Time-dependent inhibition of glioblastoma cell proliferation by dexamethasone

J Neurooncol. 2001 Jan;51(2):105-10. doi: 10.1023/a:1010684921099.


Because of the outstanding importance of the glucocorticoid Dexamethasone (DEX) as supportive therapy in the management of brain tumours, the direct effect of DEX on tumour cell proliferation is of particular interest. Previous in vitro studies led to contradictory results. To characterise more precisely the influence of DEX, we investigated the glioblastoma multiforme (GM) cell lines A172, T98G and 86HG39. Cells were treated with DEX concentrations ranging from 5 x 10(-9) to 5 x 10(-5) M from 24 to 240h under different treatment conditions. Influence of DEX on glioma cell viability was assessed daily for 5 days by MTT-assay: (I) with continuous DEX incubation (acute treatment), (II) in a recultivation period without DEX after 5 days of DEX pre-incubation (pre-treatment), (III) with continuous DEX incubation after 5 days of DEX pre-incubation (combination treatment). DEX acute treatment led to strongly decreased proliferation of A172 cells, whereas T98G and 86HG39 cells remained uninfluenced. In opposite, a time-delayed inhibition of cell proliferation was observed in all three cell lines after DEX pre-treatment. Combination treatment induced a significant increase of the inhibitory effect in A172 and T98G cells. These data show a variable, partial time-dependent inhibitory effect of DEX on the proliferation of GM cells and may open new treatment strategies for malignant brain tumours.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Division / drug effects*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glioblastoma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Time Factors
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Dexamethasone