Expression of glutathione S-transferase T1 (GSTT1) in human brain tumours

Histol Histopathol. 2006 Nov;21(11):1199-207. doi: 10.14670/HH-21.1199.


Glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) play a central role in a number of metabolic processes. Glutathione S-transferase T1 (GSTT1) is a polymorphic cytosolic enzyme and a member of the theta class of GSTs. Typical substrates for GSTT1 are industrial compounds, such as dichloromethane and ethylene oxide. It has been shown that also chemotherapeutic drugs such as BCNU [i.e. 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea] are efficiently inactivated by GSTT1. BCNU is a drug which is increasingly used locally in the chemotherapy of glioblastoma multiforme WHO grade IV. Therefore, if GSTT1 were expressed in neoplastic cells of brain tumours it could be a factor for chemoresistance. In order to clarify a possible role of GSTT1 in chemoresistance, as a first step, we localized this enzyme in malignant gliomas such as glioblastoma multiforme WHO grade IV and oligodendroglioma WHO grade II. Because of its polymorphism we first genotyped the samples for GSTT1 by PCR. Using in situ hybridization, we then demonstrated that GSTT1 transcripts are expressed in neoplastic cells of both tumour types. Immunohistochemistry revealed then that whereas neoplastic cells in glioblastoma multiforme WHO grade IV contain GSTT1, it was not localized in oligodendroglioma cells. Given the polymorphism of GSTT1 and its potential activity towards BCNU, the localization of GSTT1 in glioblastoma cells can be considered as a possible factor of non-homogeneous chemotherapy response among patients with different GSTT1 genotypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Brain Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics
  • Carmustine / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Glioblastoma / enzymology*
  • Glioblastoma / genetics
  • Glutathione Transferase / biosynthesis*
  • Glutathione Transferase / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • glutathione S-transferase T1
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • Carmustine