Neuro-Oncology Advances, 2020
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Abstract Background Radiotherapy is the standard treatment for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). However, radioresistance of GBM cells leads to recurrence and poor patient prognosis. Recent studies suggest that secretion factors have important roles in radioresistance of tumor cells. This study aims to determine whether Rab27b, a small GTPase involved in secretory vesicle trafficking, plays a role in radioresistance of GBM. Methods Microarray analysis, cell viability analysis, apoptosis assay, immunostaining, and in vivo experiments were performed to assess the effect of Rab27b on radioresistance of GBM. We further investigated paracrine effects mediated by Rab27b after X-ray irradiation using co-culture systems of glioma cell lines. Results Rab27b was specifically upregulated in irradiated U87MG cells. Furthermore, Rab27b knockdown decreased the proliferation of GBM cells after irradiation. Knockdown of Rab27b in U87MG cells combined with radiation treatment suppressed orthotopic tumor growth in the mouse brain and prolonged the survival of recipient mice. Interestingly, co-upregulation of Rab27b and epiregulin (EREG), a member of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family, correlated with radioresistance in glioma cell lines. Additionally, EREG, which was secreted from U87MG cells via Rab27b-mediated mechanism, activated EGF receptor and contributed to H4 cell proliferation in a paracrine manner. Conclusions Our results show that Rab27b mediates the radioresistance of highly malignant GBM cells. Rab27b promotes the proliferation of adjacent cells through EREG-mediated paracrine signaling after irradiation. Thus, the Rab27b-EREG pathway is a novel potential target to improve the efficacy of radiotherapy in GBM.