Regorafenib Reverses Temozolomide-Induced CXCL12/CXCR4 Signaling and Triggers Apoptosis Mechanism in Glioblastoma

I. Tsang Chiang, Yu Chang Liu, Hua Shan Liu, Ahmed Atef Ahmed Ali, Szu Yi Chou, Tsung I. Hsu, Fei Ting Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Temozolomide (TMZ) monotherapy is known to be insufficient for resistant/relapsed glioblastoma (GBM), thus seeking a sensitization agent for TMZ is necessary. It was found that regorafenib may improve the overall survival of relapsed GBM patients. We aimed to discover whether regorafenib can enhance the anti-GBM effects of TMZ, and elucidate underlying mechanism. Our analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas database revealed that the increased expression of CXCR4 is linked to poor survival of GBM patients. Additionally, TMZ treatment may trigger CXCR4/CXCL12 axis of GBM. We used two GBM cell lines, two primary GBM cells, and animal model to identify underlying mechanism and treatment efficacy of regorafenib combined with TMZ by cytotoxicity, apoptosis, reporter gene and invasion/migration assays, chemokine array, Western blotting, MRI, microarray, and immunohistochemistry. We observed that the chemokine CXCL-12 and its receptor CXCR4 regulate the resistance to TMZ, whereas the inhibition of CXCL-12/CXCR4 signaling sensitizes GBM cells to TMZ. The TMZ-induced CXCL-12/CXCR4 signaling, phosphor-extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) and nuclear factor kappa light chain enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB), and NF-κB-related proteins can effectively diminish when combining with regorafenib. Regorafenib significantly enhanced the TMZ-induced extrinsic/intrinsic apoptotic pathways, and facilitated the suppression of invasion and migration potential in GBM. Orthotopic tumor experiments demonstrated tumor size reduction and prolonged survival in combination group even with half-dose of TMZ. Our findings provide promising evidence that regorafenib may sensitize GBM to TMZ treatment through inhibition of the CXCL12/CXCR4/ERK/NF-κB signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-634
Number of pages19
Issue number2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • CXCR4/CXCL12
  • Glioblastoma
  • NF-κB
  • Regorafenib
  • Temozolomide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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