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Neuro Oncol. 2013 May;15(5):562-77. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/not005. Epub 2013 Feb 26.

Inhibition of prolyl 4-hydroxylase, beta polypeptide (P4HB) attenuates temozolomide resistance in malignant glioma via the endoplasmic reticulum stress response (ERSR) pathways.

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Department of Surgery, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China.



Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most aggressive malignant primary brain tumor of the central nervous system, is characterized by a relentless disease recurrence despite continued advancement in surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Resistance to temozolomide (TMZ), a standard chemotherapeutic agent for GBM, remains a major challenge. Understanding the mechanisms behind TMZ resistance can direct the development of novel strategies for the prevention, monitoring, and treatment of tumor relapse.


Our research platform, based on the establishment of 2 pairs of TMZ-sensitive/resistant GBM cells (D54-S and D54-R; U87-S and U87-R), has successfully identified prolyl 4-hydroxylase, beta polypeptide (P4HB) over-expression to be associated with an increased IC50 of TMZ. Elevated P4HB expression was verified using in vivo xenografts developed from U87-R cells. Clinically, we found that P4HB was relatively up-regulated in the recurrent GBM specimens that were initially responsive to TMZ but later developed acquired resistance, when compared with treatment-naive tumors. Functionally, P4HB inhibition by RNAi knockdown and bacitracin inhibition could sensitize D54-R and U87-R cells to TMZ in vitro and in vivo, whereas over-expression of P4HB in vitro conferred resistance to TMZ in both D54-S and U87-S cells. Moreover, targeting P4HB blocked its protective function and sensitized glioma cells to TMZ through the PERK arm of the endoplasmic reticulum stress response.


Our study identified a novel target together with its functional pathway in the development of TMZ resistance. P4HB inhibition may be used alone or in combination with TMZ for the treatment of TMZ-resistant GBM.

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