BMC Cancer. 2022 Aug 3;22(1):844. doi: 10.1186/s12885-022-09910-9.
Glioblastoma (GBM) is one of the deadliest cancers. Treatment options are limited, and median patient survival is only several months. Translation of new therapies is hindered by a lack of GBM models that fully recapitulate disease heterogeneity. Here, we characterize two human GBM models (U87-luc2, U251-RedFLuc). In vitro, both cell lines express similar levels of luciferase and show comparable sensitivity to temozolomide and lapatinib exposure. In vivo, however, the two GBM models recapitulate different aspects of the disease. U87-luc2 cells quickly grow into large, well-demarcated tumors; U251-RedFLuc cells form small, highly invasive tumors. Using a new method to assess GBM invasiveness based on detecting tumor-specific anti-luciferase staining in brain slices, we found that U251-RedFLuc cells are more invasive than U87-luc2 cells. Lastly, we determined expression levels of ABC transporters in both models. Our findings indicate that U87-luc2 and U251-RedFLuc GBM models recapitulate different aspects of GBM heterogeneity that need to be considered in preclinical research.