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Genes Cancer. 2010 Aug;1(8):822-35. doi: 10.1177/1947601910383564.

Inhibition of notch signaling blocks growth of glioblastoma cell lines and tumor neurospheres.

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Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA.


Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common malignant brain tumor that is characterized by high proliferative rate and invasiveness. Since dysregulation of Notch signaling is implicated in the pathogenesis of many human cancers, here we investigated the role of Notch signaling in GBM. We found that there is aberrant activation of Notch signaling in GBM cell lines and human GBM-derived neurospheres. Inhibition of Notch signaling via the expression of a dominant negative form of the Notch coactivator, mastermind-like 1 (DN-MAML1), or the treatment of a γ-secretase inhibitor, (GSI) MRK-003, resulted in a significant reduction in GBM cell growth in vitro and in vivo. Knockdown of individual Notch receptors revealed that Notch1 and Notch2 receptors differentially contributed to GBM cell growth, with Notch2 having a predominant role. Furthermore, blockade of Notch signaling inhibited the proliferation of human GBM-derived neurospheres in vitro and in vivo. Our overall data indicate that Notch signaling contributes significantly to optimal GBM growth, strongly supporting that the Notch pathway is a promising therapeutic target for GBM.


Notch signaling; cell growth; glioblastoma; tumor neurospheres; γ-secretase inhibitor

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