Mechanism for enhanced 5-aminolevulinic acid fluorescence in isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 mutant malignant gliomas.

PMID 26008980


Fluorescence-guided surgery using 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) has become the main treatment modality in malignant gliomas. However unlike glioblastomas, there are inconsistent result about fluorescence status in WHO grade III gliomas. Here, we show that mutational status of IDH1 is linked to 5-ALA fluorescence. Using genetically engineered malignant glioma cells harboring wild type (U87MG-IDH1WT) or mutant (U87MG-IDH1R132H) IDH1, we demonstrated a lag in 5-ALA metabolism and accumulation of protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) in U87MG-IDH1R132Hcells. Next, we used liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) to screen for tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle-related metabolite changes caused by 5-ALA exposure. We observed low baseline levels of NADPH, an essential cofactor for the rate-limiting step of heme degradation, in U87MG-IDH1R132H cells. High levels of NADPH are required to metabolize excessive 5-ALA, giving a plausible reason for the temporarily enhanced 5-ALA fluorescence in mutant IDH1 cells. This hypothesis was supported by the results of metabolic screening in human malignant glioma samples. In conclusion, we have discovered a relationship between enhanced 5-ALA fluorescence and IDH1 mutations in WHO grade III gliomas. Low levels of NADPH in tumors with mutated IDH1 is responsible for the enhanced fluorescence.