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Open Access Publications from the University of California

GBM heterogeneity as a function of variable epidermal growth factor receptor variant III activity.

  • Author(s): Lindberg, Olle R
  • McKinney, Andrew
  • Engler, Jane R
  • Koshkakaryan, Gayane
  • Gong, Henry
  • Robinson, Aaron E
  • Ewald, Andrew J
  • Huillard, Emmanuelle
  • David James, C
  • Molinaro, Annette M
  • Shieh, Joseph T
  • Phillips, Joanna J
  • et al.

Abnormal activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) due to a deletion of exons 2-7 of EGFR (EGFRvIII) is a common alteration in glioblastoma (GBM). While this alteration can drive gliomagenesis, tumors harboring EGFRvIII are heterogeneous. To investigate the role for EGFRvIII activation in tumor phenotype we used a neural progenitor cell-based murine model of GBM driven by EGFR signaling and generated tumor progenitor cells with high and low EGFRvIII activation, pEGFRHi and pEGFRLo. In vivo, ex vivo, and in vitro studies suggested a direct association between EGFRvIII activity and increased tumor cell proliferation, decreased tumor cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix, and altered progenitor cell phenotype. Time-lapse confocal imaging of tumor cells in brain slice cultures demonstrated blood vessel co-option by tumor cells and highlighted differences in invasive pattern. Inhibition of EGFR signaling in pEGFRHi promoted cell differentiation and increased cell-matrix adhesion. Conversely, increased EGFRvIII activation in pEGFRLo reduced cell-matrix adhesion. Our study using a murine model for GBM driven by a single genetic driver, suggests differences in EGFR activation contribute to tumor heterogeneity and aggressiveness.

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