Marizomib sensitizes primary glioma cells to apoptosis induced by a latest-generation TRAIL receptor agonist
Chiara Boccellato, Emily Kolbe, Nathalie Peters, Viktorija Juric, Gavin Fullstone, Maïté Verreault, Ahmed Idbaih, Martine L. M. Lamfers, Brona M. Murphy & Markus Rehm
Due to the absence of curative treatments for glioblastoma (GBM), we assessed the efficacy of single and combination treatments with a translationally relevant 2nd generation TRAIL-receptor agonist (IZI1551) and the blood–brain barrier (BBB) permeant proteasome inhibitor marizomib in a panel of patient-derived glioblastoma cell lines. These cells were cultured using protocols that maintain the characteristics of primary tumor cells. IZI1551+marizomib combination treatments synergistically induced apoptotic cell death in the majority of cases, both in 2D, as well as in 3D spheroid cultures. In contrast, single-drug treatments largely failed to induce noticeable amounts of cell death. Kinetic analyses suggested that time-shifted drug exposure might further increase responsiveness, with marizomib pre-treatments indeed strongly enhancing cell death. Cell death responses upon the addition of IZI1551 could also be observed in GBM cells that were kept in a medium collected from the basolateral side of a human hCMEC/D3 BBB model that had been exposed to marizomib. Interestingly, the subset of GBM cell lines resistant to IZI1551+marizomib treatments expressed lower surface amounts of TRAIL death receptors, substantially lower amounts of procaspase-8, and increased amounts of cFLIP, suggesting that apoptosis initiation was likely too weak to initiate downstream apoptosis execution. Indeed, experiments in which the mitochondrial apoptosis threshold was lowered by antagonizing Mcl-1 re-established sensitivity to IZI1551+marizomib in otherwise resistant cells. Overall, our study demonstrates a high efficacy of combination treatments with a latest-generation TRAIL receptor agonist and the BBB permeant proteasome inhibitor marizomib in relevant GBM cell models, as well as strategies to further enhance responsiveness and to sensitize subgroups of otherwise resistant GBM cases.