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Mol Cancer Ther. 2012 Jun;11(6):1289-99. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-11-0801. Epub 2012 Apr 24.

STAT3 inhibition overcomes temozolomide resistance in glioblastoma by downregulating MGMT expression.

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  • 1Laboratory of Cancer Research, Department of Pathology, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is one of the most aggressive human tumors with a poor prognosis. Current standard treatment includes chemotherapy with the DNA-alkylating agent temozolomide concomitant with surgical resection and/or irradiation. However, a number of cases are resistant to temozolomide-induced DNA damage due to elevated expression of the DNA repair enzyme O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT). Here, we show that upregulation of both MGMT and STAT3 was accompanied with acquisition of temozolomide resistance in the GBM cell line U87. Inactivation of STAT3 by inhibitor or short hairpin RNA (shRNA) downregulated MGMT expression in GBM cell lines. MGMT upregulation was not observed by the treatment of interleukin (IL)-6 which is a strong activator of STAT3. Contrarily, forced expressed MGMT could be downregulated by STAT3 inhibitor which was partially rescued by the proteasome inhibitor, MG132, suggesting the STAT3-mediated posttranscriptional regulation of the protein levels of MGMT. Immunohistochemical analysis of 44 malignant glioma specimens showed significant positive correlation between expression levels of MGMT and phosphorylated STAT3 (p-STAT3; P < 0.001, r = 0.58). Importantly, the levels of both MGMT and p-STAT3 were increased in the recurrence compared with the primary lesion in paired identical tumors of 12 cases. Finally, we showed that STAT3 inhibitor or STAT3 knockdown potentiated temozolomide efficacy in temozolomide-resistant GBM cell lines. Therefore, STAT3 inhibitor might be one of the candidate reagents for combination therapy with temozolomide for patients with temozolomide-resistant GBM.

©2012 AACR

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