Am J Cancer Res 2015 15;5(1):231-42. Epub 2014 Dec 15.
Neuro-oncology Unit, Department of Paediatric Medicine, Meyer Children's University Hospital Florence, Italy.
Various signal transduction pathways seem to be involved in chemoresistance mechanism of glioblastomas (GBMs). miR-21 is an important oncogenic miRNA which modulates drug resistance of tumor cells. We analyzed the expression of 5 miRNAs, previously found to be dysregulated in high grade gliomas, in 9 pediatric (pGBM) and in 5 adult (aGBM) GBMs. miR-21 was over-expressed, with a significant difference between pGBMs and aGBMs represented by a 4 times lower degree of expression in the pediatric compared to the adult series (p = 0.001). Doxorubicin (Dox) seems to be an effective anti-glioma agent with high antitumor activity also against glioblastoma stem cells. We therefore evaluated the chemosensitivity to Dox in 3 GBM cell lines (A172, U87MG and T98G). Dox had a cytotoxic effect after 48 h of treatment in A172 and U87MG, while T98G cells were resistant. TUNEL assay verified that Dox induced apoptosis in A172 and U87MG but not in T98G. miR-21 showed a low basal expression in treated cells and was over-expressed in untreated cells. To validate the possible association of miR-21 with drug resistance of T98G cells, we transfected anti-miR-21 inhibitor into the cells. The expression level of miR-21 was significantly lower in T98G transfected cells (than in the parental control cells). Transfected cells showed a high apoptotic rate compared to control after Dox treatment by TUNEL assay, suggesting that combined Dox and miR-21 inhibitor therapy can sensitize GBM resistant cells to anthracyclines by enhancing apoptosis.