SGM Piccirillo, S Dietz, B Madhu, J Griffiths, SJ Price, VP Collins, C Watts
Br J Cancer
BACKGROUND: Acquiring clinically annotated, spatially stratified tissue samples from human glioblastoma (GBM) is compromised by haemorrhage, brain shift and subjective identification of 'normal' brain. We tested the use of 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) fluorescence to objective tissue sampling and to derive tumour-initiating cells (TICs) from mass and margin. METHODS: The 5-ALA was administered to 30 GBM patients. Samples were taken from the non-fluorescent necrotic core, fluorescent tumour mass and non-fluorescent margin. We compared the efficiency of isolating TICs from these areas in 5-ALA versus control patients. HRMAS (1)H NMR was used to reveal metabolic alterations due to 5-ALA. We then characterised TICs for self-renewal in vitro and tumorigenicity in vivo. RESULTS: The derivation of TICs was not compromised by 5-ALA and the metabolic profile was similar between tumours from 5-ALA patients and controls. The TICs from the fluorescent mass were self-renewing in vitro and tumour-forming in vivo, whereas TICs from non-fluorescent margin did not self-renew in vitro but did form tumours in vivo. CONCLUSION: Our data show that 5-ALA does not compromise the derivation of TICs. It also reveals that the margin contains TICs, which are phenotypically different from those isolated from the corresponding mass.