Background: Intratumor subsets with tumor-initiating features in glioblastoma are likely to survive treatment. Our goal is to identify the key factor in the process by which cells develop temozolomide (TMZ) resistance. Methods: Resistant cell lines derived from U87MG and A172 were established through long-term co-incubation of TMZ. Primary tumors obtained from patients were maintained as patient-derived xenograft for studies of tumor-initating cell (TIC) features. The cell manifestations were assessed in the gene modulated cells for relevance to drug resistance. Results: Among the mitochondria-related genes in the gene expression databases, superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) was a significant factor in resistance and patient survival. SOD2 in the resistant cells functionally determined the cell fate by limiting TMZ-stimulated superoxide reaction and cleavage of caspase-3. Genetic inhibition of the protein led to retrieval of drug effect in mouse study. SOD2 was also associated with the TIC features, which enriched in the resistant cells. The CD133+ specific subsets in the resistant cells exhibited superior superoxide regulation and the SOD2-related caspase-3 reaction. Experiments applying SOD2 modulation showed a positive correlation between the TIC features and the protein expression. Finally, co-treatment with TMZ and the SOD inhibitor sodium diethyldithiocarbamate trihydrate in xenograft mouse models with the TMZ-resistant primary tumor resulted in lower tumor proliferation, longer survival, and less CD133, Bmi-1, and SOD2 expression. Conclusion: SOD2 plays crucial roles in the tumor-initiating features that are related to TMZ resistance. Inhibition of the protein is a potential therapeutic strategy that can be used to enhance the effects of chemotherapy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Cell Biology
- Biochemistry, medical
- Pharmacology (medical)