gms | German Medical Science

62nd Annual Meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)
Joint Meeting with the Polish Society of Neurosurgeons (PNCH)

German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)

7 - 11 May 2011, Hamburg

Glioma cell lines with stem cell-like properties mirror the transcriptional phenotype of human glioblastomas and overexpress CXCR4 as a therapeutic target

Meeting Abstract

  • A. Schulte - Klinik und Poliklinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Deutschland
  • H.S. Günther - Klinik und Poliklinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Deutschland
  • H.S. Phillips - Department of Tumor Biology and Angiogenesis, Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, California, United States
  • D. Kemming - Institut für Tumorbiology, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Deutschland
  • M. Westphal - Klinik und Poliklinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Deutschland
  • K. Lamszus - Klinik und Poliklinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Deutschland

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. Polnische Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgen. 62. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie (DGNC), Joint Meeting mit der Polnischen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgen (PNCH). Hamburg, 07.-11.05.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. DocMO.07.10

doi: 10.3205/11dgnc047, urn:nbn:de:0183-11dgnc0473

Published: April 28, 2011

© 2011 Schulte et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: To investigate whether cell lines, which were established under serum-free neural stem cell conditions and maintain stem cell-like properties in vitro (GS cell lines), preserve the expression phenotype of human glioblastomas more adequately than conventional glioma cell lines and express specific genes amenable to therapeutic targeting.

Methods: 75 samples were profiled using Affymetrix HG-U133 Plus 2.0 microarrays, including GS cell lines, original tumor samples, conventional serum-cultured glioma cell lines, and monolayer cultures established from the same tumors as GS-lines. CXCR4 was validated as specific therapeutic target in vitro and in vivo and its regulation was studied.

Results: A subset of GS cell lines that displayed a full stem-like phenotype (GSf) reflected the expression signature of glioblastomas most closely. These lines are tumorigenic and highly invasive in vivo, express CD133, grow spherically in vitro, are multipotent and display a proneural gene expression signature, thus emerging as the most representative model for human glioblastomas both functionally and transcriptionally. In contrast, GS lines with a restricted stem-like phenotype (GSr) exhibited expression signatures resembling conventional glioma cell lines, which are most distant from original tumors by cluster analysis, indicating that the transcriptional resemblance between GS lines and tumors is associated with different degrees of "stemness". We identified CXCR4 as overexpressed in tumors and GSf lines compared with conventional glioma cell lines, thus emerging as a potential therapeutic target. GSf lines contained a small subpopulation of CXCR4high cells, which partially coexpressed CD133, whereas conventional cell lines contained no CXCR4high cells but a major proportion of CXCR4low cells. In vivo, convection-enhanced local treatment with a specific CXCR4 antagonist inhibited the highly invasive growth of GS xenografts, and cell migration but not proliferation was inhibited in vitro.

Conclusions: The group of GSf cell lines represents the most appropriate model for human glioblastomas, reflecting the original tumor gene expression signature most closely and maintaining highly invasive growth in vivo as well as stem cell characteristics in vitro. CXCR4 is an attractive specific target to treat the otherweise therapy-resistant, tumor-initiating glioma stem cells within a narrow enough therapeutic window to make this a safe strategy.