Why are systemic glioblastoma metastases rare? Systemic and cerebral growth of mouse glioblastoma

Pierre D. Mourad, Lindi Farrell, Louis D. Stamps, Michael R. Chicoine, Daniel L. Silbergeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Background: Systemic metastasis of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in the form of bulk tumor is rare. This could be because of patient death before clinically detectable systemic metastasis, impediments to systemic egress, or the inability of GBM to grow outside the central nervous system (CNS). In the present paper, we tested this last hypothesis. Methods: The delayed brain tumor (DBT) cell was characterized with respect to in vitro and in vivo morphology, growth rate, anchorage-independent growth, glial fibrillary acidic protein expression and cytogenetic analysis, and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) typing. We then assayed implantation-induced intracerebral and systemic GBM growth using 3 rodent models with increasing relative immunologic differences between implanted DBT cells and hosts (Balb/c mice, an isograft, MHC I H2, class type D; C3H mice, an allograft; Wistar rats, a xenograft). Results: After implantation in the brain, DBT cells generated tumors that were similar to human GBM. Intracerebral DBT implantation as an isograft or allograft produced only intracranial tumors, whereas intracerebral and systemic implantation as a xenograft produced no tumors. Systemic isograft implantation yielded only systemic tumors. Systemic implantation as allografts produced only transient subcutaneous masses. Conclusions: Delayed brain tumor cells implanted outside the CNS formed tumors unless there was a significant difference between the immunotype of the implanted cells and host. These results support the hypothesis that the rarity of systemic GBM tumors lies in the presence of physical barriers and/or systemic hurdles that prevent their timely growth. These results also demonstrate that GBMs are antigenic, although not immunogenic, with their syngeneic host. Therefore, GBM may be amenable to targeted immunotherapy given successful artificial priming of the immune system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-519
Number of pages9
JournalSurgical Neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • DBT cell line
  • Glioblastoma
  • Glioma
  • Invasion
  • Metastasis
  • Mice


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