7-Hydroxystaurosporine-induced apoptosis in 9L glioma cells provides an effective antigen source for dendritic cells and yields a potent vaccine strategy in an intracranial glioma model

Timothy F. Witham, Melanie L. Erff, Hideho Okada, William H. Chambers, Ian F. Pollack, Joseph M. Piepmeier, Paul Walker, Nicolas De Tribolet, Roberta P. Glick, Terry Lichtor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: On the basis of recent studies indicating that tumoral apoptotic bodies may provide a potent source of antigen for delivery to antigen-presenting cells, as well as observations that signal transduction modulation may constitute a promising approach for inducing glioma cell apoptosis, we explored the efficacy of vaccination with glioma apoptotic body-pulsed dendritic cells (DCs) for inhibiting tumor growth in the syngeneic 9L glioma/ Fischer rat model. METHODS: For induction of apoptosis, 7-hydroxystaurosporine (UCN-01) (200-300 ng/ml), a selective protein kinase C inhibitor, was co-incubated with 9L cells in vitro for 72 or 96 hours. After this pretreatment period, glioma cells and DCs were mixed, and the interaction between DCs and apoptotic 9L tumor cells was assessed using two-color flow cytometry. In a series of experiments, the efficacy of vaccination strategies using DCs co-cultured with apoptotic 9L cells was then examined in animals harboring intracranial tumors. RESULTS: Pretreatment of 9L cells with UCN-01 resulted in approximately 50% of cells' being observed to undergo apoptosis as compared with less than 3% of controls. After subsequent co-culture, two-color flow cytometry demonstrated a time-dependent physical association of DCs with the apoptotic glioma cells. Survival in animals harboring intracranial tumors was significantly longer for the animals treated with a glioma apoptotic bodypulsed DC vaccine than in the animals that received apoptotic glioma cells and DCs alone or vehicle (i.e., the controls), especially those that underwent a sequential vaccination strategy (P < 0.0001). Long-term survival (>90 d) was demonstrated in 6 (75%) of 8 animals that underwent this vaccination approach versus 0 (0%) of 16 controls. In contrast, no survival benefit was observed in animals that received DCs that were co-cultured with vehicle-treated (nonapoptotic) 9L cells. Three of four long-term survivors that were rechallenged intracranially with tumor cells also survived over the long term. CONCLUSION: These studies suggest that induction of apoptosis in glioma cells by use of UCN-01 may promote the uptake of tumor antigens by DCs. This finding is important because apoptotic body-stimulated DCs may hold promise in promoting a host response against an established intracranial glioma, particularly if the parameters for apoptotic induction, duration of co-culture, and vaccination can be optimized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1327-1335
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2002


  • Apoptosis
  • Dendritic cell
  • Glioma
  • Immunotherapy
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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