Hypofractionated radiotherapy is the mainstay of the current treatment for glioblastoma. However, the efficacy of radiotherapy is hindered by the high degree of radioresistance associated with glioma stem cells comprising a heterogeneous compartment of cell lineages differing in their phenotypic characteristics, molecular signatures, and biological responses to external signals. Reconstruction of radiation responses in glioma stem cells is necessary for understanding the biological and molecular determinants of glioblastoma radioresistance. To date, there is a paucity of information on the longitudinal outcomes of hypofractionated radiation in glioma stem cells. This study addresses long-term outcomes of hypofractionated radiation in human glioma stem cells by using a combinatorial approach integrating parallel assessments of the tumor-propagating capacity, stemness-associated properties, and array-based profiling of gene expression. The study reveals a broad spectrum of changes in the tumor-propagating capacity of glioma stem cells after radiation and finds association with proliferative changes at the onset of differentiation. Evidence is provided that parallel transcriptomic patterns and a cumulative impact of pathways involved in the regulation of apoptosis, neural differentiation, and cell proliferation underly similarities in tumorigenicity changes after radiation.
Keywords: glioblastoma; glioma stem cells; hypofractionated radiation; radioresistance.