Cellular Oncology

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 41–54 | Cite as

SOX3 can promote the malignant behavior of glioblastoma cells

  • Jelena Marjanovic Vicentic
  • Danijela DrakulicEmail author
  • Idoia Garcia
  • Vladanka Vukovic
  • Paula Aldaz
  • Nela Puskas
  • Igor Nikolic
  • Goran Tasic
  • Savo Raicevic
  • Laura Garros-Regulez
  • Nicolas Sampron
  • Michael J. Atkinson
  • Natasa Anastasov
  • Ander Matheu
  • Milena Stevanovic
Original Paper



Glioblastoma is the most common and lethal adult brain tumor. Despite current therapeutic strategies, including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, the median survival of glioblastoma patients is 15 months. The development of this tumor depends on a sub-population of glioblastoma stem cells governing tumor propagation and therapy resistance. SOX3 plays a role in both normal neural development and carcinogenesis. However, little is known about its role in glioblastoma. Thus, the aim of this work was to elucidate the role of SOX3 in glioblastoma.


SOX3 expression was assessed using real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR), Western blotting and immunohistochemistry. MTT, immunocytochemistry and Transwell assays were used to evaluate the effects of exogenous SOX3 overexpression on the viability, proliferation, migration and invasion of glioblastoma cells, respectively. The expression of Hedgehog signaling pathway components and autophagy markers was assessed using RT-qPCR and Western blot analyses, respectively.


Higher levels of SOX3 expression were detected in a subset of primary glioblastoma samples compared to those in non-tumoral brain tissues. Exogenous overexpression of this gene was found to increase the proliferation, viability, migration and invasion of glioblastoma cells. We also found that SOX3 up-regulation was accompanied by an enhanced activity of the Hedgehog signaling pathway and by suppression of autophagy in glioblastoma cells. Additionally, we found that SOX3 expression was elevated in patient-derived glioblastoma stem cells, as well as in oncospheres derived from glioblastoma cell lines, compared to their differentiated counterparts, implying that SOX3 expression is associated with the undifferentiated state of glioblastoma cells.


From our data we conclude that SOX3 can promote the malignant behavior of glioblastoma cells.


SOX3 Glioblastoma Glioblastoma stem cells Migration Hedgehog signaling Autophagy 



This work was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Republic of Serbia (Grant No: 173051) and by the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (Grant No: F 24). Jelena Marjanovic Vicentic received a grant from the IBRO-InEurope Short Stay Grants Program.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Biodonostia Institute and Hospital Donostia and by the Ethics Committee of the Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering, University of Belgrade. It was performed in accordance with the ethical standards as laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© International Society for Cellular Oncology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jelena Marjanovic Vicentic
    • 1
  • Danijela Drakulic
    • 1
    Email author
  • Idoia Garcia
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Vladanka Vukovic
    • 1
  • Paula Aldaz
    • 2
    • 4
  • Nela Puskas
    • 5
  • Igor Nikolic
    • 6
    • 7
  • Goran Tasic
    • 6
    • 7
  • Savo Raicevic
    • 6
  • Laura Garros-Regulez
    • 2
  • Nicolas Sampron
    • 2
    • 4
    • 8
  • Michael J. Atkinson
    • 9
    • 10
  • Natasa Anastasov
    • 9
  • Ander Matheu
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 8
  • Milena Stevanovic
    • 1
    • 11
    • 12
  1. 1.Laboratory for Human Molecular Genetics, Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic EngineeringUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  2. 2.Cellular Oncology GroupBiodonostia Health Research InstituteSan SebastianSpain
  3. 3.IKERBASQUEBasque Foundation for ScienceBilbaoSpain
  4. 4.CIBER de Fragilidad y Envejecimiento Saludable (CIBERfes)MadridSpain
  5. 5.Institute of Histology and Embryology “Aleksandar Ð. Kostić”, School of MedicineUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  6. 6.Clinical Center of SerbiaClinic for NeurosurgeryBelgradeSerbia
  7. 7.Medical FacultyUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  8. 8.Neuro-oncology Tumor BoardDonostia HospitalSan SebastianSpain
  9. 9.Institute of Radiation Biology, Helmholtz Center MunichGerman Research Center for Environmental HealthNeuherbergGermany
  10. 10.Chair of Radiation BiologyTechnical University of MunichMunichGermany
  11. 11.Faculty of BiologyUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  12. 12.Serbian Academy of Sciences and ArtsBelgradeSerbia

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