OKN-007 Increases temozolomide (TMZ) Sensitivity and Suppresses TMZ-Resistant Glioblastoma (GBM) Tumor Growth

Transl Oncol. 2019 Feb;12(2):320-335. doi: 10.1016/j.tranon.2018.10.002. Epub 2018 Nov 20.


Treatment of glioblastoma (GBM) remains a challenge using conventional chemotherapy, such as temozolomide (TMZ), and is often ineffective as a result of drug resistance. We have assessed a novel nitrone-based agent, OKN-007, and found it to be effective in decreasing tumor volumes and increasing survival in orthotopic GBM xenografts by decreasing cell proliferation and angiogenesis and increasing apoptosis. In this study, we assessed combining OKN-007 with TMZ in vivo in a human G55 GBM orthotopic xenograft model and in vitro in TMZ-resistant and TMZ-sensitive human GBM cell lines. For the in vivo studies, magnetic resonance imaging was used to assess tumor growth and vascular alterations. Percent animal survival was also determined. For the in vitro studies, cell growth, IC50 values, RNA-seq, RT-PCR, and ELISA were used to assess growth inhibition, possible mechanism-of actions (MOAs) associated with combined OKN-007 + TMZ versus TMZ alone, and gene and protein expression levels, respectively. Microarray analysis of OKN-007-treated rat F98 glioma tumors was also carried out to determine possible MOAs of OKN-007 in glioma-bearing animals either treated or not treated with OKN-007. OKN-007 seems to elicit its effect on GBM tumors via inhibition of tumorigenic TGF-β1, which affects the extracellular matrix. When combined with TMZ, OKN-007 significantly increases percent survival, decreases tumor volumes, and normalizes tumor blood vasculature in vivo compared to untreated tumors and seems to affect TMZ-resistant GBM cells possibly via IDO-1, SUMO2, and PFN1 in vitro. Combined OKN-007 + TMZ may be a potentially potent treatment strategy for GBM patients.