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Mol Cancer Ther. 2007 Jun;6(6):1745-54. Epub 2007 May 31.

The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma agonist troglitazone inhibits transforming growth factor-beta-mediated glioma cell migration and brain invasion.

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  • 1Department of NeuropathologyI, University of Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany, Germany.


Gliomas are the most common primary tumors of the central nervous system, with glioblastomas as the most malignant entity. Rapid proliferation and diffuse brain invasion of these tumors are likely to determine the unfavorable prognosis. Considering its promigratory properties, the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) signaling pathway has become a major therapeutic target. Analyses of resected glioma tissues revealed an intriguing correlation between tumor grade and the expression of TGF-beta(1-3) as well as their receptors I and II. Here, we analyzed the effects of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR-gamma) agonists on glioma proliferation, migration, and brain invasion. Using an organotypic glioma invasion model, we show that micromolar doses of the PPAR-gamma activator troglitazone blocked glioma progression without neurotoxic damage to the organotypic neuronal environment observed. This intriguing antiglioma property of troglitazone seems to be only partially based on its moderate cytostatic effects. We identified troglitazone as a potent inhibitor of glioma cell migration and brain invasion, which occurred in a PPAR-gamma-independent manner. The antimigratory property of troglitazone was in concordance with the transcriptional repression of TGF-beta(1-3) and their receptors I and II and associated with reduced TGF-beta release. Due to its capacity to counteract TGF-beta release and glioma cell motility and invasiveness already at low micromolar doses, troglitazone represents a promising drug for adjuvant therapy of glioma and other highly migratory tumor entities.

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