Metformin treatment reduces temozolomide resistance of glioblastoma cells

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It has been reported that metformin acts synergistically with temozolomide (TMZ) to inhibit proliferation of glioma cells including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). However, the molecular mechanism underlying how metformin exerts its anticancer effects remains elusive. We used a combined experimental and bioinformatics approach to identify genes and complex regulatory/signal transduction networks that are involved in restoring TMZ sensitivity of GBM cells after metformin treatment. First, we established TMZ resistant GBM cell lines and found that the resistant cells regained TMZ sensitivity after metformin treatment. We further identified that metformin down-regulates SOX2 expression in TMZ-resistant glioma cells, reduces neurosphere formation capacity of glioblastoma cells, and inhibits GBM xenograft growth in vivo. Finally, the global gene expression profiling data reveals that multiple pathways are involved in metformin treatment related gene expression changes, including fatty acid metabolism and RNA binding and splicing pathways. Our work provided insight of the mechanisms on potential synergistic effects of TMZ and metformin in the treatment of glioblastoma, which will in turn yield potentially translational value for clinical applications.




Yang, S. H., Li, S., Lu, G., Xue, H., Kim, D. H., Zhu, J. J., & Liu, Y. (2016). Metformin treatment reduces temozolomide resistance of glioblastoma cells. Oncotarget, 7(48), 78787–78803.

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