Aberrantly activated Cox-2 and Wnt signaling interact to maintain cancer stem cells in glioblastoma

Megan Wu, Jennifer Guan, Chris Li, Simon Gunter, Labeeba Nusrat, Sheena Ng, Karan Dhand, Cindi Morshead, Albert Kim, Sunit Das

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Glioblastoma recurrence after aggressive therapy typically occurs within six months, and patients inevitably succumb to their disease. Tumor recurrence is driven by a subpopulation of cancer stem cells in glioblastoma (glioblastoma stem-like cells, GSCs), which exhibit resistance to cytotoxic therapies, compared to their non-stem-cell counterparts. Here, we show that the Cox-2 and Wnt signaling pathways are aberrantly activated in GSCs and interact to maintain the cancer stem cell identity. Cox-2 stimulates GSC self-renewal and proliferation through prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), which in turn activates the Wnt signaling pathway. Wnt signaling underlies PGE2-induced GSC selfrenewal and independently directs GSC self-renewal and proliferation. Inhibition of PGE2 enhances the effect of temozolomide on GSCs, but affords only a modest survival advantage in a xenograft model in the setting of COX-independent Wnt activation. Our findings uncover an aberrant positive feedback interaction between the Cox-2/PGE2 and Wnt pathways that mediates the stem-like state in glioblastoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82217-82230
Number of pages14
Issue number47
StatePublished - 2017


  • Cancer stem cells
  • Cyclooxygenase
  • Glioblastoma
  • Prostaglandin E2
  • Wnt


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