Sensitivity to BUB1B inhibition defines an alternative classification of glioblastoma.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Cancer research (2017)


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) remains a mainly incurable disease in desperate need of more effective treatments. In this study, we develop evidence that the mitotic spindle checkpoint molecule BUB1B may offer a predictive marker for aggressiveness and effective drug response. A subset of GBM tumor isolates require BUB1B to suppress lethal kinetochore-microtubule attachment defects. Using gene expression data from GBM stem-like cells, astrocytes and neural progenitor cells that are sensitive or resistant to BUB1B inhibition, we created a computational framework to predict sensitivity to BUB1B inhibition. Applying this framework to tumor expression data from patients, we stratified tumors into BUB1B sensitive (BUB1BS) or BUB1B resistant (BUB1BR) subtypes. Through this effort, we found that BUB1BS patients have a significantly worse prognosis regardless of tumor development subtype (i.e., classical, mesenchymal, neural, proneural). Functional genomic profiling of BUB1BR versus BUB1BS isolates revealed a differential reliance of genes enriched in the BUB1BS classifier, including those involved in mitotic cell cycle, microtubule organization and chromosome segregation. By comparing drug sensitivity profiles, we predicted BUB1BS cells to be more sensitive to type I and II topoisomerase inhibitors, Raf inhibitors and other drugs, and experimentally validated some of these predictions. Taken together, the results show that our BUB1BR/S classification of GBM tumors can predict clinical course and sensitivity to drug treatment.