKE-A, a small GTPase highly nized by the PtdIns(3,4,5)P 3-phosphatase encoded by expressed in GBMs and glioma cell lines, binds directly the PTEN gene located at 10q23.3 (Li et al. 1997; Steck et to phosphorylated Akt and enhances its anti-apoptotic al. 1997; Maehama and Dixon 1998). PTEN is a major function (Ahn et al. 2004; Knobbe et al. 2005). 2688 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Glioma pathogenesis and treatment Akt phosphorylates many proteins involved in the ways can negate each other: p53 can inhibit activated regulation of cell growth, proliferation, metabolism, and FOXOs by inducing the expression of the kinase SGK1, apoptosis. A recent study on v-H-ras-induced transfor- which phosphorylates and exports FOXOs from the mation of MEFs and skin carcinogenesis indicates that nucleus (You et al. 2004). Conversely, FOXOs can inhibit activation of mTOR in the rapamycin-sensitive TORC1 p53 transcriptional activity by increasing its association complex via inhibition of the TSC2 tumor suppressor is with nuclear export receptors that translocate it to the a key pro-oncogenic function of Akt (Skeen et al. 2006). cytoplasm (You et al. 2006). The recent finding that Since mutant H-ras is seldom seen in human tumors, it Sprouty2, a gene involved in suppression of Ras signaling will be important to determine whether Akt/TSC/ during oncogene-induced senescence, is also a direct TORC1 signaling is similarly required downstream from transcriptional target of FoxO emphasizes the complex- glioma-relevant perturbations, such as EGFR mutation ity of cross-talk that exists between the Ras/MAPK and and overexpression and/or PTEN loss. Evidence that this PI3K pathways (Courtois-Cox et al. 2006; Paik et al. 2007). The complicated interplay among these critical may indeed be the case is provided by the efficacy of PI-103, a small molecule inhibitor of both p110 and molecules highlights the need for detailed dissection of mTOR, which potently blocks the growth of glioma cell the pathways that are aberrant in each tumor to accu- lines and of U87EGFRvIII xenografts following subcuta- rately guide the choice of combination therapies that can neous injection in nude mice, without discernable tox- simultaneously target multiple pathways. −/− icity to the animals (Fan et al. 2006). The use of TSC2 RTKs Gliomas may activate receptor-driven pathways cells, which display constitutive phosphorylation of the by different mechanisms: overexpression of both ligands TORC1 substrates S6K1 and 4E-BP1, revealed the exist- and receptors leading to an autocrine loop, genomic am- ence of a negative feedback loop, whereby inhibitory plification, and/or mutation of the receptor leading to phosphorylation of the insulin receptor substrate (IRS-1) constitutive activation in the absence of ligand. TheEGF by S6K1 causes a reduction in Akt activation (Harrington and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) pathways play et al. 2004; Shah et al. 2004; Riemenschneider et al. important roles in both CNS development and glioma- 2006; Shah and Hunter 2006). Treatment of glioma cells genesis, and targeted therapy against these potentially with TORC1-specific inhibitors, such as rapamycin, dis- critical signaling pathways is currently under vigorous rupts such feedback control, resulting in increased Akt basic and clinical investigation. activity (Fan et al. 2006). Dual inhibition of PI3K and TORC1 by PI-103 overcomes these problems and likely EGFR EGFR gene amplification occurs in ∼40% of all explains its increased efficacy. GBMs, and the amplified genes are frequently rearranged In addition, phosphorylation of the FOXO transcrip- (Libermann et al. 1984, 1985; Ekstrand et al. 1991; Wong tion factors by Akt, which promotes their exclusion et al. 1992; Louis et al. 2007). An EGFR mutant allele from the nucleus, reduces the expression of a number of with deletion of exons 2–7 (known variously as EGFR- important target genes, including the CDK inhibitors vIII, EGFR, or EGFR*) occurs in 20–30% of all human WAF1/CIP1 KIP1 p21 and p27 (both of which are also directly GBM (and in 50%–60% of those that have amplified targeted by Akt) and the RB family member p130 wild-type EGFR), making it the most common EGFR (Medema et al. 2000; Kops et al. 2002; Seoane et al. 2004). mutant (Sugawa et al. 1990; Frederick et al. 2000). Given the recent data illustrating context-specific ac- EGFRvIII is a highly validated glioma target as evidenced tions of FOXO on various targets in different cell types by the capacity of activated EGFR mutants to enhance and tissues, it may be prudent to validate these FOXO tumorigenic behavior of human GBM cells by reducing targets specifically in glioma (Paik et al. 2007). apoptosis and increasing proliferation (Nishikawa et al. 1994; Nagane et al. 1996; Huang et al. 1997; Narita et al. PI3K–MAPK–p53–RB pathway interactions While 2002) and to malignantly transform murine Ink4a/Arf- the PI3K, MAPK, p53, and RB pathways are often con- null neural stem cells (NSCs) or astrocytes in the mouse sidered as distinct entities, there is significant cross-talk brain (Holland et al. 1998a; Bachoo et al. 2002). Thus, among the pathways that serve to reinforce the inappro- EGFR has been a prime target for therapeutic inter- priate regulation of any single pathway perturbation. For vention in GBM with small molecule kinase inhibitors, example, because p53 enhances PTEN transcription and antibody-based immunotherapy and immunotoxins represses the expression of p110 (Stambolic et al. 2001; (Lorimer et al. 1995; Mishima et al. 2001; Nagane et al. Singh et al. 2002), the loss of p53 in cells with constitu- 2001; Jungbluth et al. 2003), and, more recently, small tively active RTK signaling can further potentiate PI3K interfering RNA (siRNA)-directed neutralization of ei- pathway activation. Therapies aimed at reactivating p53 ther wild-type EGFR or the unique junction present in in GBM may be compromised by MAPK and PI3K inter- the EGFRvIII allele (Fan and Weiss 2005; C.S. Kang et al. 2006). vention in the activity of p53 and its effectors. MAPK signaling activates c-myc, which binds the miz-1 tran- Transcriptional profiles of GBM with EGFR over- scriptional repressor to block p21 gene induction (Herold expression have revealed distinct gene expression pro- et al. 2002; Seoane et al. 2002), while Akt impacts on p53 files that have enabled classification of molecular sub- function by phosphorylation of Mdm2 (Zhou et al. 2001; groups among phenotypically undistinguishable tumors Shin et al. 2002; Feng et al. 2004) in addition to the direct (Mischel et al. 2003). Along similar lines, immunohisto- inhibition of p21 discussed earlier. Moreover, these path- chemical studies have demonstrated that GBM could be GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2689 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Furnari et al. stratified according to PI3K pathway activation status tricular zone have been shown to express PDGFR and and that these activation profiles are associated with PDGF could stimulate these NSCs to form glioma-like EGFRvIII expression and PTEN loss (Choe et al. 2003). lesions in the mouse (Jackson et al. 2006). Furthermore, Such efforts to stratify patients appear to be important in mice transgenic for neural progenitor PDGF-B expres- the optimal deployment of small molecule EGFR inhibi- sion resulted in the formation of oligodendrogliomas and tors as only a small fraction of GBM patients show forced elevation of PDGF-B levels increased overall tu- meaningful responses to such agents (Rich et al. 2004; mor incidence (Dai et al. 2001; Shih et al. 2004), sug- Lassman et al. 2005). Thus far, in responsive cases, pa- gesting that targeted therapy against this pathway could tients with coexpression of EGFRvIII (Mellinghoff et al. have therapeutic potential (Shih and Holland 2006). 2005) or wild-type EGFR (Haas-Kogan et al. 2005), to- To this end, an orally active kinase inhibitor of the gether with PTEN presence or low Akt activation levels 2-phenylaminopyrimidine class such as STI571 (ima- in their GBM cells, exhibited the most favorable out- tinib mesylate, Gleevec) has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of these oncogenic loops (Kilic et al. 2000; Hag- comes to EGFR inhibitors. In accordance with findings of multiple activated pathways in GBM, addition of the erstrand et al. 2006) and, when combined with hydroxy- mTOR inhibitor, rapamycin, has been shown to enhance urea in a phase II study, has been shown to achieve du- the sensitivity of PTEN-deficient tumor cells to the rable anti-tumor activity in some patients with recurrent EGFR kinase inhibitor, erlotinib (Fan et al. 2003; Goudar GBM (Reardon et al. 2005); in contrast, when used alone, et al. 2005; Wang et al. 2006). Consistent with enhanced imatinib has demonstrated minimal activity in malig- apoptosis resistance by EGFRvIII, activated EGFR has nant glioma (see below; Table 1; Wen et al. 2006). also been shown to confer radio- and chemo-resistance to RTK coactivation and cooperation One additional GBM cells (Nagane et al. 1998; Chakravarti et al. 2002). potential explanation for the failure of EGFR and PDGFR These experimental observations and the capacity of inhibitors to elicit significant clinical outcomes is that EGFR inhibitors or dominant-negative EGFR-CD533 to additional RTKs may cooperate to provide a signaling sensitize GBM cells to radiation and chemotherapeutic threshold that prevents the inhibition of mitogenic and agents (Nagane et al. 2001; Stea et al. 2003; Lammering survival signals through the inactivation of any single et al. 2004; Sarkaria et al. 2006) predict that disruption of RTK. This hypothesis is supported by recent work that EGFR function at the time of ionizing radiation and sub- demonstrates that multiple RTKs in addition to EGFR sequent chemotherapy, instead of at the time of recur- and PDGFR are activated simultaneously in primary rence, would improve therapeutic outcome (Nyati et al. GBM patient samples (Stommel et al. 2007), and onco- 2006). These results, coupled with the recent identifica- genic signaling, survival, and anchorage-independent tion of EGFR-activating ectodomain mutations in ∼14% growth were not fully abrogated until cell lines with en- of GBMs that convey sensitivity toward erlotinib (Lee et dogenous coactivation of RTKs were treated with phar- al. 2006), are beginning to detail tumor molecular pro- macological agents or siRNAs targeting at least three files and therapeutic regimens that will best benefit pa- different receptors. Importantly, these effects were ob- tients with EGF receptor and downstream pathway ge- served irrespective of PTEN status, indicating that the netic lesions. presence of this tumor suppressor may not be a critical determinant of therapeutic success as long as upstream PDGF receptor (PDGFR) In addition to the EGFR sig- signaling effectors are sufficiently inhibited. The discov- naling axis, PDGFR and its ligands, PDGF-A and ery of receptor coactivation or cooperation suggests that PDGF-B, are expressed in gliomas, particularly in high- tumor RTK profiling may be an important step in the grade tumors, while strong expression of PDGFR oc- development of a personalized GBM therapeutic regi- curs in proliferating endothelial cells in GBM (Herman- men. Another study (Huang et al. 2007) showed that son et al. 1992; Plate et al. 1992; Westermark et al. 1995; glioma cells engineered to overexpress EGFRvIII to lev- Di Rocco et al. 1998). PDGF-C and PDGF-D, which re- els observed in GBM caused increased c-MET phos- quire proteolytic cleavage for activity, are also frequently phorylation that was dependent on the kinase activity expressed in glioma cell lines and in GBM tissues (Lok- and levels of this mutant EGFR. The cross-talk between ker et al. 2002). In contrast to EGFR, amplification or the receptors could be targeted with specific inhibitors to rearrangement of PDGFR is much less common, and a both, resulting in enhanced cytotoxicity of EGFRvIII-ex- relatively rare oncogenic deletion mutation of PDGFR pressing cells compared with either compound alone. It (loss of exons 8 and 9) has been described (Clarke and appears that the initially disappointing clinical trials us- Dirks 2003) that, similar to EGFRvIII, is constitutively ing RTK-targeted agents in GBM should be reanalyzed active and enhances tumorigenicity. Given the tumoral with respect to the RTK activation profiles of the re- coexpression of PDGF and PDGFR, autocrine and para- sponders and nonresponders, and that future trials could crine loops may be the primary means by which this take RTK coactivation into account when selecting com- growth factor axis exerts its effects. Supportive evidence bination inhibitor regimens. for a paracrine circuitry initiated by PDGF-B secretion that enhances glioma angiogenesis has been shown Apoptosis through stimulation of endothelial cells displaying PDGFR, in part, to express VEGF (Guo et al. 2003). A hallmark feature of malignant glioma cells is an in- Besides glial precursor cells, NSCs in the adult subven- tense resistance to death-inducing stimuli such as radio- 2690 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Glioma pathogenesis and treatment Table 1. Inhibitors being used in clinical trials and their targets Inhibitor target Mono-therapy Combined therapy RTK EGFR Erlotinib (Tarceva) Erlotinib + radiation, erlotinib + temozolomide, erlotinib + temsirolimus, erlotinib + sorafenib Gefitinib (Iressa) Gefitinib + everolimus Cetuximab (Erbitux) Cetuximab + temozolomide + radiation EGFRvIII and mAb 806 amp wtEGFR PDGFR Imatinib (Gleevec) (PDGFR, c-Kit, Imatinib + temozolomid, Abl) imatinib + vatalanib + hydroxyurea, imatinib + hydroxyurea VEGFR and AZD2171 (VEGFR, PDGFR, c-Kit) multi-RTK Vatalanib (VEGFR, PDGFR, c-Kit) Sunitinib malate (PDGFR, VEGFR1/2, c-Kit) AEE788 (EGFR, VEGFR1/2) ZD6474 (EGFR, VEGFR2/3) Lapatinib (EGFR, HER2) Sorafenib (RAF, VEGFR2/3, Sorafenib + temsirolimus, PDGFR, c-Kit) sorafenib + (Temsirolimus, Tipifarnib or Erlotinib) Pazopanib (VEGFR, PDGFR, Kit) Pazopanib + lapatanib Tandutinib (FLT3, PDGFR) Ligand VEGF Bevacizumab (ligand) Bevacizumab + irinotecan VEGF-Trap (ligand) Signal transduction Akt Perifosine PKC Tamoxifen Tamoxifen + bortezomib Enzastaurin mTOR AP23573 Everolimus Everolimus + temozolomide Sirolimus Temsirolimus Temsirolimus + temozolomide + radiation Protein modification HDAC Suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid SAHA + temozolomide (SAHA, Vorinostat) Farnesyltransferase Tipifarnib Lonafarnib Lonafarnib + temozolomide, lonafarnib + temozolomide Depsipeptide Other v3 Integrin Cilengitide Cilengitide + radiation Steroid receptors Synthetic retinoids (e.g., all-trans and 13-cis retinoic acid) Proteosome Bortezomib (Velcade) Sp1 transcription Tetra-O-methyl factor nordihydroguaiaretic acid Various drugable molecules and pathways implicated in glioma are being targeted by mono and combined therapeutic approaches. For detailed information, see the text and htp://www.clinicaltrials.gov. (PKC) Protein kinase C; (HDAC) histone deacetylase. therapy and chemotherapy. This biological property has ecules to provide a molecular scaffold for the autopro- been linked to genetic alterations of key regulatory mol- teolytic processing and activation of caspases (for review, ecules involved in mitogenic signaling, most promi- see Lavrik et al. 2005). The most important death recep- nently RTKs and the PI3K–PTEN–Akt signaling axis, as tor systems include TNFR1 (DR1/CD120a), TRAILR1 well as regulatory and effector molecules residing in (DR4/APO-2), TRAILR2 (DR5/KILLER/TRICK2), and classical cell death networks of both extrinsic (death re- CD95 (DR2/Fas/APO-1). Several lines of evidence sup- ceptor-mediated) and intrinsic (mitochondria-dependent) port important roles of these death receptors in glioma apoptosis signaling pathways. pathogenesis. First, various human glioma cell lines and The “death receptors” are cell surface molecules that, primary glioma-derived cell cultures are sensitive to upon binding their cognate ligands, recruit adapter mol- death ligand-mediated apoptosis in vitro and in xenograft GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2691 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Furnari et al. model systems in vivo (Weller et al. 1994; Roth et al. classical roles, Bcl2 family members may contribute to 1997; Shinoura et al. 1998; Nagane et al. 2000; Maleniak gliomagenesis through enhancement of migration and et al. 2001; Rohn et al. 2001). Second, expression levels of invasion by altering the expression of a set of metalopro- these death receptors and in particular of their corre- teinases and their inhibitors (Wick et al. 1998, 2001, sponding (antagonistic) decoy receptors may correlate 2004). Due to their central role and importance in apo- with susceptibility of glioma cells to death ligand-in- ptosis signaling, neutralization of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 duced apoptosis. A prominent example is the decoy re- proteins by antisense technology (Julien et al. 2000), ceptor for CD95 ligand (CD95L), soluble decoy receptor 3 small molecules that block BcL2 interactions with other (DcR3). It is expressed on malignant glioma cell lines, families (Fesik 2005), or by viral-mediated delivery of and its expression pattern correlates with the grade of select proapoptotic members (Naumann et al. 2003), malignancy in human glioma specimens (Roth et al. may represent promising future avenues of therapeutic + + 2001). Interestingly, infiltration of CD4 and CD8 T intervention. cells and microglia/macrophages was significantly de- creased in DcR3-driven xenografts, suggesting that Necrosis glioma cells may escape CD95L-dependent immune-cy- totoxic attack by expressing a decoy receptor that neu- While highly resistant to therapeutic apoptotic stimuli, tralizes CD95L by preventing its interaction with the GBM tumor cells exhibit the paradoxical propensity for receptor (Roth et al. 2001). extensive cellular necrosis. Indeed, necrosis is the most The TRAIL death receptor system in particular has prominent form of spontaneous cell death in GBM, pre- gained considerable interest as a specific inducer of can- sented as foci of micronecrosis surrounded by broad hy- cer cell apoptosis as its expression has been positively percellular zones contiguous with normal tissue or by correlated with survival of patients with primary GBM parenchymal infiltrates (Raza et al. 2002; Brat and Van (Kuijlen et al. 2006). In this regard, loco-regional admin- Meir 2004). While limited blood supply and anoxia due istration of TRAIL inhibited growth of human glioma to a microthrombotic process has been identified as an cell xenografts (Roth et al. 1999) and acted synergisti- important cause of necrosis, the molecular basis for this cally with chemotherapeutic drugs (Nagane et al. 2000; necrotic phenotype, particularly in the context of in- Rohn et al. 2001), in part through up-regulation of tense apoptotic therapy resistance, has recently come TRAIL-R2 and Bak protein and down-regulation of the into focus with the discovery and characterization of the caspase-8-specific inhibitor cFLIPs (LeBlanc et al. 2002; Bcl2-like 12 (Bcl2L12) protein. Arizono et al. 2003; J.H. Song et al. 2003). In addition, Bcl2L12 has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of peptides derived from the second mitochondria-derived post-mitochondrial apoptosis signal transduction that is activator of caspases (Smac), a potent antagonist of mem- significantly overexpressed in primary GBMs (Stegh et bers of the IAP family of caspase inhibitors, acted syner- al. 2007). Bcl2L12 is a proline-rich protein characterized gistically with TRAIL to induce tumor cell apoptosis in by a C-terminal 14-amino-acid sequence with significant vitro and in vivo without demonstrable neurotoxicity homology with the BH (Bcl-2 Homology) 2 domain found (Fulda et al. 2002). Mechanistically, these peptides abro- in several members of the Bcl-2 protein family (Scorilas gate IAP-binding activity and, consequently inhibition of et al. 2001). Enforced expression of Bcl2L12 in primary effector caspase-9, caspase-3, and caspase-7 activity cortical astrocytes inhibited apoptosis, and its RNAi-me- downstream from mitochondrial membrane disintegra- diated knockdown sensitizes human glioma cell lines to tion, underscoring the importance of post-mitochondrial drug-induced apoptosis and reduces tumor formation in caspase activation for apoptosis propagation in glioma an orthotopic transplant model in vivo (Stegh et al. cell lines and its validity as a therapeutic target (Fulda et 2007). The anti-apoptotic actions of Bcl2L12 relate sig- al. 2002). nificantly to its capacity to neutralize effector caspase The role of the Bcl-2 family in gliomagenesis has also activity downstream from mitochondrial dysfunction been extensively studied. On the mechanistic level, clas- and apoptosome activity, likely through specific interac- sical anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members (BAK, BAD, tion with effector caspase-7 (Stegh et al. 2007). These BID, BAX, BCL-X , MCL-1) modulate apoptosis signal- activities of Bcl2L12 are highly relevant to the necrotic ing by preserving mitochondrial membrane integrity and process in the light of studies showing that suppression the release of cytochrome c, which effects the caspase of caspase activity downstream from mitochondria redi- cascade and the apoptotic program (for review, see Green rects the death program from apoptosis to necrosis (for and Kroemer 2004). On the clinical level, there is a cor- review, see Nicotera and Melino 2004), indicating that relation between tumor grade and expression of several post-mitochondrial caspase activation acts as a molecu- anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins (BCL-2 and MCL-1) (Weller lar switch between apoptotic and necrotic cell death et al. 1995; Krajewski et al. 1997), and in general, this paradigms (for review, see Nicotera and Melino 2004). Bcl-2 “rheostat” is shifted toward an anti-apoptotic bal- In support of this model, germline deletion of post- ance during the transition from initial to recurrent GBM mitochondrial apoptosis signaling components, such as (Strik et al. 1999). Additionally, Bcl-x is up-regulated by the caspase activator Apaf-1, or blockage of effector overexpression of EGFRvIII in glioma cells and this up- caspase maturation by pan-specific caspase inhibitors re- regulation confers resistance to the chemotherapeutic sults in decreased apoptosis, yet causes an increase in agent cisplatin (Nagane et al. 1998). In addition to their necrosis (for review, see Nicotera and Melino 2004). 2692 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Glioma pathogenesis and treatment Mechanistically, oxidative phosphorylation and conse- regions of the same tumor. Recently, a number of experi- quently intracellular ATP levels decrease due to exten- mental studies have shown that key glioma-relevant sive cytochrome c release and mitochondrial dysfunc- mutations—including those in the PTEN, EGFR, and tion, rendering cells unable to maintain ion homeostasis CMYC genes—may act as an “angiogenic switch” by sta- and provoking cellular edema, dissolution of organelles, bilizing HIF-1 or one of its downstream targets, VEGF and plasma membranes (for review, see Nicotera and (Watnick et al. 2003; Blum et al. 2005; Phung et al. 2006; Melino 2004). That apoptosis and necrosis signaling Shchors et al. 2006). The distinction between microvas- pathways are interconnected is evidenced by the ability cular proliferation being an adaptive response to hypoxia of enforced Bcl2L12 expression to provoke necrotic cell or it being an epiphenomenon of critical genetic muta- morphology, as evidenced by substantial plasma mem- tions that also activate a cascade of proangiogenesis brane disintegration and enhanced nuclear and subcellu- pathways has clinical and therapeutic importance. lar organelle swelling in apoptosis-primed astrocytes Another issue is the functional consequences of tumor angiogenesis, with respect to tissue perfusion (Vogel et (Stegh et al. 2007). Therefore, up-regulation of Bcl2L12 as a novel regulator of the apoptosis/necrosis balance in al. 2004). Tumor microvessels are highly tortuous with glial cells may represent an important event in malig- sluggish flow and diminished gradient for oxygen deliv- nant glioma pathogenesis. ery and increasing susceptibility to thrombosis and mi- crohemorrhages (Kaur et al. 2004). Thus, the GBM mi- crovasculature proliferation may provide little support Angiogenesis in oxygen/nutrient delivery but rather paradoxically con- GBMs are among the most highly vascular of all solid tribute to further exacerbating a metabolic mismatch be- tumors. Microvascular hyperplasia, the defining histo- tween the “supply and demand,” leading to progressive pathological phenotype of both primary and secondary hypoxia and eventually necrosis. This scenario is sup- GBM, consists of proliferating endothelial cells that ported by the recent experience with anti-angiogenesis emerge from normal parent microvessels as tufted mi- drugs, where their limited clinical benefit seems to be croaggregates (glomeruloid bodies) accompanied by stro- the result of “pruning” immature vessel growth and al- mal elements, including pericytes and basal lamina lowing “normalization” of the pre-existing vasculature (Stiver et al. 2004). Microvascular density, a measure of (see below; Horsman and Siemann 2006). In addition to microvascular proliferation, is an independent prognos- the poor vascular architecture, endothelial cells associ- tic factor for adult gliomas (Leon et al. 1996; Birlik et al. ated with the tumor vasculature fail to form tight junc- 2006). The idea that angiogenesis is rate limiting for tu- tions and have few associated pericytes or astrocytic foot mor growth, and therefore a rational therapeutic target, processes leaving the integrity of the BBB compromised, is strongly supported by animal studies that have shown resulting in increased interstitial edema. Interstitial that angiogenesis is vital for macroscopic solid tumor edema may further compromise regional blood flow and growth (Folkman 2007). exacerbate tumor hypoxia leading to areas of necrosis. In One common feature in the transition from low-grade addition to these maladapted biophysical properties of or anaplastic astrocytomas to secondary GBM is a dra- GBM microvasculature, specific genetic mutations in matic increase in microvascular proliferation. An GBM likely contribute to compromised tumor bioener- equivalently robust microvasculature proliferation phe- getics, specifically the shift in energy reduction from oxi- notype is observed in primary GBM. Since there are dative phosphorylation to glycolysis (Elstrom et al. 2004; marked genomic differences between primary and sec- Fantin et al. 2006). These interrelated mechanisms lead ondary GBM (Maher et al. 2006), it is likely that different to a level of metabolic demand that may exceed the abil- genetic programs converge on a final common angiogen- ity of the cerebrovascular system to maintain adequate esis pathway involving HIF and non-HIF-dependent blood flow to prevent hypoxia and necrosis. The histo- downstream effectors that include positive (VEGF, logical evidence of thrombosis and degenerating vessels PDGF, bFGF,IL-8, SDF-1) and negative (thrombospon- with microhemorrhages are a common feature of GBM din1, thrombospondin2, endostatin, tumstatin, interfer- and likely reflect these biological processes. ons) regulators of this process (Nyberg et al. 2005). A comprehensive understanding of the molecular mecha- Anti-angiogenesis therapies The hypothesis that inter- nisms driving angiogenesis in GBM will be necessary for ruption of blood supply to the tumor will lead to regres- the rational development and deployment of anti-angio- sion or dormancy of the tumor has led to the develop- genesis therapies. Increasingly, it is becoming evident ment of several drugs that target multiple steps in an- that tumor-associated angiogenesis is not simply a giogenesis (Table 1; Fig. 2). Currently three approaches physiological adaptation to hypoxia as a result of an in- are in advanced stages of clinical testing that aim to tar- get VEGF/VEGFR signaling pathways: (1) monoclonal creasing tumor cell mass. Rather it appears to be the result of critical genetic mutations that activate a tran- antibodies directed against VEGF or its receptor(s) (Win- scriptional program for angiogenesis with local tumor kler et al. 2004; Vredenburgh et al. 2007), (2) small mol- oxygen status further modifying this response. The rela- ecule inhibitors of VEGFR-2 tyrosine kinase activity tive contributions of these two mechanisms are not yet (Batchelor et al. 2007), and (3) soluble decoy receptors fully defined, but it is likely that both may operate to created from VEFGR1 receptor that selectively inhibits different extents in different tumors or even in different VEGF (Folkman 2007). A fourth approach targeting V3 GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2693 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Furnari et al. and V5 integrin receptors on endothelial cells (Nabors radation of ECM and active cell movement. These pro- et al. 2007) is also in early clinical trials as an anti-an- cesses bear a striking resemblance to the robust inherent giogenesis therapy in GBM. migration potential of glial cells during embryogenesis Clinical studies, in which anti-angiogenesis drugs (Hatten 1999). have been used as “single” agents to treat GBM, have The most frequent route of invasion of glial tumor shown little efficacy. This may reflect the fact that these cells is along white matter tracts and basement mem- drugs have no direct effect on the pre-existing stable mi- branes of blood vessels. Whether this route offers a path crovasculature that may be co-opted to support tumor of least resistance or there are biochemical substrates growth especially at the infiltrating tumor edge. Recent that mediate adhesion and promote migration, or both, is data, however, suggest that anti-angiogenesis drugs may unclear. Invasion and migration of glial tumors differs be more effective when combined with cytotoxic from other tumors where local spread is very limited and therapy (Table 1). Recently a single-arm phase II study of dissemination occurs hematogenously or via the lym- phatic system. In fact, glioma cells lack the ability to bevacizumab (Avastin; Genetech, Inc.) (Vredenburgh et al. 2007), a recombinant, humanized monoclonal anti- penetrate the basement membrane of blood vessels body targeting VEGF, plus irinotecan (CPT-11) in pa- (Bernstein and Woodard 1995), and cells gaining access to tients with recurrent high-grade gliomas reported dra- the blood through a disrupted blood vessel within the matic rates (63%) of radiographic response and a near tumor are unable to establish robust tumor growth out- doubling of 6 mo and median progression free survival side the CNS. The molecular basis for this curious in- (PFS) in the patients with GBM (30% and 20 wk, com- ability of glioma cells to metastasize outside of the CNS pared with historical controls of 15% and 9 wk). The is not known and warrants further investigation. therapeutic benefits in the setting of combination Several genes involved in glioma invasiveness have therapy (radiation and/or conventional chemotherapy) been identified and include members of the family of could be attributed to (1) improved drug delivery because metalloproteases (MMP) and their endogenous tissue in- of improved vascular flow, (2) improved drug penetration hibitors (TIMPs). Expression of MMP-2 and, to a lesser into the tumor because of reduced interstitial pressure, extent, MMP-9 correlate with invasiveness, proliferation and/or (3) improved radiation/chemotherapy response as and prognosis in astrocytomas (M. Wang et al. 2003). a result of reducing tumor hypoxia. Hypoxia is well Other non-MMP proteases, including urokinase-type known to create radiation resistance and reduce efficacy plasminogen activator (uPA) (Landau et al. 1994; Yama- of chemotherapies (Semenza 2003). Overall, the early moto et al. 1994a,b) and cysteine proteases (e.g., cathep- clinical data for the anti-angiogenic drugs when used in sin B) (McCormick 1993), are elevated in high-grade ma- combination with radiation or conventional chemo- lignant gliomas (for review, see Uhm et al. 1997). Despite therapies is encouraging. The possibility that anti-angio- these findings, the role of proteases in glioma invasion genic drugs may enhance intratumoral concentration of remains unclear since low-grade astrocytomas infiltrate conventional chemotherapeutics raises the intriguing diffusely throughout the brain, despite relatively normal possibility that these drugs may improve the efficacy levels of the proteases. profile of some of the currently available drugs. A pos- Integrins, especially V3 complexes, are elevated in sible mechanism for such synergy could be enhanced GBM and appear to be relevant to processes of glioma drug delivery, although off-target drug effects and/or invasion and angiogenesis (Kanamori et al. 2004). Several poorly understood pharmacological mechanisms remain studies have also reported potential novel glioma inva- possibilities. The full benefit of anti-angiogenesis will sion genes. Invasion inhibitory protein 45 (IIp45), a po- derive from an improved understanding of the molecular tential tumor suppressor gene on chromosome 1p36, is basis of tumor angiogenesis process, how tumor cell me- frequently down-regulated in GBMs. Its product inhibits tabolism drives angiogenesis versus cooptation of nor- invasion through the binding of IGFBP2 (S.W. Song et al. mal brain microvascular networks, and definition of 2003). In contrast, IGFBP2 promotes invasion in GBM by those patients that are likely to benefit from various up-regulating a panel of genes involved in invasion, one types of anti-angiogenic therapies operating on different of which is MMP-2 (H. Wang et al. 2003). Other proteins levels of the process. are overexpressed in invasive areas of GBM, such as an- giopoietin-2, which in addition to its involvement in an- giogenesis also plays a role in inducing tumor cell infil- Tumor cell invasion tration by activating MMP-2 (Hu et al. 2003). Ephrin re- Infiltration throughout the brain is prominent feature of ceptors and their ligands, the ephrins, mediate low- and high-grade malignant glioma (Lefranc et al. neurodevelopmental processes such as axon guidance 2005) and is the principal basis for the lack of surgical and cell migration and in glioma have been shown to regulate migration and invasion. Compared with low- cure. In >90% of cases, the recurrent tumor develops immediately adjacent to the resection margin or within grade astrocytoma or normal brain, GBMs, in particular several centimeters of the resection cavity. Invasion by the migratory tumor cells, overexpress EphB2 (Hu et al. glioma cells into regions of normal brain is driven by a 2003). Intriguingly, EphA2 overexpression has been multifactorial process involving cell interactions with linked to poor survival in GBM (Liu et al. 2006). the ECM and with adjacent cells, as well as accompany- Other novel invasion- and migration-associated genes ing biochemical processes supportive of proteolytic deg- have been identified using oligonucleotide microarray 2694 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Glioma pathogenesis and treatment technology (Demuth and Berens 2004; Tatenhorst et al. (gNMF), showed that primary and secondary GBMs seg- 2004) on RNA isolated by laser-captured microdissection regate distinctly into two classes, and that secondary of cryostat sections from human glioma biopsy tumor GBM can be further stratified into two subgroups with cores and invasive edges. These genes include P311, a different times to progression from low-grade to second- 68-amino-acid polypeptide that has been described in ary GBM (Maher et al. 2006). Some of the recurrent ge- embryonic neuronal migration (Studler et al. 1993); nomic alterations have been shown to be prognostic— death-associated protein 3 (DAP3), which has been loss of 6q or 10q or gain of 19q is associated with shorter shown to confer protection from Fas-induced, ionizing survival, while loss of 19q tracks with long-term survival radiation-induced, and streptonigrin-induced cell death (>3 yr) (Burton et al. 2002). Current efforts are now di- (Kissil et al. 1999); and FN14, which encodes a cell sur- rected toward identifying the clinically relevant genes face receptor for the tumor necrosis factor superfamily residing in these loci—efforts strongly motivated by the member named TWEAK, all of which have functionally discovery of molecular signatures of drug response in the clinic (Haas-Kogan et al. 2005; Hegi et al. 2005; Melling- been shown to modulate glioma cell migration and apo- ptosis (Taylor et al. 2000; Mariani et al. 2001; Wiley and hoff et al. 2005). Winkles 2003). Transcriptional profiling Gene expression profiling has Since migrating glioma cells show increased levels of proven to be a highly effective method to obtain global phosphorylated Akt, PI3K inhibitors have been tested signatures reflecting the biological state of the tumor experimentally on these cells, resulting in a decrease in and underlying pathogenic mechanisms and providing migration and an increase in apoptosis sensitivity (Joy et markers for use in diagnosis and clinical management. al. 2003). In conjunction with this, PTEN mutation has Initial applications of transcriptional profiling to GBM been implicated in an invasive phenotype, not only as confirmed that defined gene signatures could be used to contributing to deregulated PI3K signaling but also in its classify different histological grades (Rickman et al. ability to stabilize E-cadherin and modulate cell matrix 2001; Godard et al. 2003; van den Boom et al. 2003). adhesion complexes (Kotelevets et al. 2001). These find- Indeed, among nonclassical lesions, classification by ings highlight the multitude of ways that gliomagenic gene expression signatures more accurately predicted lesions effect a broad spectrum of the tumor phenotypes survival than standard pathological evaluation (Nutt et ranging from aberrant cell proliferation to invasion and al. 2003). More recently, even among histologically in- resistance to apoptosis. distinguishable GBMs, expression profiling was able to classify GBM into subgroups with different overall sur- vival. Although further validation studies are needed to Frontiers in glioma research and therapy confirm that these signatures can be used prospectively, Genomic profiles of GBM these studies suggest that gene expression profiling rep- resents a useful approach in classifying categorize GBM Copy number analysis Comparative genomic hybrid- (Liang et al. 2005). ization (CGH) analysis of astrocytic tumors has revealed In addition, given the observed intratumoral heteroge- numerous recurrent copy number alterations (CNAs), neity in GBM, these studies have provided important pointing to the existence of many additional oncogenes biological insights into the pathogenesis of GBM. When or tumor suppressor genes beyond the handful of classi- histologically distinct lesions from the same patient cal GBM mutation targets described in the previous sec- were compared, the gene signatures from these lesions tions. Conventional and array-based CGH (aCGH) pro- more closely resembled each other than lesions from filing have cataloged the multitude of recurrent CNAs, other patients, suggesting that they arise from a common including gains/amplifications of 1p34-36, 1q32, 3q26- precursor and share a common molecular life history (Li- 28, 5q, 7q31, 8q24, 11q, 12q13, 13q, 15p15, 17q22-25, ang et al. 2005). Such analyses have implicated angiogen- 19q, 20p, and 20q and losses/deletions of 3q25-26, 4q, esis, immune cell infiltration, and extracellular remod- 6q26-27, 9p, 10p, 10q, 11p, 11q, 12q22, 13q, 14q13, eling as drivers of differences between tumor subtypes 14q23-31, 15q13-21, 17p11-13, 18q22-23, 19q, and 22q (Godard et al. 2003; Liang et al. 2005). In a few cases, (Reifenberger et al. 1994; Nishizaki et al. 2000; Hui et al. these studies have facilitated the identification of spe- 2001; Burton et al. 2002; Nutt et al. 2003; Misra et al. cific genes that predict survival, such as FABP7, DLL, 2005; Nigro et al. 2005; Phillips et al. 2006). These high- and ASPM (Liang et al. 2005; Horvath et al. 2006; Phil- resolution studies also revealed new molecular markers lips et al. 2006) and permit one to predict the clinical of glioma that complement and extend histological (as- response to EGFR kinase inhibitors (Haas-Kogan et al. trocytoma, oligodendroglioma, and GBM) (Kotliarov et 2005; Mellinghoff et al. 2005). These studies suggest that al. 2006) and tumor grade classifiers (Nishizaki et al. further characterization, validation, and application of 2000). This is particularly evident for primary and sec- this technology will provide improved metrics for prog- ondary GBMs, which are histopathologically indistin- nostication and choice of therapy. guishable yet show dramatically different patterns with the majority of recurrent CNAs being unique, rather Current status of targeted therapy in GBM than overlapping between the two entities. Analysis of these patterns using an unsupervised classification algo- While surgery remains the primary intervention, several rithm, termed genomic nonnegative matrix factorization early-phase clinical trials of targeted therapies in high- GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2695 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Furnari et al. grade glioma have been completed or are underway ei- cated by variable EGFR inhibition in tumors treated by ther singly or in combination with standard chemo- erlotinib and gefitinib, as measured by abundance of therapy and/or radiation therapy (for a detailed review, phosphorylated EGFR, Akt, and Erk (Lassman et al. see Sathornsumetee et al. 2007 and references therein). A 2005). Phase II single-agent trials for inhibitors of listing of such agents is presented in Table 1 (compiled PDGFR (imatinib), RAS (tipifarnib), and mTor (temsiro- from http://www.clinicaltrials.gov). The compendium of limus) have shown minimal activity overall in GBM as GBM agents reflects the prevalence of alterations in well, although further analysis of tumor material and EGFR, such as the EGFRvIII deletion mutation (Scott et clinical parameters from sporadic responders may indi- al. 2007) and PDGF signaling and modulators of PI3K cate prognostic features (Chang et al. 2005; Galanis et al. signaling, as well as the prominence of biological pro- 2005; Cloughesy et al. 2006; Wen et al. 2006; Franceschi cesses such as angiogenesis and invasion. Clinical out- et al. 2007). VEGF/R inhibitors and multitarget tyrosine comes in these trials are often difficult to interpret and kinase inhibitors with anti-VEGFR potency are theoreti- cally attractive agents for attacking GBM, particularly in are best considered in the context of standard therapy. The mainstay of initial treatment for GBM has changed combination with therapies that have direct tumor cy- little over the last 25 yr and is based primarily on exter- totoxicity. A recent trial of AZD2171, a multikinase in- nal beam radiation delivered conformally to the tumor hibitor with pan-VEGFR, c-Kit, and PDGFR selectivity, volume, now commonly determined by both MRI con- demonstrated primary effects of tumor vasculature “nor- trast-enhancement and surrounding T2 signal hyperin- malization”: namely, a reduction in contrast-enhancing tensity (Walker et al. 1978, 1980). In conjunction with tumor volume and surrounding edema that Batchelor et surgery and medical management, radiation therapy al. (2007) were able to link to vessel pruning and recon- doubles median survival to 12 mo and extends 2-yr sur- stitution of the blood-brain barrier through analysis of vival to 10%, with little added benefit from conventional perfusion MRI and model systems. It remains to be seen chemotherapies (Shapiro et al. 1989; Fine et al. 1993; whether these potent effects on tumor vasculature may DeAngelis et al. 1998; Stewart 2002). More recently, a be vividly improving the patient’s MRI without impact- notable randomized prospective study demonstrated the ing progression of the underlying tumor. Nonetheless, first clear survival benefit for chemotherapy in the treat- VEGF inhibition is likely to have a useful role in com- ment of GBM: The oral alkylating agent temozolomide bination therapy (Vredenburgh et al. 2007). While tar- (TMZ), given concurrently with radiation and continued geted inhibitors have shown little durable effect as thereafter, was found to extend median survival to 15 mo monotherapies, their specificity and generally modest and 2-yr survival to 26% (Stupp et al. 2005). Supporting side effect profiles facilitate combination together and the concept of molecularly informed clinical manage- with conventional cytotoxic agents. Table 1 lists cur- ment, further analysis revealed that the survival benefit rently active clinical trials investigating combined thera- was largely restricted to those patients whose tumors pies. Although there is reason to believe that certain showed epigenetic silencing of the DNA repair gene combinations will be effective in certain patients, the MGMT: Median survival was extended to nearly 2 yr added complexity presents a challenge to clinical trial when MGMT was methylated, whereas little benefit was design, patient stratification and logistics. seen in patients with tumors expressing MGMT (Hegi et al. 2005). It is tempting to speculate that MGMT-medi- Evidence for glioma origins ated DNA repair may itself be considered a potentially valuable therapeutic target for the 50% of patients that There is growing evidence that only a minor population express the MGMT gene (Hegi et al. 2006). of cells in solid tumors, including primary brain tumors Clinical trials of single-agent-targeted therapies typi- (GBM, medulloblastoma, and ependymoma), are capable cally recruit from the molecularly heterogeneous group of forming a tumor when orthotopically transplanted of patients who have tumor relapse following radiation into an immunocompromised mouse (Singh et al. 2004). and other therapies. The difficulties in interpreting out- The concept of the brain CSC (Reya et al. 2001) is based comes, whether radiographic response to treatment or on the observation that only a small fraction of primary overall survival, are well documented (Grant et al. 1997). leukemic (AML) cells are capable of initiating and sus- Several studies have established the validity of 6-mo pro- taining clonogenic growth and inducing leukemia in im- gression-free survival (PFS6), determined radiographi- munocompromised mice (Lapidot et al. 1994; Bonnet cally, as a meaningful endpoint in defining response to and Dick 1997). Importantly, these leukemic subclones + − treatment: A PFS6 of 15% or less has been estimated as shared the same cell surface markers (CD43 , CD38 )as a benchmark for inactive therapy (Wong et al. 1999; Ball- “normal” human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), man et al. 2007). In comparison, TMZ given at first re- while the progeny of these leukemic clones, the blast currence in GBM yields a PFS6 of 21% (Yung et al. 2000). cells, often expressed more differentiated lymphoid or In this challenging patient group, the initial results of myeloid lineage markers and were not capable of produc- the EGFR inhibitors erlotinib and gefitinib in single- ing leukemic disease. At present it is unclear whether agent trials have shown little activity overall, although a the CSC derives from a normal stem cell compartment modest response may be seen in the subset of patients or from a more differentiated progenitor that dedifferen- with intact PTEN (Prados et al. 2003; Rich et al. 2004; tiates into a stem cell-like state is not yet clear. The Mellinghoff et al. 2005). Interpretation may be compli- identification of the “cell of origin” remains an area of 2696 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Glioma pathogenesis and treatment active research for both hematological malignancies produced viable neurosphere cultures. They also re- (Passegue et al. 2003) and solid tumors (Al-Hajj et al. ported that for four out of 11 primary GBM tumors, 2003; Singh et al. 2004; Sanai et al. 2005; Taylor et al. CD133 cells grew as an adherent monolayer yet were 2005; Patrawala et al. 2006; Li et al. 2007; O’Brien et al. able to produce orthotopic tumors. Similarly, CD133 2007; Prince et al. 2007). primary GBM tumor cells, maintained as an adherent The CSC hypothesis was independently proposed for monolayer by addition of serum to stem cell culture me- GBM (Singh et al. 2003) and pediatric gliomas (Hemmati dia, were also able to produce highly infiltrative ortho- et al. 2003). There were two critical findings from these topic tumors (Sakariassen et al. 2006). These data suggest studies. First, only a minor population of cells identified that even brief ex vivo manipulations may alter the mo- in cell cultures, from a variety of primary CNS tumors lecular and phenotypic properties of freshly isolated tu- (including GBM, medulloblastoma, ganglioglioma, epen- mor cells, may complicate the conclusions that can be dymoma, and pilocytic astrocytomas) was able to self- drawn from these sorts of experiments, and point at the renew and form clonogenic neurospheres. These self-re- need for studies using directly isolated tumor cells from newing brain tumor cells were identified (Singh et al. fresh specimens and immediate implantation into im- 2003) by the expression of the cell surface marker, munocompromised mice. While the GBM-stem cell idea CD133 (1%–35% of total population). In contrast, the is in its infancy and many questions remain, its potential CD133 population failed to proliferate and remained as for our understanding of tumor development and therapy an adherent monolayer and expressed mature lineage- design and selection is exciting indeed. specific markers. Second, CD133 tumor neurospheres Genetically engineered models of glioma under NSC culture conditions expressed the stem cell marker Nestin and, upon exposure to serum, differenti- There is little debate of the importance of murine mod- ated into a mixed population of neurons (Tuj1 ), astro- els in advancing our understanding of the complex biol- + + cytes (GFAP ), and oligodendrocytes (PDGFR ), which ogy of gliomas. Various types of in vivo model systems mirrored the mixed cell types found in the original pa- have been developed and utilized, including traditional tient’s tumor. These observations provide support for a orthotopic xenotransplants with established human hierarchical CSC hypothesis, suggesting that only glioma cell lines and, more recently, with primary hu- CD133 brain tumor cells can self-renew and undergo man glioma cells enriched for surface expression of lineage-specific differentiation. CD133 (Singh et al. 2004). There is great interest in the Subsequently, substantial enrichment of the tumor- further development of the CD133 primary tumor model forming ability of FACS-sorted CD133 cells (as few as system as this appears to be superior in recapitulating 100 implanted cells were able to produce orthotopic tu- well the diffuse infiltrative nature of the primary human mors) following in vitro expansion of these cells was re- disease. Whether the CD133 primary tumor system will ported (Singh et al. 2004). In contrast, CD133 cells failed prove to be a more accurate biological model or be more to form tumors, even following injection of a much predictive in drug testing than xenotransplant models larger cell innoculum (10 per injection). The orthotopic with established cell lines is an area of significant cur- tumors mirrored the original tumor heterogeneity, with rent investigation. + − CD133 cells forming a minor fraction and the CD133 In recent years, important advances have been made in cells failing to form tumors on serial transplantation. the construction of genetically engineered mouse (GEM) These data suggest that loss of CD133 expression reflects models harboring glioma-relevant mutations or combi- an “irreversible” loss of cellular ability to propagate a nations of mutations. In several cases, such GEMs pre- tumor. Whether CD133 cells are only important for tu- dictably develop gliomas with many of the features of mor initiation and are less critical for tumor progression the human disease (Table 2; Weissenberger et al. 1997; will require a genetic strategy, similar to that used to Uhrbom et al. 1998; Kamijo et al. 1999; Holland et al. monitor skin stem cells in vivo using a doxycyline-in- 2000; Reilly et al. 2000; Dai et al. 2001; Ding et al. 2001, ducible H2B-eGFP reporter tag that enabled selection of 2003; Rich et al. 2001; Sonoda et al. 2001; Bachoo et al. CD133 cells over time (Tumbar et al. 2004). 2002; Uhrbom et al. 2002; Xiao et al. 2002; Weiss et al. There is now substantial evidence for the enrichment 2003; Holmen and Williams 2005; Zhu et al. 2005; Char- of in vivo cancer-forming ability of CD133 -expressing est et al. 2006; Tchougounova et al. 2007). Given the cells for GBM (Singh et al. 2004; Bao et al. 2006a; Pic- experimentally tractable nature of the mouse, these cirillo et al. 2006) and more recently in colon cancer glioma-prone GEM models are beginning to shed light on (O’Brien et al. 2007; Ricci-Vitiani et al. 2007). There are, a number of key issues such as, for example, the glioma however, a number of reports that suggest a less clear cell of origin (Zhu et al. 2005), the ordering of mutations + − distinction between the ability of CD133 and CD133 and whether such events underlie various glioma sub- cells to form orthotopic tumors (Bao et al. 2006b; Sakari- types (Hu et al. 2005), the cooperative and epistatic re- assen et al. 2006; Beier et al. 2007; Zheng et al. 2007). For lationship of such mutations, and the complex hetero- example, it has been reported recently (Beier et al. 2007) typic interactions between the evolving tumor cell and that CD133 cells isolated from primary GBM tumors the host microenvironment, among other issues central were equally capable of forming orthotopic tumors as the to the problem of gliomagenesis. With further refine- CD133 subpopulation, while under the same condi- ment, there is now increasing evidence that these GEM tions, none of the secondary GBM tumors (zero of seven) model systems will provide an additional vantage with GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2697 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Furnari et al. Table 2. Mouse and human models of gliomagenesis based on genetic alterations found in astrocytic glioma Tumor classification Genetic pathway/method Promoter Study Transgenic and Low-grade astrocytoma Ras/tg GFAP Ding et al. 2001 knockout GEMs Src/tg GFAP Weissenberger et al. 1997 Nf1 + p53/ko — Reilly et al. 2000 floxNf1 + p53/ko GFAP-Cre Zhu et al. 2005 Anaplastic astrocytoma Ras/tg GFAP Ding et al. 2001 Nf1 + p53/ko — Reilly et al. 2000 Src/tg GFAP Weissenberger et al. 1997 Rb/SV40 lg T PTEN/ko GFAP Xiao et al. 2002 floxNf1 + p53/ko GFAP-Cre Zhu et al. 2005 Glioblastoma Nf1 + p53/ko — Reilly et al. 2000 floxNf1 + p53/ko GFAP-Cre Zhu et al. 2005 FIG-ROS + Ink4aArf ko Ad-Cre Charest et al. 2006 Low-grade Arf/ko — Kamijo et al. 1999 oligodendroglioma v-erbB/tg S100 Weiss et al. 2003 Ras + EGFRvIII/tg GFAP Ding et al. 2003 High-grade v-erbB/tg + Inka/Arf ko S100 Weiss et al. 2003 oligodendroglioma RCAS virus Glioblastoma Ras + Akt Nestin Holland et al. 2000 Ink4aArf ko + Ras RCAS GFAP/Nestin Uhrbom et al. 2002 Low-grade PDGFB Nestin Dai et al. 2001 oligodendroglioma Ink4a, Arf, Ink4aArf ko GFAP/Nestin Tchougounova + PDGFB RCAS et al. 2007 Anaplastic Ink4aArf ko + PDGFB RCAS Nestin Dai et al. 2001 oligodendroglioma Ink4a, Arf, Ink4aArf ko GFAP/Nestin Tchougounova + PDGFB RCAS et al. 2007 Mixed oligoastrocytoma Ink4aArf ko + PDGFB RCAS GFAP Dai et al. 2001 Glioblastoma Tet-off KRAS + Akt Nestin Holmen and Williams 2005 Retroviral Glioblastoma PDGFB Mixed Uhrbom et al. 1998 Astrocyte and High-grade gliomas Inka/Arf ko/EGFRvIII retrovirus GFAP and Nestin Bachoo et al. 2002 NSC transgenesis NHA transformation Anaplastic astrocytoma hTERT, H-ras, HPV E6 and E7 — Sonoda et al. 2001 Anaplastic hTERT, H-ras, SV40 T/t-Ag — Rich et al. 2001 astrocytoma-glioblastoma Temporal and compartmental transgene expression in somatic cells was achieved by nestin and S100 (glioneuronal progenitor cells) and GFAP (differentiated astrocytes) promoters. In general, the cell of tumor origin in knockout GEMs is unknown. (GEMs) Geneti- cally engineered mice; (RCAS) replication-competent avian sarcoma-leukosis virus long terminal repeat (LTR) with a splice acceptor; (NHA) normal human astrocytes; (tg) transgene; (ko) knockout; (Nf1) neurofibromatosis 1; (floxNf1) LoxP-flanked Nf1 gene excised by Cre recombinase; (hTERT) human telomerase reverse transcriptase; (HPV E6 and E7) human papillomavirus oncoproteins; (SV40 T/t-Ag) simian virus 40 large and small T antigens; (Ad-Cre) adenovirus expressing Cre recombinase; (FIG-ROS) fused in glioblastoma- Ros oncogene. which to test the timing, dosing, and combination of opment. Although additional study is needed, it is drugs in the pipeline and assist in the development of widely anticipated that refined GEM models of glioma drug response biomarkers (Momota et al. 2005; Xiao et should enable the identification of tumor maintenance al. 2005). genes and the testing of agents targeting such mission Each of the GEM models in Table 2 offers distinct critical lesions, thereby identifying key targets, the best advantages and limitations for certain types of experi- agent, and the right patient population (i.e., genotype) mental inquiry. In particular, these models are ideal for (for review, see Sharpless and Depinho 2006). Thus, investigation of biological mechanisms underlying tu- GEM models may allow for culling of ineffective drugs morigenesis and for the functional validation of candi- and improved clinical trials design for those entering date genes identified through large-scale genomic analy- phase I/II clinical trials. In addition, the availability of sis of tumor specimens. The need for accurate models is refined GEM models that evolve through stages may perhaps most acute in preclinical testing, where experi- help define the tumor grade where an agent or combina- mental data often determine the fate of a drug in devel- tion of agents may be most effective. 2698 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Glioma pathogenesis and treatment While current efforts are focused on the development experimental models, now offer very real opportunities of GEMs harboring signature mutations in human for the development of effective targeted therapy. De- glioma, there remains a great utility for models engi- spite significant gaps in our understanding, a wealth of neered with nonstereotypical lesions that yet capture as- information now exists about the clinical and biological pects of human disease behavior and appearance, includ- behavior of the tumors, the genetic pathways involved in ing invasion, angiogenesis, necrosis, and tumor–ECM in- gliomagenesis, and the nature and role of signature al- teractions. Novel therapies developed to block these terations in these pathways. The challenge now is to biological pathways could be tested in such a model. integrate all of this knowledge in an interdisciplinary Similarly, a model that recapitulates the genetics but way to fully understand this disease and how its signa- lacks several of the clinical features of the tumor can be ture heterogeneity contributes to its intractability. For valuable. For example, a tumor driven by PDGF (Dai et example, the relatively poor response of GBM patients to al. 2001) could be used to study the downstream targets EGFR inhibitors, together with emerging data showing that those who do respond have specific genetic combi- and the biological consequences of neutralization of the pathway. Finally, inducible and conditional models are nations, suggests that a pathway targeting approach re- gaining popularity as ideal systems for the somatic acti- quires a more thorough understanding. Moreover, the vation of genes in specific cell populations and for the fact that even those patients who do respond to these assessment of genetic lesions in tumor progression and therapies eventually progress suggests that the evolution maintenance. of therapeutic resistance is a hallmark feature in their The recently developed glioma-prone GEM models effectiveness. This raises critical questions as to which have been notable for recapitulating most of the cardinal genetic alterations should be targeted as drivers of tumor histological features of the human disease. That said, a maintenance, which should be ignored because they are fully accurate genocopy and phenocopy of the human initially needed for tumor establishment, and which disease has yet to be developed in which the most com- drive the glioma stem cell niche, thus providing a reser- mon mutations are engineered, genome instability is voir from which such therapeutic resistant cells can rampant, and orthologous acquired events are docu- emerge (Bao et al. 2006a). These studies, along with new mented. Nevertheless, current models have provided im- data that will emerge from the TCGA initiative, will portant lessons for understanding the nature of gliomas: likely transform our understanding of genetics underly- (1) Loss of a single tumor suppressor gene or overexpres- ing GBM. sion of an oncogene is insufficient to induce high-grade To fully understand the relevance of this niche in driv- gliomas with high penetrance; (2) modifying mutations ing therapeutic resistance (Bao et al. 2006a), many criti- are important in gliomagenesis; (3) cell-of-origin and the cal questions remain to be answered, including whether mutations or set of mutations in such cells plays a sig- CD133 cells are equivalent to the actively proliferating nificant role in transformation; (4) dysregulating various tumor cells seen on routine histological analysis or rep- family members of a pathway or regulatory machinery resent a quiescent population that is activated by ex vivo may have similar biological consequences; and (5) the manipulations. It is also not yet clear whether there is a mutation or combination of mutations has stark effects prognostic correlation between CD133 and patient out- on a given state of differentiation. come, and if CD133 cells are selectively spared by ra- Thus, while further refinement is needed, these GEM diation and chemotherapeutic drugs. Finally, it is not models have afforded opportunities to better understand clear whether de novo CD133 cells are preferentially many enigmatic aspects of human glioma development found in the neurovascular niche, as was recently pro- and therapy. Given the wealth of new data anticipated posed based on in vitro studies (Calabrese et al. 2007). from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) (Hanauer et al. Beyond the stem cell issue is the emerging data noted 2007), for which GBM is one of the select cancer types to above regarding RTK coactivation that provides a ratio- be analyzed, a key challenge will be to assign the nal explanation for the feeble ability of RTK inhibitor plethora of newly discovered cancer-associated genetic monotherapy to effect durable clinical responses in GBM alterations with cancer relevance. Here, mouse models patients, in that the inhibition of a single RTK is insuf- can serve two key roles: First, they can be used in com- ficient to block signaling through critical growth and parative oncogenomics to identify loci/genes that are survival pathways (Huang et al. 2007; Stommel et al. commonly targeted in cancer development across evolu- 2007). This suggests that RTK profiling will be necessary tion, and second, they can serve as relevant model sys- to rationally determine an appropriate combination of tems to validate genes as well as determine whether new inhibitors that will achieve a significant clinical out- genes cooperate (or not) with specifically engineered mu- come. Thus, a systematic study of combination RTK tations—ultimately allowing for the placement of ge- therapies in cancers harboring specific RTK coexpression netic lesions into certain pathways and the testing of patterns represents an important next step in the design drugs targeting these activities. of new clinical trials, and the secondary analysis of such tumor samples will yield valuable insight into mecha- nisms of response and resistance. Because FDA-approved Future directions RTK inhibitors already exist and additional novel drugs The progress and depth of understanding of the biology are under development, this treatment paradigm may be and genetics of glioma, together with truly manipulable implemented in a relatively timely fashion for GBM and GENES & DEVELOPMENT 2699 Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Furnari et al. Glioma stem cells promote radioresistance by preferential other cancers that are currently highly refractory to vir- activation of the DNA damage response. Nature 444: 756– tually all existing therapies. Our ability to isolate and culture neural and CSCs, Bao, S., Wu, Q., Sathornsumetee, S., Hao, Y., Li, Z., Hjelmeland, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes and the creation of A.B., Shi, Q., McLendon, R.E., Bigner, D.D., and Rich, J.N. faithful models of this disease coupled to enormous ad- 2006b. Stem cell-like glioma cells promote tumor angiogen- vances in genomic characterization of gliomas and ex- esis through vascular endothelial growth factor. Cancer Res. quisite functional validation of causative mutations of- 66: 7843–7848. fer the very real prospect of rapid and thorough preclini- Batchelor, T.T., Sorensen, A.G., di Tomaso, E., Zhang, W.T., cal testing of compounds and other agents to directly Duda, D.G., Cohen, K.S., Kozak, K.R., Cahill, D.P., Chen, answer these questions. By identifying the weaknesses of P.J., Zhu, M., et al. 2007. AZD2171, a pan-VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor, normalizes tumor vasculature and the tumor, useful treatments for patients with these dev- alleviates edema in glioblastoma patients. Cancer Cell 11: astating diseases will become a reality. 83–95. Bayascas, J.R., Leslie, N.R., Parsons, R., Fleming, S., and Alessi, D.R. 2005. Hypomorphic mutation of PDK1 suppresses tu- Acknowledgments +/− morigenesis in PTEN mice. Curr. Biol. 15: 1839–1846. Beier, D., Hau, P., Proescholdt, M., Lohmeier, A., Wischhusen, This work was supported in part by Scholar Awards for cancer J., Oefner, P.J., Aigner, L., Brawanski, A., Bogdahn, U., and research from the Kimmel Foundation and the V Foundation (to + − Beier, C.P. 2007. CD133 and CD133 glioblastoma-derived F.B.F.), grants CA95616 (to W.K.C., R.M.B., F.B.F., L.C., and cancer stem cells show differential growth characteristics R.A.D.) and CA099041 (to L.C.) from the National Cancer In- and molecular profiles. Cancer Res. 67: 4010–4015. stitute, and a Fellow Award from the National Foundation for Bernstein, J.J. and Woodard, C.A. 1995. Glioblastoma cells do Cancer Research (to W.K.C.). R.A.D. is an American Cancer not intravasate into blood vessels. Neurosurgery 36: 124– Society Research Professor and an Ellison Medical Foundation Scholar and is supported by the Robert A. and Renee E. Belfer Foundation Institute for Innovative Cancer Science. 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Cancer Cell 8: 119–130. 2710 GENES & DEVELOPMENT Downloaded from genesdev.cshlp.org on October 18, 2021 - Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Frank B. Furnari, Tim Fenton, Robert M. Bachoo, et al. Genes Dev. 2007, 21: Access the most recent version at doi:10.1101/gad.1596707 This article cites 303 articles, 139 of which can be accessed free at: References http://genesdev.cshlp.org/content/21/21/2683.full.html#ref-list-1 License Receive free email alerts when new articles cite this article - sign up in the box at the top Email Alerting right corner of the article or click here. Service Copyright © 2007, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press

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