Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most frequent and aggressive primary tumor type in the central nervous system in adults. Resistance to chemotherapy remains one of the major obstacles in GBM treatment. Identifying and overcoming the mechanisms of therapy resistance is instrumental to develop novel therapeutic approaches for patients with GBM. To determine the major drivers of temozolomide (TMZ) sensitivity, we performed shRNA screenings in GBM lines with different O6-methylguanine-DNA methyl-transferase (MGMT) status. We then evaluated dianhydrogalactitol (Val-083), a small alkylating molecule that induces interstrand DNA crosslinking, as a potential treatment to bypass TMZ-resistance mechanisms. We found that loss of mismatch repair (MMR) components and MGMT expression are mutually exclusive mechanisms driving TMZ resistance in vitro Treatment of established GBM cells and tumorsphere lines with Val-083 induces DNA damage and cell-cycle arrest in G2-M phase, independently of MGMT or MMR status, thus circumventing conventional resistance mechanisms to TMZ. Combination of TMZ and Val-083 shows a synergic cytotoxic effect in tumor cells in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo We propose this combinatorial treatment as a potential approach for patients with GBM.
©2021 American Association for Cancer Research.