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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Cancer 1/2017

Synergistic inhibition of tumor growth by combination treatment with drugs against different subpopulations of glioblastoma cells

BMC Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2017
Chia-Hsin Chang, Wei-Ting Liu, Hui-Chi Hung, Chia-Yu Gean, Hong-Ming Tsai, Chun-Lin Su, Po-Wu Gean



Glioma stem cells (GSCs) contribute to tumor recurrence and drug resistance. This study characterizes the tumorigenesis of CD133+ cells and their sensitivity to pharmacological inhibition.


GSCs from human U87 and rat C6 glioblastoma cell lines were isolated via magnetic cell sorting using CD133 as a cancer stem cell marker. Cell proliferation was determined using the WST-1 assay. An intracranial mouse model and bioluminescence imaging were used to assess the effects of drugs on tumor growth in vivo.


CD133+ cells expressed stem cell markers and exhibited self-renewal and enhanced tumor formation. Minocycline (Mino) was more effective in reducing the survival rate of CD133+ cells, whereas CD133 cells were more sensitive to inhibition by the signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) inhibitor. Inhibition of STAT3 decreased the expression of CD133+ stem cell markers. The combination of Mino and STAT3 inhibitor synergistically reduced the cell viability of glioma cells. Furthermore, this combination synergistically suppressed tumor growth in nude mice.


The results suggest that concurrent targeting of different subpopulations of glioblastoma cells may be an effective therapeutic strategy for patients with malignant glioma.
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