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Neuro Oncol. 2012 Apr;14(4):405-15. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/nos005. Epub 2012 Feb 20.

Induction of brain tumor stem cell apoptosis by FTY720: a potential therapeutic agent for glioblastoma.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.


FTY720 is a sphingosine analogue that down regulates expression of sphingosine-1-phosphate receptors and causes apoptosis of multiple tumor cell types, including glioma cells. This study examined the effect of FTY720 on brain tumor stem cells (BTSCs) derived from human glioblastoma (GBM) tissue. FTY720 treatment of BTSCs led to rapid inactivation of ERK MAP kinase, leading to upregulation of the BH3-only protein Bim and apoptosis. In combination with temozolomide (TMZ), the current standard chemotherapeutic agent for GBM, FTY720 synergistically induced BTSC apoptosis. FTY720 also slowed growth of intracranial xenograft tumors in nude mice and augmented the therapeutic effect of TMZ, leading to enhanced survival. Furthermore, the combination of FTY720 and TMZ decreased the invasiveness of BTSCs in mouse brains. FTY720 is known to cross the blood-brain barrier and recently received Food and Drug Administration approval for treatment of relapsing multiple sclerosis. Thus, FTY720 is an excellent potential therapeutic agent for treatment of GBM.

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