Send to

Choose Destination
Neuro Oncol. 2016 Mar;18(3):350-60. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/nov143. Epub 2015 Aug 5.

Comparative genomic and genetic analysis of glioblastoma-derived brain tumor-initiating cells and their parent tumors.

Author information

Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (B.D., Y. S.); Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (C.C.P., J.J.K.); Clark Smith Brain Tumour Research Centre, Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (C.C.P., C.S.P., W.W., J.J.K., M.D.B.); Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (H.A.L., O.D.S.).



Glioblastoma (GBM) is a fatal cancer that has eluded major therapeutic advances. Failure to make progress may reflect the absence of a human GBM model that could be used to test compounds for anti-GBM activity. In this respect, the development of brain tumor-initiating cell (BTIC) cultures is a step forward because BTICs appear to capture the molecular diversity of GBM better than traditional glioma cell lines. Here, we perform a comparative genomic and genetic analysis of BTICs and their parent tumors as preliminary evaluation of the BTIC model.


We assessed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), genome-wide copy number variations (CNVs), gene expression patterns, and molecular subtypes of 11 established BTIC lines and matched parent tumors.


Although CNV differences were noted, BTICs retained the major genomic alterations characteristic of GBM. SNP patterns were similar between BTICs and tumors. Importantly, recurring SNP or CNV alterations specific to BTICs were not seen. Comparative gene expression analysis and molecular subtyping revealed differences between BTICs and GBMs. These differences formed the basis of a 63-gene expression signature that distinguished cells from tumors; differentially expressed genes primarily involved metabolic processes. We also derived a set of 73 similarly expressed genes; these genes were not associated with specific biological functions.


Although not identical, established BTIC lines preserve the core molecular alterations seen in their parent tumors, as well as the genomic hallmarks of GBM, without acquiring recurring BTIC-specific changes.


brain tumor-initiating cells; copy number variation; genetic analyses; genomic analyses; glioblastoma

[Available on 2017-03-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center