Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive malignant glioma and most lethal form of human brain cancer 1. GBM is also one of the most expensive and difficult cancers to treat by the surgical resection, local radiotherapy and temozolomide (TMZ) and still remains an incurable disease. Oncomine platform analysis and Gene Expression Profiling Interactive Analysis (GEPIA) show that the expression of transcription factor EB (TFEB) was significantly increased in GBMs and in GBM patients above stage IV. TFEB requires the oligomerization and localization to regulate transcription in the nucleus. Also, the expression and oligomerization of TFEB proteins contribute to the resistance of GBM cells to conventional chemotherapeutic agents such as TMZ. Thus, we investigated whether the combination of vorinostat and melatonin could overcome the effects of TFEB and induce apoptosis in GBM cells and glioma cancer stem cells (GSCs). The downregulation of TFEB and oligomerization by vorinostat and melatonin increased the expression of apoptosis-related genes and activated the apoptotic cell death process. Significantly, inhibition of TFEB expression dramatically decreased GSC tumor-sphere formation and size. The inhibitory effect of co-treatment resulted in decreased proliferation of GSCs and induced the expression of cleaved-PARP and p-γH2AX. Taken together, our results definitely demonstrate that TFEB expression contributes to enhanced resistance of GBMs to chemotherapy and that vorinostat and melatonin activated apoptosis signaling in GBM cells by inhibiting TFEB expression and oligomerization, suggesting that co-treatment of vorinostat and melatonin may be an effective therapeutic strategy for human brain cancers.
Keywords : Melatonin, Vorinostat, Apoptosis, TFEB, Oligomerization, Glioblastoma