- Heavy ions and X-rays in brain tumor treatment : a comparison of their biological effects on tissue slice cultures (2009)
- Background: In this interdisciplinary project, the biological effects of heavy ions are compared to those of X-rays using tissue slice culture preparations from rodents and humans. Advantages of this biological model are the conservation of an organotypic environment and the independency from genetic immortalization strategies used to generate cell lines. Its open access allows easy treatment and observation via live-imaging microscopy. Materials and methods: Rat brains and human brain tumor tissue are cut into 300 micro m thick tissue slices. These slices are cultivated using a membrane-based culture system and kept in an incubator at 37°C until treatment. The slices are treated with X-rays at the radiation facility of the University Hospital in Frankfurt at doses of up to 40 Gy. The heavy ion irradiations were performed at the UNILAC facility at GSI with different ions of 11.4 A MeV and fluences ranging from 0.5–10 x 106 particles/cm². Using 3D-confocal microscopy, cell-death and immune cell activation of the irradiated slices are analyzed. Planning of the irradiation experiments is done with simulation programs developed at GSI and FIAS. Results: After receiving a single application of either X-rays or heavy ions, slices were kept in culture for up to 9d post irradiation. DNA damage was visualized using gamma H2AXstaining. Here, a dose-dependent increase and time-dependent decrease could clearly be observed for the X-ray irradiation. Slices irradiated with heavy ions showed less gamma H2AX-positive cells distributed evenly throughout the slice, even though particles were calculated to penetrate only 90–100 micro m into the slice. Conclusions: Single irradiations of brain tissue, even at high doses of 40 Gy, will result neither in tissue damage visible on a macroscopic level nor necrosis. This is in line with the view that the brain is highly radio-resistant. However, DNA damage can be detected very well in tissue slices using gamma H2AX-immuno staining. Thus, slice cultures are an excellent tool to study radiation-induced damage and repair mechanisms in living tissues.
- Differential utilization of ketone bodies by neurons and glioma cell lines: a rationale for ketogenic diet as experimental glioma therapy (2011)
- Background: Even in the presence of oxygen, malignant cells often highly depend on glycolysis for energy generation, a phenomenon known as the Warburg effect. One strategy targeting this metabolic phenotype is glucose restriction by administration of a high-fat, low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diet. Under these conditions, ketone bodies are generated serving as an important energy source at least for non-transformed cells. Methods: To investigate whether a ketogenic diet might selectively impair energy metabolism in tumor cells, we characterized in vitro effects of the principle ketone body 3-hydroxybutyrate in rat hippocampal neurons and five glioma cell lines. In vivo, a non-calorie-restricted ketogenic diet was examined in an orthotopic xenograft glioma mouse model. Results: The ketone body metabolizing enzymes 3-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase 1 and 2 (BDH1 and 2), 3-oxoacid-CoA transferase 1 (OXCT1) and acetyl-CoA acetyltransferase 1 (ACAT1) were expressed at the mRNA and protein level in all glioma cell lines. However, no activation of the hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha (HIF-1alpha) pathway was observed in glioma cells, consistent with the absence of substantial 3-hydroxybutyrate metabolism and subsequent accumulation of succinate. Further, 3-hydroxybutyrate rescued hippocampal neurons from glucose withdrawal-induced cell death but did not protect glioma cell lines. In hypoxia, mRNA expression of OXCT1, ACAT1, BDH1 and 2 was downregulated. In vivo, the ketogenic diet led to a robust increase of blood 3-hydroxybutyrate, but did not alter blood glucose levels or improve survival. Conclusion: In summary, glioma cells are incapable of compensating for glucose restriction by metabolizing ketone bodies in vitro, suggesting a potential disadvantage of tumor cells compared to normal cells under a carbohydrate-restricted ketogenic diet. Further investigations are necessary to identify co-treatment modalities, e.g. glycolysis inhibitors or antiangiogenic agents that efficiently target non-oxidative pathways.
- Phospholipid metabolites in recurrent glioblastoma: in vivo markers detect different tumor phenotypes before and under antiangiogenic therapy (2013)
- Purpose: Metabolic changes upon antiangiogenic therapy of recurrent glioblastomas (rGBMs) may provide new biomarkers for treatment efficacy. Since in vitro models showed that phospholipid membrane metabolism provides specific information on tumor growth we employed in-vivo MR-spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) of human rGBMs before and under bevacizumab (BVZ) to measure concentrations of phosphocholine (PCho), phosphoethanolamine (PEth), glycerophosphocholine (GPC), and glyceroethanolamine (GPE). Methods: 1H and 31P MRSI was prospectively performed in 32 patients with rGBMs before and under BVZ therapy at 8 weeks intervals until tumor progression. Patients were dichotomized into subjects with long overall survival (OS) (>median OS) and short OS (<median OS) survival time from BVZ-onset. Metabolite concentrations from tumor tissue and their ratios were compared to contralateral normal-appearing tissue (control). Results: Before BVZ, 1H-detectable choline signals (total GPC and PCho) in rGBMs were elevated but significance failed after dichotomizing. For metabolite ratios obtained by 31P MRSI, the short-OS group showed higher PCho/GPC (p = 0.004) in rGBMs compared to control tissue before BVZ while PEth/GPE was elevated in rGBMs of both groups (long-OS p = 0.04; short-OS p = 0.003). Under BVZ, PCho/GPC and PEth/GPE in the tumor initially decreased (p = 0.04) but only PCho/GPC re-increased upon tumor progression (p = 0.02). Intriguingly, in normal-appearing tissue an initial PEth/GPE decrease (p = 0.047) was followed by an increase at the time of tumor progression (p = 0.031). Conclusion: An elevated PCho/GPC ratio in the short-OS group suggests that it is a negative predictive marker for BVZ efficacy. These gliomas may represent a malignant phenotype even growing under anti-VEGF treatment. Elevated PEth/GPE may represent an in-vivo biomarker more sensitive to GBM infiltration than MRI.
- Paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration associated with lymphoepithelial carcinoma of the tonsil (2013)
- Background: Paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration (PCD) is a classical tumor-associated, immune-mediated disease typically associated with gynecological malignancies, small-cell lung-cancer or lymphoma. Case presentation: Here we present the case of a 38-year old male with an over 12 months rapidly progressive cerebellar syndrome. Extensive diagnostic workup revealed selective hypermetabolism of the right tonsil in whole-body PET. Histological examination after tonsillectomy demonstrated a lymphoepithelial carcinoma of the tonsil and the tongue base strongly suggesting a paraneoplastic cause of the cerebellar syndrome. To the best of our knowledge this is the first case of an association of a lymphoepithelial carcinoma, a rare pharyngeal tumor, with PCD. Conclusions: In cases of classical paraneoplastic syndromes an extensive search for neoplasms should be performed including whole-body PET to detect tumors early in the course of the disease.