Microvesicles as a Biomarker for Tumor Progression versus Treatment Effect in Radiation/Temozolomide-Treated Glioblastoma Patients

Transl Oncol. 2014 Dec;7(6):752-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tranon.2014.10.004.


The standard of care for glioblastoma (GB) is surgery followed by concurrent radiation therapy (RT) and temozolomide (TMZ) and then adjuvant TMZ. This regime is associated with increased survival but also increased occurrence of equivocal imaging findings, e.g., tumor progression (TP) versus treatment effect (TE), which is also referred to as pseudoprogression (PsP). Equivocal findings make decisions regarding further treatment difficult and often delayed. Because none of the current imaging assays have proven sensitive and specific for differentiation of TP versus TE/PsP, we investigated whether blood-derived microvesicles (MVs) would be a relevant assay.

Methods: 2.8 ml of citrated blood was collected from patients with GB at the time of their RT simulation, at the end of chemoradiation therapy (CRT), and multiple times following treatment. MVs were collected following multiple centrifugations (300g, 2500g, and 15,000g). The pellet from the final spin was analyzed using flow cytometry. A diameter of approximately 300 nm or greater and Pacific Blue-labeled Annexin V positivity were used to identify the MVs reported herein.

Results: We analyzed 19 blood samples from 11 patients with GB. MV counts in the patients with stable disease or TE/PsP were significantly lower than patients who developed TP (P = .014).

Conclusion: These preliminary data suggest that blood analysis for MVs from GB patients receiving CRT may be useful to distinguish TE/PsP from TP. MVs may add clarity to standard imaging for decision making in patients with equivocal imaging findings.