A Small-Molecule Tankyrase Inhibitor Reduces Glioma Stem Cell Proliferation and Sphere Formation

Cancers (Basel). 2020 Jun 19;12(6):1630. doi: 10.3390/cancers12061630.


Evidence suggests that the growth and therapeutic resistance of glioblastoma (GBM) may be enabled by a population of glioma stem cells (GSCs) that are regulated by typical stem cell pathways, including the WNT/β-catenin signaling pathway. We wanted to explore the effect of treating GSCs with a small-molecule inhibitor of tankyrase, G007-LK, which has been shown to be a potent modulator of the WNT/β-catenin and Hippo pathways in colon cancer. Four primary GSC cultures and two primary adult neural stem cell cultures were treated with G007-LK and subsequently evaluated through the measurement of growth characteristics, as well as the expression of WNT/β-catenin and Hippo signaling pathway-related proteins and genes. Treatment with G007-LK decreased in vitro proliferation and sphere formation in all four primary GSC cultures in a dose-dependent manner. G007-LK treatment altered the expression of key downstream WNT/β-catenin and Hippo signaling pathway-related proteins and genes. Finally, cotreatment with the established GBM chemotherapeutic compound temozolomide (TMZ) led to an additive reduction in sphere formation, suggesting that WNT/β-catenin signaling may contribute to TMZ resistance. These observations suggest that tankyrase inhibition may serve as a supplement to current GBM therapy, although more work is needed to determine the exact downstream mechanisms involved.

Keywords: Hippo; WNT; glioblastoma; glioma stem cells; tankyrase; temozolomide; β-catenin.