Transcriptional CDK Inhibitors CYC065 and THZ1 Induce Apoptosis in Glioma Stem Cells Derived from Recurrent GBM
Viktorija Juric, Heiko Düssmann, Martine L. M. Lamfers, Jochen H. M. Prehn, Markus Rehm and Brona M. Murphy
Glioma stem cells (GSCs) are tumour initiating cells which contribute to treatment resistance, temozolomide (TMZ) chemotherapy and radiotherapy, in glioblastoma (GBM), the most aggressive adult brain tumour. A major contributor to the uncontrolled tumour cell proliferation in GBM is the hyper activation of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs). Due to resistance to standard of care, GBMs relapse in almost all patients. Targeting GSCs using transcriptional CDK inhibitors, CYC065 and THZ1 is a potential novel treatment to prevent relapse of the tumour. TCGA-GBM data analysis has shown that the GSC markers, CD133 and CD44 were significantly upregulated in GBM patient tumours compared to non-tumour tissue. CD133 and CD44 stem cell markers were also expressed in gliomaspheres derived from recurrent GBM tumours. Light Sheet Florescence Microscopy (LSFM) further revealed heterogeneous expression of these GSC markers in gliomaspheres. Gliomaspheres from recurrent tumours were highly sensitive to transcriptional CDK inhibitors, CYC065 and THZ1 and underwent apoptosis while being resistant to TMZ. Apoptotic cell death in GSC subpopulations and non-stem tumour cells resulted in sphere disruption. Collectively, our study highlights the potential of these novel CKIs to induce cell death in GSCs from recurrent tumours, warranting further clinical investigation.