Exploring the Potential of Extracellular Vesicles in Glioblastoma Treatment: Insights from Our Laboratory

Understanding Glioblastoma: A Persistent Challenge

In our laboratory’s continuous effort to combat glioblastoma (GBM), one of the most aggressive and difficult-to-treat brain tumors, we’ve been intrigued by the role of genetic markers in its management. GBM’s notorious resilience and poor prognosis often link back to specific genetic alterations, such as the amplification of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and the presence of the EGFRvIII mutation in a significant subset of tumors. These findings have led us to explore targeted therapies, and in particular, the effectiveness of dacomitinib, an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), in treating recurrent GBM (rGBM).

Our Recent Endeavors with Tumor-Derived Extracellular Vesicles

Following up on the promising results from a multicenter phase II study on dacomitinib, our team has turned its focus to the intriguing world of extracellular vesicles (EVs). These tiny particles, released by cells into the bloodstream, may carry a wealth of information about the tumor’s genetic makeup. We embarked on a project to analyze the genetic content within these vesicles, with the hope of uncovering biomarkers that could help in predicting treatment response.

A Closer Look at the Serum EV Transcriptome

By collecting serum samples from rGBM patients who have shown varying responses to dacomitinib treatment, as well as from a control group of healthy individuals, we’ve ventured into a detailed analysis of the EV transcriptome. Utilizing long RNA sequencing, our study has identified a vast array of coding RNAs within the serum EVs, numbering over 10,000. This rich genetic diversity in the EV transcriptome has provided us with a unique signature that distinguishes GBM patients from healthy individuals, offering new insights into the disease’s molecular underpinnings.

Towards Personalized Treatment Strategies

More than just identifying the disease, our research aims to refine the approach to GBM treatment. By analyzing the genetic enrichment within the EVs, we’re beginning to understand how to differentiate between patients who are likely to respond to dacomitinib therapy and those who might not. This potential for stratification, both before and after the commencement of treatment, represents a step forward in our quest to tailor therapies more closely to the needs of individual patients.

Reflections and Future Directions

Our journey into the study of extracellular vesicles and their genetic cargo is a humble yet hopeful stride towards unraveling the complexities of glioblastoma. While our findings are preliminary, they underscore the potential of using liquid biopsies to refine and personalize cancer treatment. As we continue to delve into this research, we’re reminded of the vast unknowns that still lie ahead and the collaborative effort required to turn these insights into tangible benefits for patients facing GBM.

Keywords: EGFR, RNA sequencing, dacomitinib, glioblastoma, liquid biopsy, extracellular vesicles.

Neurooncol Adv. 2023 Sep 4;5(1):vdad104. doi: 10.1093/noajnl/vdad104. eCollection 2023 Jan-Dec. Longitudinal Analysis of Serum-Derived Extracellular Vesicle RNA to Monitor Dacomitinib Treatment Response in EGFR-Amplified Recurrent Glioblastoma Patients by Anudeep Yekula, Tiffaney Hsia, Robert R Kitchen, Sudipto K Chakrabortty, Wei Yu, Syeda M Batool, Brian Lewis, Antoni J Szeglowski, Ralph Weissleder, Hakho Lee, Andrew S Chi, Tracy Batchelor, Bob S Carter, Xandra O Breakefield, Johan Skog, Leonora Balaj


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