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Glioblastoma response to standard treatment stratifies patients into two responder subtypes, creating the potential for precision medicine

Friday 19 May 2023, 1.00PM

Speaker(s): Dr Lucy Stead, Associate Professor, Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common primary malignant brain tumour in adults. Despite aggressive treatment, a resistant tumour recurs in practically all patients. We therefore aimed to better understand the mechanisms driving this treatment resistance through investigating changes in gene expression across pairs of primary and recurrent GBM tumours.

We generated or acquired bulk tumour RNA sequencing data for primary and recurrent tumours from 107 patients who received standard treatment. Differential expression analysis between primary and recurrent samples found that the most dysregulated genes were involved in neurodevelopment and neurodifferentiation. We therefore used a publicly available ChIPseq database to identify DNA binding factors for which binding sites are enriched in the promotors of genes with the largest expression changes from primary to recurrent.

Jumonji and AT-Rich Interacting Domain 2 (JARID2) was most strongly enriched for binding to promotors of dysregulated genes. 65 patients showed an up-regulation and 42 showed a down-regulation of genes bound by this protein. The same set of JARID2 bound genes were found to be dysregulated in each direction, and contributed to the largest source of variation between samples in their response to treatment.

Further enrichment analyses indicated that ‘Up’ responders may resist treatment through reduced proliferation and increased interaction with the tumour microenvironment, whereas 'Down' responders instead rely on a shift to mesenchymal cell states.

These results indicate that GBM tumours can be split into two subtypes that transcriptionally reprogramme in different directions through treatment and may benefit from different treatment approaches.

Location: Dianna Bowles Lecture Theatre B/K018

Admission: In-person