Activation of cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (cdk4/6) occurs in the majority of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumors, and represents a promising molecular target for the development of small molecule inhibitors. In the current study, we investigated the molecular determinants and in vivo response of diverse GBM cell lines and xenografts to PD-0332991, a cdk4/6-specific inhibitor. In vitro testing of PD-0332991 against a panel of GBM cell lines revealed a potent G(1) cell cycle arrest and induction of senescence in each of 16 retinoblastoma protein (Rb)-proficient cell lines regardless of other genetic lesions, whereas 5 cell lines with homozygous inactivation of Rb were completely resistant to treatment. Short hairpin RNA depletion of Rb expression conferred resistance of GBM cells to PD-0332991, further demonstrating a requirement of Rb for sensitivity to cdk4/6 inhibition. PD-0332991 was found to efficiently cross the blood-brain barrier and proved highly effective in suppressing the growth of intracranial GBM xenograft tumors, including those that had recurred after initial therapy with temozolomide. Remarkably, no mice receiving PD-0332991 died as a result of disease progression while on therapy. Additionally, the combination of PD-0332991 and radiation therapy resulted in significantly increased survival benefit compared with either therapy alone. In total, our results support clinical trial evaluation of PD-0332991 against newly diagnosed as well as recurrent GBM, and indicate that Rb status is the primary determinant of potential benefit from this therapy.
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