Hypoxic Environment and Paired Hierarchical 3D and 2D Models of Pediatric H3.3-Mutated Gliomas Recreate the Patient Tumor Complexity

Cancers (Basel). 2019 Nov 26;11(12):1875. doi: 10.3390/cancers11121875.


Background: Pediatric high-grade gliomas (pHGGs) are facing a very dismal prognosis and representative pre-clinical models are needed for new treatment strategies. Here, we examined the relevance of collecting functional, genomic, and metabolomics data to validate patient-derived models in a hypoxic microenvironment.

Methods: From our biobank of pediatric brain tumor-derived models, we selected 11 pHGGs driven by the histone H3.3K28M mutation. We compared the features of four patient tumors to their paired cell lines and mouse xenografts using NGS (next generation sequencing), aCGH (array comparative genomic hybridization), RNA sequencing, WES (whole exome sequencing), immunocytochemistry, and HRMAS (high resolution magic angle spinning) spectroscopy. We developed a multicellular in vitro model of cell migration to mimic the brain hypoxic microenvironment. The live cell technology Incucyte© was used to assess drug responsiveness in variable oxygen conditions.

Results: The concurrent 2D and 3D cultures generated from the same tumor sample exhibited divergent but complementary features, recreating the patient intra-tumor complexity. Genomic and metabolomic data described the metabolic changes during pHGG progression and supported hypoxia as an important key to preserve the tumor metabolism in vitro and cell dissemination present in patients. The neurosphere features preserved tumor development and sensitivity to treatment.

Conclusion: We proposed a novel multistep work for the development and validation of patient-derived models, considering the immature and differentiated content and the tumor microenvironment of pHGGs.

Keywords: hypoxia; intra-tumor heterogeneity; models; pediatric high-grade glioma; tumor and cell metabolism.