Targeting of histone demethylases KDM5A and KDM6B inhibits the proliferation of temozolomide-resistant glioblastoma cells

Massimo Romani, Antonio Daga, Barbara Banelli, Alessandra Forlani, Maria Pia Pistillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lysine histone demethylases (KDMs) are considered potential therapeutic targets in several tumors, including glioblastoma (GB). In particular, KDM5A is involved in the acquisition of temozolomide (TMZ) resistance in adult GB cells and UDX/KDM6B regulates H3K27 methylation, which is involved in the pediatric diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). Synthetic inhibitors of KDM5A (JIB 04 and CPI-455) efficiently block the proliferation of native and TMZ-resistant cells and the KDM6B inhibitor GSK J4 improves survival in a model of DIPG. The aim of our work was to determine if GSK J4 could be effective against GB cells that have acquired TMZ resistance and if it could synergize with TMZ or JIB 04 to increase the clinical utility of these molecules. Standard functional and pharmacological analytical procedures were utilized to determine the efficacy of the molecules under study when used alone or in combination against native GB cells and in a model of drug resistance. The results of this study indicated that although GSK J4 is active against native and TMZ-resistant cells, it does so at a lower efficacy than JIB 04. Drug combination studies revealed that GSK J4, differently from JIB 04, does not synergize with TMZ. Interestingly, GSK J4 and JIB 04 strongly synergize and are a potent combination against TMZ-resistant cells. Further studies in animal models will be necessary to determine if this combination of molecules might foster the development of novel therapeutic approaches for glioblastoma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number878
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2019


  • Drug resistance
  • Epigenetics
  • Glioblastoma
  • GSKJ4
  • Histone methylation
  • JIB04
  • KDM5A
  • KDM6B
  • Temozolomide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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