Beneficial actions of the anti-inflammatory dimethyl fumarate in glioblastomas

Surg Neurol Int. 2013 Dec 24;4:160. doi: 10.4103/2152-7806.123656. eCollection 2013.


Background: Dimethylfumarate (DMF), a drug used in the treatment of psoriasis and multiple sclerosis, has been shown to limit the growth of melanoma cells. The ability of DMF to inhibit the Rel protein has been used to explain the antioncogenic properties of this drug. Studies analyzing the effect of DMF in gliomas are limited. Therefore, we investigated the potential antitumor effects of DMF by assessing its effects on proliferation, cell death, and differentiation in gliomas in several glioma models.

Methods: Mouse glioma Gl261, human glioblastoma A172 and human glioblastoma cells from patients were exposed to DMF at therapeutic concentrations (100 μM) and supratherapeutic concentrations (300 μM) and studies to assess proliferation, cellular lysis, and differentiation undertaken. The 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BRDU) proliferation assay and lactate dehydrogenase LDH cell lysis assay were used. Immunocytochemistry was used to assess differentiation: CD133 (stem cell marker), Nestin (progenitor marker), Sox2 (progenitor marker), β-tubulin III (neuronal marker), glial fibrillary acidic protein (astrocytic marker), and myelin basic protein (oligodendrocytic marker). We also assessed cellular expression of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) via immunocytochemistry.

Results: Proliferation significantly decreased and tumor cell lysis significantly increased in all tumor cell lines after exposure to DMF. The human glioblastoma cells expressed the Neuronal Stem Cell marker CD133, Progenitor Cell markers, Neuronal and Astrocytic Cell Markers in vitro. When exposed to DMF, a drastic decline in CD133 expression was observed in addition to a decrease in the expression of NF-κB.

Conclusion: DMF appears to have a promising role in the treatment of malignant brain neoplasms. DMF reduced proliferation rate, generated cell lysis, decreased the expression of NF-κB, and restricted the growth of CD133 cells in gliomas. This suggests that DMF may be considered for further antitumor studies, and provide a new treatment modality for brain tumors.

Keywords: Astrocytes; NF-κB; dimethylfumarate; glioblastoma; glioma.