Resistance to temozolomide and intratumoral heterogeneity contribute to the poor prognosis of glioma. The mechanisms of temozolomide resistance can vary within a heterogeneous tumor. Temozolomide adds a methyl group to DNA. The primary cytotoxic lesion, O6-methylguanine, mispairs with thymine, leading to a futile DNA mismatch repair cycle, formation of double-strand breaks, and eventual cell death when O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) is absent. N7-methylguanine and N3-methyladenine are repaired by base excision repair (BER). The study aim was to elucidate temozolomide resistance mechanisms and identify methods to overcome temo-zolomide resistance in glioma. Several temozolomide-resistant clones were analyzed. Increased homologous recombination and mismatch repair system deficiencies contributed to temozolomide resistance. Inhibition of homologous recombination resensitized resistant cells with high homologous recombination efficiency. For the mismatch repair-deficient cells, inhibition of BER by PARP inhibitor potentiated temozolomide-induced cytotoxicity. Dianhydrogalactiol is a bifunctional DNA-targeting agent that forms N7-alkylguanine and inter-strand DNA crosslinks. Dianhydrogalactiol reduced the proliferation of cells independent of MGMT and mismatch repair, inducing DNA double-strand breaks and apoptosis in temozolomide-resistant cells. Further, inhibition of chk1 or homologous recombination enhanced dianhydrogalactiol-induced cytotoxicity in the cells. Selecting treatments most appropriate to the types of resistance mechanisms can potentially improve the prognosis of glioma.
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