Background: The current treatment regimen for glioma patients is surgery, followed by radiation therapy plus temozolomide (TMZ), followed by 6 months of adjuvant TMZ. Despite this aggressive treatment regimen, the overall survival of all surgically treated GBM patients remains dismal, and additional or different therapies are required. Depending on the cancer type, SPARC has been proposed both as a therapeutic target and as a therapeutic agent. In glioma, SPARC promotes invasion via upregulation of the p38 MAPK/MAPKAPK2/HSP27 signaling pathway, and promotes tumor cell survival by upregulating pAKT. As HSP27 and AKT interact to regulate the activity of each other, we determined whether inhibition of HSP27 was better than targeting SPARC as a therapeutic approach to inhibit both SPARC-induced glioma cell invasion and survival.Results: Our studies found the following. 1) SPARC increases the expression of tumor cell pro-survival and pro-death protein signaling in balance, and, as a net result, tumor cell survival remains unchanged. 2) Suppressing SPARC increases tumor cell survival, indicating it is not a good therapeutic target. 3) Suppressing HSP27 decreases tumor cell survival in all gliomas, but is more effective in SPARC-expressing tumor cells due to the removal of HSP27 inhibition of SPARC-induced pro-apoptotic signaling. 4) Suppressing total AKT1/2 paradoxically enhanced tumor cell survival, indicating that AKT1 or 2 are poor therapeutic targets. 5) However, inhibiting pAKT suppresses tumor cell survival. 6) Inhibiting both HSP27 and pAKT synergistically decreases tumor cell survival. 7) There appears to be a complex feedback system between SPARC, HSP27, and AKT. 8) This interaction is likely influenced by PTEN status. With respect to chemosensitization, we found the following. 1) SPARC enhances pro-apoptotic signaling in cells exposed to TMZ. 2) Despite this enhanced signaling, SPARC protects cells against TMZ. 3) This protection can be reduced by inhibiting pAKT. 4) Combined inhibition of HSP27 and pAKT is more effective than TMZ treatment alone.Conclusions: We conclude that inhibition of HSP27 alone, or in combination with pAKT inhibitor IV, may be an effective therapeutic approach to inhibit SPARC-induced glioma cell invasion and survival in SPARC-positive/PTEN-wildtype and SPARC-positive/PTEN-null tumors, respectively.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank Dr. Christine Billecke for helpful discussions regarding the clonogenic assays. We thank Dr. Ken Barton and Mr. Andrew Kolozsvary for assistance with the radiation therapy, and Mr. Bradley Krasnick for assistance with the clonogenic assays. We are grateful for the continued support of the Barbara Jane Levy family. Supported in part by NIH/NCI grants CA86997 and CA138401 (SAR).
- Tumor cell survival