Celastrol-induced degradation of FANCD2 sensitizes pediatric high-grade gliomas to the DNA-crosslinking agent carboplatin

Dennis S. Metselaar, Michael H. Meel, Bente Benedict, Piotr Waranecki, Jan Koster, Gertjan J.L. Kaspers, Esther Hulleman

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftArtikelpeer review

27 Citaten (Scopus)


Background: Pediatric high-grade gliomas (pHGG) are the leading cause of cancer-related death during childhood. Due to their diffuse growth characteristics, chemoresistance and location behind the blood-brain barrier (BBB), the prognosis of pHGG has barely improved in the past decades. As such, there is a dire need for new therapies that circumvent those difficulties. Since aberrant expression of DNA damage-response associated Fanconi anemia proteins play a central role in the onset and therapy resistance of many cancers, we here investigated if FANCD2 depletion could sensitize pHGG to additional DNA damage.

Methods: We determined the capacity of celastrol, a BBB-penetrable compound that degrades FANCD2, to sensitize glioma cells to the archetypical DNA-crosslinking agent carboplatin in vitro in seven patient-derived pHGG models. In addition, we tested this drug combination in vivo in a patient-derived orthotopic pHGG xenograft model. Underlying mechanisms to drug response were investigated using mRNA expression profiling, western blotting, immunofluorescence, FANCD2 knockdown and DNA fiber assays.

Findings: FANCD2 is overexpressed in HGGs and depletion of FANCD2 by celastrol synergises with carboplatin to induce cytotoxicity. Combination therapy prolongs survival of pHGG-bearing mice over monotherapy and control groups in vivo (P<0.05). In addition, our results suggest that celastrol treatment stalls ongoing replication forks, causing sensitivity to DNA-crosslinking in FANCD2-dependent glioma cells.

Interpretation: Our results show that depletion of FANCD2 acts as a chemo-sensitizing strategy in pHGG. Combination therapy using celastrol and carboplatin might serve as a clinically relevant strategy for the treatment of pHGG.
Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)81-92
Aantal pagina's11
StatusGepubliceerd - dec. 2019


  • Celastrol
  • DNA-crosslinking
  • FANCD2
  • Pediatric high-grade glioma
  • Preclinical therapy development

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