Targeting wee1 for the treatment of pediatric high-grade gliomas

Sabine Mueller*, Rintaro Hashizume, Xiaodong Yang, Ilan Kolkowitz, Aleksandra K. Olow, Joanna Phillips, Ivan Smirnov, Maxwell W. Tom, Michael D. Prados, C. David James, Mitchel S. Berger, Nalin Gupta, Daphne A. Haas-Kogan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


BackgroundWe investigated the efficacy of the Wee1 inhibitor MK-1775 in combination with radiation for the treatment of pediatric high-grade gliomas (HGGs), including diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs).MethodsGene expression analysis was performed for 38 primary pediatric gliomas (3 grade I, 10 grade II, 11 grade III, 14 grade IV) and 8 normal brain samples using the Agilent 4 × 44 K array. Clonogenic survival assays were carried out in pediatric and adult HGG cell lines (n = 6) to assess radiosensitizing effects of MK-1775. DNA repair capacity was evaluated by measuring protein levels of γ-H2AX, a marker of double strand DNA breaks. In vivo activity of MK-1775 with radiation was assessed in 2 distinct orthotopic engraftment models of pediatric HGG, including 1 derived from a genetically engineered mouse carrying a BRAFV600E mutation, and 1 xenograft model in which tumor cells were derived from a patient's DIPG.ResultsWee1 is overexpressed in pediatric HGGs, with increasing expression positively correlated with malignancy (P =. 007 for grade III + IV vs I + II) and markedly high expression in DIPG. Combination treatment of MK-1775 and radiation reduced clonogenic survival and increased expression of γ-H2AX to a greater extent than achieved by radiation alone. Finally, combined MK-1775 and radiation conferred greater survival benefit to mice bearing engrafted, orthotopic HGG and DIPG tumors, compared with treatment with radiation alone (BRAFV600E model P =. 0061 and DIPG brainstem model P =. 0163).ConclusionOur results highlight MK-1775 as a promising new therapeutic agent for use in combination with radiation for the treatment of pediatric HGGs, including DIPG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-360
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • MK-1775
  • Wee1 inhibition
  • diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma
  • pediatric high-grade glioma
  • radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research

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