Glioblastoma (GB) is the most aggressive neoplasm of the brain. Poor prognosis is mainly attributed to tumor heterogeneity, invasiveness and drug resistance. Only a small fraction of GB patients survives longer than 24 months from the time of diagnosis (ie, long-term survivors [LTS]). In our study, we aimed to identify molecular markers associated with favorable GB prognosis as a basis to develop therapeutic applications to improve patients' outcome. We have recently assembled a proteogenomic dataset of 87 GB clinical samples of varying survival rates. Following RNA-seq and mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics analysis, we identified several differentially expressed genes and proteins, including some known cancer-related pathways and some less established that showed higher expression in short-term (<6 months) survivors (STS) compared to LTS. One such target found was deoxyhypusine hydroxylase (DOHH), which is known to be involved in the biosynthesis of hypusine, an unusual amino acid essential for the function of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5A (eIF5A), which promotes tumor growth. We consequently validated DOHH overexpression in STS samples by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and immunohistochemistry. We further showed robust inhibition of proliferation, migration and invasion of GB cells following silencing of DOHH with short hairpin RNA (shRNA) or inhibition of its activity with small molecules, ciclopirox and deferiprone. Moreover, DOHH silencing led to significant inhibition of tumor progression and prolonged survival in GB mouse models. Searching for a potential mechanism by which DOHH promotes tumor aggressiveness, we found that it supports the transition of GB cells to a more invasive phenotype via epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related pathways.
- deoxyhypusine hydroxylase (DOHH)
- long-term survivors
- short-term survivors