Purpose: To examine the effects of clinically relevant pharmacologic Notch inhibition on glioblastoma xenografts. Experimental Design: Murine orthotopic xenografts generated from temozolomide-sensitive and -resistant glioblastoma neurosphere lines were treated with the γ-secretase inhibitor MRK003. Tumor growth was tracked by weekly imaging, and the effects on animal survival and tumor proliferation were assessed, along with the expression of Notch targets, stem cell, and differentiation markers, and the biology of neurospheres isolated from previously treated xenografts and controls. Results: Weekly MRK003 therapy resulted in significant reductions in growth as measured by imaging, as well as prolongation of survival. Microscopic examination confirmed a statistically significant reduction in cross-sectional tumor area and mitotic index in a MRK003-treated cohort as compared with controls. Expression of multiple Notch targets was reduced in the xenografts, along with neural stem/progenitor cell markers, whereas glial differentiation was induced. Neurospheres derived from MRK003-treated xenografts exhibited reduced clonogenicity and formed less aggressive secondary xenografts. Neurospheres isolated from treated xenografts remained sensitive to MRK003, suggesting that therapeutic resistance does not rapidly arise during in vivo Notch blockade. Conclusions: Weekly oral delivery of MRK003 results in significant in vivo inhibition of Notch pathway activity, tumor growth, stem cell marker expression, and clonogenicity, providing preclinical support for the use of such compounds in patients with malignant brain tumors. Some of these effects can persist for some time after in vivo therapy is complete.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research