Segerman A, Niklasson M, Haglund C, Bergström T, Jarvius M, Xie Y, Westermark A, Sönmez D, Hermansson A, Kastemar M, Naimaie-Ali Z, Nyberg F, Berglund M, Sundström M, Hesselager G, Uhrbom L, Gustafsson M, Larsson R, Fryknäs M, Segerman B, Westermark B
Cell Reports 17 (11) 2994-3009 [2016-12-13; online 2016-12-16]
Intratumoral heterogeneity is a hallmark of glioblastoma multiforme and thought to negatively affect treatment efficacy. Here, we establish libraries of glioma-initiating cell (GIC) clones from patient samples and find extensive molecular and phenotypic variability among clones, including a range of responses to radiation and drugs. This widespread variability was observed as a continuum of multitherapy resistance phenotypes linked to a proneural-mesenchymal shift in the transcriptome. Multitherapy resistance was associated with a semi-stable cell state that was characterized by an altered DNA methylation pattern at promoter regions of mesenchymal master regulators and enhancers. The gradient of cell states within the GIC compartment constitutes a distinct form of heterogeneity. Our findings may open an avenue toward the development of new therapeutic rationales designed to reverse resistant cell states.