A rapid assay for drug sensitivity of glioblastoma stem cells

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2007 Jul 6;358(3):908-13. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2007.05.020. Epub 2007 May 11.


Glioblastoma (GBM) is a highly infiltrating, aggressive brain cancer with no available curative treatment. We developed a rapid assay for assessing the effect of various drugs on GBM stem cells. The assay uses a small number of separated CD133+ cells (20,000 in 0.2 ml) in 96-well plate that form neurospheres within 1-2 days. Various drugs disperse the neurospheres within 24-36 h, which can be quantified microscopically. We used the GBM cell line A-172 to develop the conditions for the assay, utilizing Gleevec, the gamma-secretase inhibitor DAPT, and the anti-bacterial peptide amph1D. The results show dispersion of the neurospheres leading to cell death, at relatively low drugs concentrations (<25 microM). Drug combination showed a synergistic effect and disruption of neurospheres under lower concentrations. We applied this assay to the CD133+ cells of surgical specimens from three patients that showed similar results. This assay facilitates a rapid test of drugs on small amounts of fractionated patient's GBM stem cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AC133 Antigen
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Antigens, CD / biosynthesis
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Benzamides
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor / methods*
  • Glioblastoma / drug therapy*
  • Glycoproteins / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Imatinib Mesylate
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Piperazines / pharmacology
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Time Factors


  • AC133 Antigen
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Benzamides
  • Glycoproteins
  • PROM1 protein, human
  • Peptides
  • Piperazines
  • Pyrimidines
  • Imatinib Mesylate