• meningioma;
  • trabectedin;
  • therapy;
  • antineoplastic;
  • apoptosis



Meningiomas are common intracranial tumors arising from the meninges and usually are benign. However, a few meningiomas have aggressive behavior and, for such patients, effective treatment options are needed. Trabectedin is a novel, marine-derived, antineoplastic agent that has been approved and is used routinely as therapy for advanced soft tissue sarcoma and ovarian cancer.


The authors investigated the in vitro effects of trabectedin alone and in combination with hydroxyurea, cisplatin, and doxorubicin in primary cell cultures of benign (n = 9), atypical (n = 6), and anaplastic (n = 4) meningiomas using chemosensitivity assays (3-[4,5dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide [MTT]), Western blot analysis, cell cycle analysis, and immunofluorescent staining.


Strong antimeningioma activity of trabectedin was observed and was characterized by distinct cell cycle arrest, down-regulation of multiple cyclins, deregulated expression of cell death-regulatory genes, and massive apoptosis induction. Cytotoxic activity was especially intense in higher grade meningiomas with a half-maximal inhibitory concentration <10 nM. Combination with trabectedin synergistically enhanced the antimeningioma activity of hydroxyurea but also enhanced the activity of doxorubicin and cisplatin. On the basis of these findings, trabectedin was given to 1 patient who had heavily pretreated, anaplastic meningioma, and a favorable response was observed with radiologic disease stabilization, marked reductions in brain edema and requirement for corticosteroids, and improvement of clinical symptoms. However, treatment had to be discontinued after 5 cycles because of adverse drug effects.


The current results indicated that trabectedin may represent a promising new therapeutic option for patients with aggressive meningioma and should be evaluated in prospective clinical studies. Cancer 2012. © 2012 American Cancer Society.