Genetic driver mutations introduced in identical cell-of-origin in murine glioblastoma reveal distinct immune landscapes but similar response to checkpoint blockade

Glia. 2020 Oct;68(10):2148-2166. doi: 10.1002/glia.23883. Epub 2020 Jul 8.

Abstract

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive primary brain tumor. In addition to being genetically heterogeneous, GBMs are also immunologically heterogeneous. However, whether the differences in immune microenvironment are driven by genetic driver mutation is unexplored. By leveraging the versatile RCAS/tv-a somatic gene transfer system, we establish a mouse model for Classical GBM by introducing EGFRvIII expression in Nestin-positive neural stem/progenitor cells in adult mice. Along with our previously published Nf1-silenced and PDGFB-overexpressing models, we investigate the immune microenvironments of the three models of human GBM subtypes by unbiased multiplex profiling. We demonstrate that both the quantity and composition of the microenvironmental myeloid cells are dictated by the genetic driver mutations, closely mimicking what was observed in human GBM subtypes. These myeloid cells express high levels of the immune checkpoint protein PD-L1; however, PD-L1 targeted therapies alone or in combination with irradiation are unable to increase the survival time of tumor-bearing mice regardless of the driver mutations, reflecting the outcomes of recent human trials. Together, these results highlight the critical utility of immunocompetent mouse models for preclinical studies of GBM, making these models indispensable tools for understanding the resistance mechanisms of immune checkpoint blockade in GBM and immune cell-targeting drug discovery.

Keywords: EGFRvIII; GEMM of GBM; PD-L1; glioblastoma; microenvironment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural