The NFκB inhibitor, SN50, induces differentiation of glioma stem cells and suppresses their oncogenic phenotype

Li Zhang, Xingcong Ren, Yan Cheng, Xiuping Liu, Joshua E. Allen, Yi Zhang, Yunsheng Yuan, Siu Yuan Huang, Weiwei Yang, Arthur Berg, Becky S. Webb, James Connor, Chang Gong Liu, Zhimin Lu, Wafik S. El-Deiry, Jin Ming Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The malignant phenotype of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is believed to be largely driven by glioma stem-like cells (GSCs), and targeting GSCs is now considered a promising new approach to treatment of this devastating disease. Here, we show that SN50, a cell-permeable peptide inhibitor of NFκB, induced robust differentiation of human GSCs, causing loss of their oncogenic potential. We observed that following treatment of GSCs with SN50, their differentiated progeny cells showed significant decreases in their capability to form neuro-spheres and to invade in vitro and a reduction in their tumorigenicity in mouse xenograft models, but had increased sensitivity to the chemotherapeutic drug temozolomide and to radiation treatment. These results suggest that blocking the NFκB pathway may be explored as a useful mean to induce differentiation of GSCs, and provide another supportive evidence for the promise of differentiation therapy in treatment of malignant brain tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)602-611
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Biology and Therapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by grants from the US Public Health Service CA135038, the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (81101913), and the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD).


  • Brain tumor
  • Differentiation
  • Glioma stem cells
  • NFκB inhibitor
  • SN50

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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