There are currently no established radiological parameters that predict response to immunotherapy. We hypothesised that multiparametric, longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of physiological parameters and pharmacokinetic models might detect early biological responses to immunotherapy for glioblastoma targeting NG2/CSPG4 with mAb9.2.27 combined with natural killer (NK) cells. Contrast enhanced conventional T1-weighted MRI at 7±1 and 17±2 days post-treatment failed to detect differences in tumour size between the treatment groups, whereas, follow-up scans at 3 months demonstrated diminished signal intensity and tumour volume in the surviving NK+mAb9.2.27 treated animals. Notably, interstitial volume fraction (ve), was significantly increased in the NK+mAb9.2.27 combination therapy group compared mAb9.2.27 and NK cell monotherapy groups (p?=?0.002 and p?=?0.017 respectively) in cohort 1 animals treated with 1 million NK cells. ve was reproducibly increased in the combination NK+mAb9.2.27 compared to NK cell monotherapy in cohort 2 treated with increased dose of 2 million NK cells (p<0.0001), indicating greater cell death induced by NK+mAb9.2.27 treatment. The interstitial volume fraction in the NK monotherapy group was significantly reduced compared to mAb9.2.27 monotherapy (p<0.0001) and untreated controls (p?=?0.014) in the cohort 2 animals. NK cells in monotherapy were unable to kill the U87MG cells that highly expressed class I human leucocyte antigens, and diminished stress ligands for activating receptors. A significant association between apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) of water and ve in combination NK+mAb9.2.27 and NK monotherapy treated tumours was evident, where increased ADC corresponded to reduced ve in both cases. Collectively, these data support histological measures at end-stage demonstrating diminished tumour cell proliferation and pronounced apoptosis in the NK+mAb9.2.27 treated tumours compared to the other groups. In conclusion, ve was the most reliable radiological parameter for detecting response to intralesional NK cellular therapy.
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most malignant brain tumor where patients survival is only 14.6 months, despite multimodal therapy with debulking surgery, concurrent chemotherapy and radiotherapy. There is an urgent, unmet need for novel, effective therapeutic strategies for this devastating disease. Although several immunotherapies are under development for the treatment of GBM patients, the use of natural killer (NK) cells is still marginal despite this being a promising approach to treat cancer. In regard of our knowledge on the role of NG2/CSPG4 in promoting GBM aggressiveness we investigated the potential of an innovative immunotherapeutic strategy combining mAb9.2.27 against NG2/CSPG4 and NK cells in preclinical animal models of GBM. Multiple immune escape mechanisms maintain the tumor microenvironment in an anti-inflammatory state to promote tumor growth, however, the distinct roles of resident microglia versus recruited macrophages is not elucidated. We hypothesized that exploiting the cytokine release capabilities of activated (NK) cells to reverse the anti-inflammatory axis combined with mAb9.2.27 targeting the NG2/CSPG4 may favor tumor destruction by editing pro-GBM immune responses. Combination treatment with NK+mAb9.2.27 diminished tumor growth that was associated with reduced tumor proliferation, increased cellular apoptosis and prolonged survival compared to vehicle and monotherapy controls. The therapeutic efficacy was mediated by recruitment of CCR2low macrophages into the tumor microenvironment, increased ED1 and MHC class II expression on microglia that might render them competent for GBM antigen presentation, as well as elevated IFN-? and TNF-? levels in the cerebrospinal fluid compared to controls. Depletion of systemic macrophages by liposome-encapsulated clodronate decreased the CCR2low macrophages recruited to the brain and abolished the beneficial outcomes. Moreover, mAb9.2.27 reversed tumor-promoting effects of patient-derived tumor-associated macrophage/microglia(TAM) ex vivo.Taken together, these findings indicate thatNK+mAb9.2.27 treatment may be an amenable therapeutic strategy to treat NG2/CSPG4 expressing GBMs. We provide a novel conceptual approach of combination immunotherapy for glioblastoma. The results traverse beyond the elucidation of NG2/CSPG4 as a therapeutic target, but demonstrate a proof of concept that this antibody may hold potential for the treatment of GBM by activation of tumor infiltrated microglia/macrophages.
Multipass dynamic MRI and pharmacokinetic modeling are used to estimate perfusion parameters of leaky capillaries. Curve fitting and nonblind deconvolution are the established methods to derive the perfusion estimates from the observed arterial input function (AIF) and tissue tracer concentration function. These nonblind methods are sensitive to errors in the AIF, measured in some nearby artery or estimated by multichannel blind deconvolution. Here, a single-channel blind deconvolution algorithm is presented, which only uses a single tissue tracer concentration function to estimate the corresponding AIF and tissue impulse response function. That way, many errors affecting these functions are reduced. The validity of the algorithm is supported by simulations and tests on real data from mouse. The corresponding nonblind and multichannel methods are also presented.
Bevacizumab, an antibody against vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), is a promising, yet controversial, drug in human glioblastoma treatment (GBM). Its effects on tumor burden, recurrence, and vascular physiology are unclear. We therefore determined the tumor response to bevacizumab at the phenotypic, physiological, and molecular level in a clinically relevant intracranial GBM xenograft model derived from patient tumor spheroids. Using anatomical and physiological magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), we show that bevacizumab causes a strong decrease in contrast enhancement while having only a marginal effect on tumor growth. Interestingly, dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI revealed a significant reduction of the vascular supply, as evidenced by a decrease in intratumoral blood flow and volume and, at the morphological level, by a strong reduction of large- and medium-sized blood vessels. Electron microscopy revealed fewer mitochondria in the treated tumor cells. Importantly, this was accompanied by a 68% increase in infiltrating tumor cells in the brain parenchyma. At the molecular level we observed an increase in lactate and alanine metabolites, together with an induction of hypoxia-inducible factor 1? and an activation of the phosphatidyl-inositol-3-kinase pathway. These data strongly suggest that vascular remodeling induced by anti-VEGF treatment leads to a more hypoxic tumor microenvironment. This favors a metabolic change in the tumor cells toward glycolysis, which leads to enhanced tumor cell invasion into the normal brain. The present work underlines the need to combine anti-angiogenic treatment in GBMs with drugs targeting specific signaling or metabolic pathways linked to the glycolytic phenotype.
Aberrant expression of the progenitor marker Neuron-glia 2 (NG2/CSPG4) or melanoma proteoglycan on cancer cells and angiogenic vasculature is associated with an aggressive disease course in several malignancies including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and melanoma. Thus, we investigated the mechanism of NG2 mediated malignant progression and its potential as a therapeutic target in clinically relevant GBM and melanoma animal models. Xenografting NG2 overexpressing GBM cell lines resulted in increased growth rate, angiogenesis and vascular permeability compared to control, NG2 negative tumours. The effect of abrogating NG2 function was investigated after intracerebral delivery of lentivirally encoded shRNAs targeting NG2 in patient GBM xenografts as well as in established subcutaneous A375 melanoma tumours. NG2 knockdown reduced melanoma proliferation and increased apoptosis and necrosis. Targeting NG2 in two heterogeneous GBM xenografts significantly reduced tumour growth and oedema levels, angiogenesis and normalised vascular function. Vascular normalisation resulted in increased tumour invasion and decreased apoptosis and necrosis. We conclude that NG2 promotes tumour progression by multiple mechanisms and represents an amenable target for cancer molecular therapy.
Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) via its guanylyl cyclase-A (GC-A) receptor participates in regulation of arterial blood pressure and vascular volume. Previous studies demonstrated that concerted renal diuretic/natriuretic and endothelial permeability effects of ANP cooperate in intravascular volume regulation. We show that the microvascular endothelial contribution to the hypovolaemic action of ANP can be measured by the magnitude of the ANP-induced increase in blood-to-tissue albumin transport, measured as plasma albumin clearance corrected for intravascular volume change, relative to the corresponding increase in ANP-induced renal water excretion. We used a two-tracer method with isotopically labelled albumin to measure clearances in skin and skeletal muscle of: (i) C57BL6 mice; (ii) mice with endothelium-restricted deletion of GC-A (floxed GC-A x tie2-Cre: endothelial cell (EC) GC-A knockout (KO)); and (iii) control littermates (floxed GC-A mice with normal GC-A expression levels). Comparison of albumin clearances in hypervolaemic EC GC-A KO mice with normovolaemic littermates demonstrated that skeletal muscle albumin clearance with ANP treatment accounts for at most 30% of whole body clearance required for ANP to regulate plasma volume. Skin microcirculation responded to ANP similarly. Measurements of permeability to a high molecular mass contrast agent (35 kD Gadomer) by dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) enabled repeated measures in individual animals and confirmed small increases in muscle and skin microvascular permeability after ANP. These quantitative methods will enable further evaluation of the contribution of ANP-dependent microvascular beds (such as gastro-intestinal tract) to plasma volume regulation.
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