Overexpression of α4 chain-containing laminins in human glial tumors identified by gene microarray analysis

Julia Y. Ljubimova, Alexander J. Lakhter, Anna Loksh, William H. Yong, Mary S. Riedinger, Jeffrey H. Miner, Lydia M. Sorokin, Alexander V. Ljubimov, Keith L. Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Differential gene expression in tumors often involves growth factors and extracellular matrix/basement membrane components. Here, 11, 000-gene microarray was used to identify gene expression profiles in brain tumors including high-grade gliomas [glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and anaplastic astrocytoma], low-grade astrocytomas, or benign extra-axial brain tumors (meningioma) in comparison with normal brain tissue. Histologically normal tissues adjacent to GBMs were also studied. All GBMs studied overexpressed 14 known genes compared with normal human brain tissue. Overexpressed genes belonged to two broad groups: (a) growth factor-related genes; and (b) structural/extracellular matrix-related genes. For most of these 14 genes, expression levels were lower in low-grade astrocytoma than in GBM and were barely detectable in normal brain. Despite normal-appearing histology, gene expression patterns of tissues immediately adjacent to GBM were similar to those of their respective primary GBMs. Two genes were consistently up-regulated in both high-grade and low-grade gliomas, as well as in histologically normal tissues adjacent to GBMs. These genes coded for the epidermal growth factor receptor (previously reported to be overexpressed in gliomas) and for the α4 chain of laminin, a major blood vessel basement membrane component. Changes in expression of this laminin chain have not been previously associated with malignant tumors. Overexpression of laminin α4 chain in GBM and astrocytoma grade II by gene microarray analysis was confirmed by semiquantitive reverse transcription-PCR and immunohistochemistry. Importantly, an α4 chain-containing laminin isoform, laminin-8 (α4β1γ1), was expressed mainly in blood vessel walls of GBMs and histologically normal tissues adjacent to GBMs, whereas another α4 chain-containing laminin isoform, laminin-9 (α4β2γ1), was expressed mainly in blood vessel walls of low-grade tumors and normal brain. GBMs that overexpressed laminin-8 had a shorter mean time to tumor recurrence (4.3 months) than GBMs with overexpression of laminin-9 (9.7 months, P = 0.0007). Up-regulation of α4 chain-containing laminins could be important for the development of glioma-induced neovascularization and glial tumor progression. Overexpression of laminin-8 may be predictive of glioma recurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5601-5610
Number of pages10
JournalCancer research
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2001


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