A key transcriptional factor, the signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 3, drives the tumorigenic components of malignant gliomas and is commonly over expressed. Phosphorylated STATS propagates tumorigenesis, including the glioma cancer stem cell (GSC) contribution, by enhancing proliferation, angiogenesis, invasion, and immunosuppression. We have developed WP1066, a potent orally administered inhibitor of STAT3 with excellent blood-brain-barrier penetration that displays marked efficacy against established intracerebral heterogeneous gliomas in vivo. We have demonstrated that a significant mechanism of WP1066's activity is a combination of both direct anti-tumor effects and the reversal of tumor-mediated immune suppression. In this proposed study, we hypothesize that that in addition to directly inhibiting cell proliferation, angiogenesis, and stemness, targeting p-STATS with the small molecule inhibitor WP1066 results in a therapeutically significant reversal of GBM-mediated immune suppression leading to improved patient survival. To test our hypothesis, our first aim will explore whether the immunological status of the tumor might influence the response to STAT3 blockade. This will involve correlating immune responses to GBM subtypes using The Cancer Genome Atlas and then validating these findings with immunohistochemistry and immune functional assays. This premise will be formally tested in murine models and then in human patients in Specific Aim 2. Given the importance of temozolomide in the treatment of GBM patients, we will then explore the therapeutic effects and immune modulation of the combination of WP1066 and temozolomide on the GSC and within murine models, which may influence, the selected targeted patient population during later clinical trials. Moreover, we will investigate a paradigm shifting concept of whether by simply controlling tumor-mediated immune suppression, sufficient anti-tumor immunity is induced for tumor clearance. Successful completion of this project could result in a novel agent that not only could impact the survival of malignant glioma patients but would also have therapeutic application for a wide variety of other malignancies, including those that metastasis to the brain.

Public Health Relevance

DO NOT EXCEED THE SPACE PROVIDED. The development of new, effective therapies for malignant gliomas that target novel pathways associated with central nervous system malignancies is a major unmet clinical need. This proposal will test a novel, small molecular inhibitor of the signal transduction and activator of transcription, (STAT)-3 pathway, key to tumorigenesis and immune suppression, for implementation in patients with established CNS malignancies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Specialized Center (P50)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
United States
Zip Code
Zinn, Pascal O; Singh, Sanjay K; Kotrotsou, Aikaterini et al. (2018) A Coclinical Radiogenomic Validation Study: Conserved Magnetic Resonance Radiomic Appearance of Periostin-Expressing Glioblastoma in Patients and Xenograft Models. Clin Cancer Res 24:6288-6299
Shah, Maitri Y; Ferracin, Manuela; Pileczki, Valentina et al. (2018) Cancer-associated rs6983267 SNP and its accompanying long noncoding RNA CCAT2 induce myeloid malignancies via unique SNP-specific RNA mutations. Genome Res 28:432-447
Mostovenko, Ekaterina; Végvári, Ákos; Rezeli, Melinda et al. (2018) Large Scale Identification of Variant Proteins in Glioma Stem Cells. ACS Chem Neurosci 9:73-79
Chen, Zhihua; Morales, John E; Guerrero, Paola A et al. (2018) PTPN12/PTP-PEST Regulates Phosphorylation-Dependent Ubiquitination and Stability of Focal Adhesion Substrates in Invasive Glioblastoma Cells. Cancer Res 78:3809-3822
Wang, Yugang; Xia, Yan; Lu, Zhimin (2018) Metabolic features of cancer cells. Cancer Commun (Lond) 38:65
Noh, Hyangsoon; Zhao, Qingnan; Yan, Jun et al. (2018) Cell surface vimentin-targeted monoclonal antibody 86C increases sensitivity to temozolomide in glioma stem cells. Cancer Lett 433:176-185
Lee, Jong-Ho; Liu, Rui; Li, Jing et al. (2018) EGFR-Phosphorylated Platelet Isoform of Phosphofructokinase 1 Promotes PI3K Activation. Mol Cell 70:197-210.e7
Lang, Frederick F; Conrad, Charles; Gomez-Manzano, Candelaria et al. (2018) Phase I Study of DNX-2401 (Delta-24-RGD) Oncolytic Adenovirus: Replication and Immunotherapeutic Effects in Recurrent Malignant Glioma. J Clin Oncol 36:1419-1427
Wang, Qianghu; Hu, Baoli; Hu, Xin et al. (2018) Tumor Evolution of Glioma-Intrinsic Gene Expression Subtypes Associates with Immunological Changes in the Microenvironment. Cancer Cell 33:152
Dong, Jianwen; Park, Soon Young; Nguyen, Nghi et al. (2018) The polo-like kinase 1 inhibitor volasertib synergistically increases radiation efficacy in glioma stem cells. Oncotarget 9:10497-10509

Showing the most recent 10 out of 232 publications