Different angiogenic phenotypes in primary and secondary glioblastomas

Int J Cancer. 2006 May 1;118(9):2182-9. doi: 10.1002/ijc.21648.


Primary and secondary glioblastomas (pGBM, sGBM) are supposed to evolve through different genetic pathways, including EGF receptor and PDGF and its receptor and thus genes that are involved in tumor-induced angiogenesis. However, whether other angiogenic cytokines are also differentially expressed in these glioblastoma subtypes is not known so far, but this knowledge might be important to optimize an antiangiogenic therapy. Therefore, we studied the expression of several angiogenic cytokines, including VEGF-A, HGF, bFGF, PDGF-AB, PDGF-BB, G-CSF and GM-CSF in pGBMs and sGBMs as well as in gliomas WHO III, the precursor lesions of sGBMs. In tumor tissues, expression of all cytokines was observed albeit with marked differences concerning intensity and distribution pattern. Quantification of the cytokines in the supernatant of 30 tissue-corresponding glioma cultures revealed a predominant expression of VEGF-A in pGBMs and significantly higher expression levels of PDGF-AB in sGBMs. HGF and bFGF were determined in nearly all tumor cultures but with no GBM subtype or malignancy-related differences. Interestingly, GM-CSF and especially G-CSF were produced less frequently by tumor cells. However, GM-CSF secretion occurred together with an increased number of simultaneously secreted cytokines and correlated with a worse patient prognosis and may thus represent a more aggressive angiogenic phenotype. Finally, we confirmed an independent contribution of each tumor-derived cytokine analyzed to tumor-induced vascularization. Our data indicate that an optimal antiangiogenic therapy may require targeting of multiple angiogenic pathways that seem to differ markedly in pGBMs and sGBMs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / blood supply*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Glioblastoma / blood supply*
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Glioblastoma / secondary*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic*
  • Phenotype
  • Prognosis


  • Cytokines