Meningiomas are the most common intracranial brain tumours. These tumours are heterogeneous and encompass a wide spectrum of clinical aggressivity. Treatment options are limited to surgery and radiotherapy and have a risk of post-operative morbidities and radiation neurotoxicity, reflecting the need for new therapies. Three-dimensional (3D) patient-derived cell culture models have been shown to closely recapitulate in vivo tumour biology, including microenvironmental interactions and have emerged as a robust tool for drug development. Here, we established a novel easy-to-use 3D patient-derived meningioma spheroid model using a scaffold-free approach. Patient-derived meningioma spheroids were characterised and compared to patient tissues and traditional monolayer cultures by histology, genomics, and transcriptomics studies. Patient-derived meningioma spheroids closely recapitulated morphological and molecular features of matched patient tissues, including patient histology, genomic alterations, and components of the immune microenvironment, such as a CD68 + and CD163 + positive macrophage cell population. Comprehensive transcriptomic profiling revealed an increase in epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in meningioma spheroids compared to traditional monolayer cultures, confirming this model as a tool to elucidate EMT in meningioma. Therefore, as proof of concept study, we developed a treatment strategy to target EMT in meningioma. We found that combination therapy using the MER tyrosine kinase (MERTK) inhibitor UNC2025 and the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor Trichostatin A (TSA) effectively decreased meningioma spheroid viability and proliferation. Furthermore, we demonstrated this combination therapy significantly increased the expression of the epithelial marker E-cadherin and had a repressive effect on WHO grade 2-derived spheroid invasion, which is suggestive of a partial reversal of EMT in meningioma spheroids.



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Acta neuropathologica communications





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Peninsula Medical School