Proteomic analysis of extracellular vesicles from medullospheres reveals a role for iron in the cancer progression of medulloblastoma

  • Maja Larsen
  • Matthias Kuhlmann Kuhlmann
  • Michael Hvam
  • Kenneth Howard
Keywords: Human serum albumin (HSA), Drugs, Albumin-binding, Albumin fusions, Half-life extension, Intracellular delivery, Neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn), Molecular medicine, Targeted drug delivery


Background: Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant childhood brain tumor with the propensity to
disseminate at an early stage, and is associated with high morbidity. New treatment strategies are needed to
improve cure rates and to reduce life-long cognitive and functional deficits associated with current therapies.
Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) are important players in cell-to-cell communication in health and diseases. A clearer
understanding of cell-to-cell communication in tumors can be achieved by studying EV secretion in
medullospheres. This can reveal subtle modifications induced by the passage from adherent to non-adherent
growth, as spheres may account for the adaptation of tumor cells to the mutated environment.
Methods: Formation of medullospheres from MB cell lines stabilized in adherent conditions was obtained through
culture conditioning based on low attachment flasks and specialized medium. EVs collected by ultracentrifugation,
in adherent conditions and as spheres, were subjected to electron microscopy, NanoSight measurements and
Results: Interestingly, iron carrier proteins were only found in EVs shed by CSC-enriched tumor cell population of
spheres. We used iron chelators when culturing MB cell lines as spheres. Iron chelators induced a decrease in
number/size of spheres and in stem cell populations able to initiate in vitro spheres formation.
Conclusions: This work suggests a not yet identified role of iron metabolism in MB progression and invasion and
opens the possibility to use chelators as adjuvants in anti-tumoral chemotherapy.


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