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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Bioengineered scaffolds for 3D culture demonstrate extracellular matrix-mediated mechanisms of chemotherapy resistance in glioblastoma.

  • Author(s): Xiao, Weikun;
  • Wang, Shanshan;
  • Zhang, Rongyu;
  • Sohrabi, Alireza;
  • Yu, Qi;
  • Liu, Sihan;
  • Ehsanipour, Arshia;
  • Liang, Jesse;
  • Bierman, Rebecca D;
  • Nathanson, David A;
  • Seidlits, Stephanie K
  • et al.

Originating in the brain, glioblastoma (GBM) is a highly lethal and virtually incurable cancer, in large part because it readily develops resistance to treatments. While numerous studies have investigated mechanisms enabling GBM cells to evade chemotherapy-induced apoptosis, few have addressed how their surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM) acts to promote their survival. Here, we employed a biomaterial-based, 3D culture platform to investigate systematically how interactions between patient-derived GBM cells and the brain ECM promote resistance to alkylating chemotherapies - including temozolomide, which is used routinely in clinical practice. Scaffolds for 3D culture were fabricated from hyaluronic acid (HA) - a major structural and bioactive component of the brain ECM - and functionalized with the RGD (arginine-glycine-aspartic acid) tripeptide to provide sites for integrin engagement. Data demonstrate that cooperative engagement of CD44, through HA, and integrin αV, through RGD, facilitates resistance to alkylating chemotherapies through co-activation of Src, which inhibited downstream expression of BCL-2 family pro-apoptotic factors. In sum, a bioengineered, 3D culture platform was used to gain new mechanistic insights into how ECM in the brain tumor microenvironment promotes resistance to chemotherapy and suggests potential avenues for the development of novel, matrix-targeted combination therapies designed to suppress chemotherapy resistance in GBM.

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