Research Papers:

Targeting glioblastoma with NK cells and mAb against NG2/CSPG4 prolongs animal survival

Aurelie Poli, Jian Wang, Olivia Domingues, Jesús Planagumà, Tao Yan, Kai Ove Skaftnesmo, Cecilie Brekke Rygh, Frits Thorsen, Emmet McCormack, François Hentges, Paal Henning Pedersen, Jacques Zimmer, Per Øyvind Enger and Martha Chekenya _

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Oncotarget. 2013; 4:1527-1546. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.1291

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Aurélie Poli1,2,*, Jian Wang1,*, Olivia Domingues2, Jesús Planagumà1, Tao Yan1,6, Cecilie Brekke Rygh1, Kai Ove Skaftnesmo1, Frits Thorsen1, Emmet McCormack3, François Hentges2, Paal Henning Pedersen4, Jacques Zimmer2, Per Øyvind Enger 1,4, and Martha Chekenya1,5

1 Translational Cancer Research, Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen, Norway

2 Laboratoire d’Immunogénétique-Allergologie, CRP-Santé, Luxembourg

3 Department of Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway

4 Department of Neurosurgery, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway

5 Department of Clinical Dentistry, University of Bergen, Norway

6 Department of Neurosurgery, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University, P.R. China

* These authors contributed equally


Martha Chekenya, email:

Keywords: Microglia, NK cells, glioblastoma, immunotherapy, NG2/CSPG4

Received: August 16, 2013 Accepted: September 7, 2013 Published: September 9, 2013


Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most malignant brain tumor where patients’ survival is only 14.6 months, despite multimodal therapy with debulking surgery, concurrent chemotherapy and radiotherapy. There is an urgent, unmet need for novel, effective therapeutic strategies for this devastating disease. Although several immunotherapies are under development for the treatment of GBM patients, the use of natural killer (NK) cells is still marginal despite this being a promising approach to treat cancer. In regard of our knowledge on the role of NG2/CSPG4 in promoting GBM aggressiveness we investigated the potential of an innovative immunotherapeutic strategy combining mAb9.2.27 against NG2/CSPG4 and NK cells in preclinical animal models of GBM. Multiple immune escape mechanisms maintain the tumor microenvironment in an anti-inflammatory state to promote tumor growth, however, the distinct roles of resident microglia versus recruited macrophages is not elucidated. We hypothesized that exploiting the cytokine release capabilities of activated (NK) cells to reverse the anti-inflammatory axis combined with mAb9.2.27 targeting the NG2/CSPG4 may favor tumor destruction by editing pro-GBM immune responses. Combination treatment with NK+mAb9.2.27 diminished tumor growth that was associated with reduced tumor proliferation, increased cellular apoptosis and prolonged survival compared to vehicle and monotherapy controls. The therapeutic efficacy was mediated by recruitment of CCR2low macrophages into the tumor microenvironment, increased ED1 and MHC class II expression on microglia that might render them competent for GBM antigen presentation, as well as elevated IFN-γ and TNF-α levels in the cerebrospinal fluid compared to controls. Depletion of systemic macrophages by liposome-encapsulated clodronate decreased the CCR2low macrophages recruited to the brain and abolished the beneficial outcomes. Moreover, mAb9.2.27 reversed tumor-promoting effects of patient-derived tumor-associated macrophage/microglia(TAM) ex vivo.Taken together, these findings indicate thatNK+mAb9.2.27 treatment may be an amenable therapeutic strategy to treat NG2/CSPG4 expressing GBMs. We provide a novel conceptual approach of combination immunotherapy for glioblastoma. The results traverse beyond the elucidation of NG2/CSPG4 as a therapeutic target, but demonstrate a proof of concept that this antibody may hold potential for the treatment of GBM by activation of tumor infiltrated microglia/macrophages.

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