Hypoxia-inducible genes may contribute to therapy resistance in glioblastoma (GBM), the most aggressive and hypoxic brain tumours. It has been recently reported that erythropoietin (EPO) and its receptor (EPOR) are involved in glioma growth. We now investigated whether EPOR signalling may modulate the efficacy of the GBM current treatment based on chemotherapy (temozolomide, TMZ) and radiotherapy (X-rays). Using RNA interference, we showed on glioma cell lines (U87 and U251) that EPOR silencing induces a G2/M cell cycle arrest, consistent with the slowdown of glioma growth induced by EPOR knock-down. In vivo, we also reported that EPOR silencing combined with TMZ treatment is more efficient to delay tumour recurrence and to prolong animal survival compared to TMZ alone. In vitro, we showed that EPOR silencing not only increases the sensitivity of glioma cells to TMZ as well as X-rays but also counteracts the hypoxia-induced chemo- and radioresistance. Silencing EPOR on glioma cells exposed to conventional treatments enhances senescence and induces a robust genomic instability that leads to caspase-dependent mitotic death by increasing the number of polyploid cells and cyclin B1 expression. Overall these data suggest that EPOR could be an attractive target to overcome therapeutic resistance toward ionising radiation or temozolomide.
Pérès, E. A., Gérault, A. N., Valable, S., Roussel, S., Toutain, J., Divoux, D., … Petit, E. (2015). Silencing erythropoietin receptor on glioma cells reinforces efficacy of temozolomide and X-rays through senescence and mitotic catastrophe. Oncotarget, 6(4), 2101–2119. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.2937