Combining magnetic resonance imaging with systemic monocyte evaluation for the implementation of gbm management

Carolina Giordano, Giovanni Sabatino, Simona Romano, Giuseppe Maria Della Pepa, Martina Tufano, Quintino Giorgio D’alessandris, Simone Cottonaro, Marco Gessi, Mario Balducci, Maria Fiammetta Romano, Alessandro Olivi, Simona Gaudino, Cesare Colosimo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the gold standard for glioblastoma (GBM) patient evaluation. Additional non‐invasive diagnostic modalities are needed. GBM is heavily infiltrated with tumor‐associated macrophages (TAMs) that can be found in peripheral blood. FKBP51s supports alternative‐macrophage polarization. Herein, we assessed FKBP51s expression in circulating monocytes from 14 GBM patients. The M2 monocyte phenotype was investigated by qPCR and flow cytometry using antibodies against PD‐L1, CD163, FKBP51s, and CD14. MRI assessed morphologic features of the tumors that were aligned to flow cytometry data. PD‐L1 expression on circulating monocytes correlated with MRI tumor necrosis score. A wider expansion in circulating CD163/monocytes was measured. These monocytes resulted in a dramatic decrease in patients with an MRI diagnosis of complete but not partial surgical removal of the tumor. Importantly, in patients with residual tumor, most of the peripheral monocytes that in the preoperative stage were CD163/FKBP51s− had turned into CD163/FKBP51s+. After Stupp therapy, CD163/FKBP51s+ monocytes were almost absent in a case of pseudoprogression, while two patients with stable or true disease progression showed sustained levels in such circulating monocytes. Our work provides preliminary but meaningful and novel results that deserve to be confirmed in a larger patient cohort, in support of potential usefulness in GBM monitoring of CD163/FKBP51s/CD14 immunophenotype in adjunct to MRI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3797
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2021


  • FKBP51s
  • Glioblastoma multiforme
  • Liquid biopsy
  • MRI
  • Pseudoprogression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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