In vitro effects of topotecan and ionizing radiation on TRAIL/ Apo2L-mediated apoptosis in malignant glioma

Emilio Ciusani, Danilo Croci, Maurizio Gelati, Chiara Calatozzolo, Francesca Sciacca, Luisa Fumagalli, Marco Balzarotti, Laura Fariselli, Amerigo Boiardi, Andrea Salmaggi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The survival of patients with malignant gliomas is still unsatisfactory despite multimodality treatment, therefore new therapeutic strategies are required. Tumor necrosis factor apoptosis related ligand (TRAIL/ Apo2L), a member of the tumor necrosis factor superfamily, may induce apoptotic cell death in several tumors, but not in normal cells, upon binding with specific receptors. In the present study, the expression and function of TRAIL receptors (TRAIL-R1/DR4 and TRAIL-R2/DR5) has been investigated in five human glioma cell lines (U87, U138, U373, A172, SW1783) in ex vivo tumors and in primary cultures obtained from the tumors. Our data show that gliomas preferentially express TRAIL R2 and that treatment with topotecan, a topoisomerase I inhibitor, significantly up-regulates its expression as detected by flow cytometry and western blotting. Moreover, in most cases, treatment with topotecan resulted in an increased sensitivity to TRAIL-dependent apoptosis, although cyclohexymide had to be added to induce apoptosis. On glioma cell lines, the effects of irradiation on TRAIL receptors were also analysed. In our experimental conditions, irradiation with 2 Gy had a modest additive effect on TRAIL-dependent apoptosis and was not able to modulate TRAIL receptor expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


  • Apoptosis
  • Glioma
  • Radiation
  • Topotecan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Oncology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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