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NMR Biomed. 2020 Jan 11:e4229. doi: 10.1002/nbm.4229. [Epub ahead of print]

Anti-tumour immune response in GL261 glioblastoma generated by Temozolomide Immune-Enhancing Metronomic Schedule monitored with MRSI-based nosological images.

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Departament de Bioquímica i Biologia Molecular, Unitat de Bioquímica de Biociències, Edifici Cs, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain.
Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red en Bioingeniería, Biomateriales y Nanomedicina (CIBER-BBN), 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallés, Spain.
Unit of Murine and Comparative Pathology, Department of Animal Medicine and Animal Surgery, Veterinary Faculty, UAB, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain.
Department of Applied Mathematics, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK.
Institut de Biotecnologia i de Biomedicina (IBB), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain.


Glioblastomas (GB) are brain tumours with poor prognosis even after aggressive therapy. Improvements in both therapeutic and follow-up strategies are urgently needed. In previous work we described an oscillatory pattern of response to Temozolomide (TMZ) using a standard administration protocol, detected through MRSI-based machine learning approaches. In the present work, we have introduced the Immune-Enhancing Metronomic Schedule (IMS) with an every 6-d TMZ administration at 60 mg/kg and investigated the consistence of such oscillatory behaviour. A total of n = 17 GL261 GB tumour-bearing C57BL/6j mice were studied with MRI/MRSI every 2 d, and the oscillatory behaviour (6.2 ± 1.5 d period from the TMZ administration day) was confirmed during response. Furthermore, IMS-TMZ produced significant improvement in mice survival (22.5 ± 3.0 d for controls vs 135.8 ± 78.2 for TMZ-treated), outperforming standard TMZ treatment. Histopathological correlation was investigated in selected tumour samples (n = 6) analyzing control and responding fields. Significant differences were found for CD3+ cells (lymphocytes, 3.3 ± 2.5 vs 4.8 ± 2.9, respectively) and Iba-1 immunostained area (microglia/macrophages, 16.8% ± 9.7% and 21.9% ± 11.4%, respectively). Unexpectedly, during IMS-TMZ treatment, tumours from some mice (n = 6) fully regressed and remained undetectable without further treatment for 1 mo. These animals were considered "cured" and a GL261 re-challenge experiment performed, with no tumour reappearance in five out of six cases. Heterogeneous therapy response outcomes were detected in tumour-bearing mice, and a selected group was investigated (n = 3 non-responders, n = 6 relapsing tumours, n = 3 controls). PD-L1 content was found ca. 3-fold increased in the relapsing group when comparing with control and non-responding groups, suggesting that increased lymphocyte inhibition could be associated to IMS-TMZ failure. Overall, data suggest that host immune response has a relevant role in therapy response/escape in GL261 tumours under IMS-TMZ therapy. This is associated to changes in the metabolomics pattern, oscillating every 6 d, in agreement with immune cycle length, which is being sampled by MRSI-derived nosological images.


PD-L1; glioma; immune memory, TMZ; immune response; metronomic therapy; orthotopic tumours


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