Research Papers:

Promoting oligodendroglial-oriented differentiation of glioma stem cell: a repurposing of quetiapine for the treatment of malignant glioma

Yun Wang, Nanxin Huang, Hongli Li, Shubao Liu, Xianjun Chen, Shichang Yu, Nan Wu, Xiu-Wu Bian, Hai-Ying Shen, Chengren Li _ and Lan Xiao

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:37511-37524. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16400

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Yun Wang1,*, Nanxin Huang1,*, Hongli Li1, Shubao Liu1, Xianjun Chen1, Shichang Yu2, Nan Wu3, Xiu-Wu Bian2, Hai-Ying Shen4,*, Chengren Li1 and Lan Xiao1,*

1Department of Histology and Embryology, Chongqing Key Laboratory of Neurobiology, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing 400038, China

2Department of Pathology, Southwest Hospital, Chongqing 400038, China

3Department of Neurosurgery, Southwest Hospital, Chongqing 400038, China

4Robert Stone Dow Neurobiology Laboratories, Legacy Research Institute, Portland, OR 97232, USA

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Chengren Li, email: [email protected]

Lan Xiao, email: [email protected]

Keywords: quetiapine, glioma stem cell, proliferation, differentiation, Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway

Received: November 02, 2016    Accepted: March 01, 2017    Published: March 21, 2017


As a major contributor of chemotherapy resistance and malignant recurrence, glioma stem cells (GSCs) have been proposed as a target for the treatment of gliomas. To evaluate the therapeutic potential of quetiapine (QUE), an atypical antipsychotic, for the treatment of malignant glioma, we established mouse models with GSCs-initiated orthotopic xenograft gliomas and subcutaneous xenograft tumors, using GSCs purified from glioblastoma cell line GL261. We investigated antitumor effects of QUE on xenograft gliomas and its underlying mechanisms on GSCs. Our data demonstrated that (i) QUE monotherapy can effectively suppress GSCs-initiated tumor growth; (ii) QUE has synergistic effects with temozolomide (TMZ) on glioma suppression, and importantly, QUE can effectively suppress TMZ-resistant (or -escaped) tumors generated from GSCs; (iii) mechanistically, the anti-glioma effect of QUE was due to its actions of promoting the differentiation of GSCs into oligodendrocyte (OL)-like cells and its inhibitory effect on the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Together, our findings suggest an effective approach for anti-gliomagenic treatment via targeting OL-oriented differentiation of GSCs. This also opens a door for repurposing QUE, an FDA approved drug, for the treatment of malignant glioma.

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