Glioblastoma (GBM) is a highly infiltrative brain cancer, which is thus difficult to operate. GBM cells frequently harbor Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor amplification (EGFRwt) and/or activating mutation (EGFRvIII), generating at least two different cellular subpopulations within the tumor. We examined the relationship between the diffusive architectures of GBM tumors and the paracrine interactions between those subpopulations. Our aim was to shed light on what drives GBM cells to reach large cell–cell distances, and whether this characteristic can be manipulated. We established a methodology that quantifies the infiltration abilities of cancer cells through computation of cell–cell separation distance distributions in 3D. We found that aggressive EGFRvIII cells modulate the migration and infiltrative properties of EGFRwt cells. EGFRvIII cells secrete HGF and IL6, leading to enhanced activity of Src protein in EGFRwt cells, and rendering EGFRwt cells higher velocity and augmented ability to spread. Src inhibitor, dasatinib, at low non-toxic concentrations, reduced the infiltrative properties of EGFRvIII/EGFRwt neurospheres. Furthermore, dasatinib treatment induced compact multicellular microstructure packing of EGFRvIII/EGFRwt cells, impairing their ability to spread. Prevention of cellular infiltration or induction of compact microstructures may assist the detection of GBM tumors and tumor remnants in the brains and improve their surgical removal.
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