NEO212 Inhibits Migration and Invasion of Glioma Stem Cells

Mol Cancer Ther. 2018 Mar;17(3):625-637. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-17-0591. Epub 2018 Feb 13.


Glioblastoma multiforme is a malignant brain tumor noted for its extensive vascularity, aggressiveness, and highly invasive nature, suggesting that cell migration plays an important role in tumor progression. The poor prognosis in GBM is associated with a high rate of tumor recurrence, and resistance to the standard of care chemotherapy, temozolomide (TMZ). The novel compound NEO212, a conjugate of TMZ and perillyl alcohol (POH), has proven to be 10-fold more cytotoxic to glioma stem cells (GSC) than TMZ, and is active against TMZ-resistant tumor cells. In this study, we show that NEO212 decreases migration and invasion of primary cultures of patient-derived GSCs, in both mesenchymal USC02 and proneural USC04 populations. The mechanism by which NEO212 reduces migration and invasion appears to be independent of its DNA alkylating effects, which cause cytotoxicity during the first hours of treatment, and is associated with a decrease in the FAK/Src signaling pathway, an effect not exhibited by TMZ. NEO212 also decreases the production of matrix metalloproteinases MMP2 and MMP9, crucial for GSC invasion. Gene expression analysis of epithelial and mesenchymal markers suggests that NEO212 increases the expression of epithelial-like characteristics, suggesting a reversion of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition process. Furthermore, in an in vivo orthotopic glioma model, NEO212 decreases tumor progression by reducing invasion of GSCs, thereby increasing survival time of mice. These studies indicate that NEO212, in addition to cytotoxicity, can effectively reduce migration and invasion in GSCs, thus exhibiting significant clinical value in the reduction of invasion and malignant glioma progression. Mol Cancer Ther; 17(3); 625-37. ©2018 AACR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects*
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Dacarbazine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Dacarbazine / pharmacology
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / drug effects
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / drug effects
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / genetics
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Glioma / drug therapy*
  • Glioma / genetics
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, SCID
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / drug effects*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays*


  • NEO212
  • Dacarbazine