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Henry Ford researchers identify genetic factors that may aid survival from brain cancer

impairment, increases in tumor size, surgery and chemotherapy.

They then performed a molecular analysis of each tumor specimen and explored its relationship to short- and long-term survival.

Besides confirming earlier studies that showed improved survival of glioblastoma as new techniques and medications were introduced, the new study found:

  • Survival times among Henry Ford patients were ahead of national glioblastoma survival trends.
  • Those age 70 and older included more short-term survivors that the younger age groups.
  • Gender differences were only detected when comparing the short- and medium-term survivors, with females more likely to be short-term survivors.
  • The tumor's location within the brain was not a significant factor in survival time.
  • Specific genes identified by the researchers may independently improve patient survival. The Henry Ford team concluded that more and ongoing research in this area is vital to understanding how to fight the usually fatal cancer tumor.

"Among the factors which are associated with increased survival of glioblastoma patients during the time period we studied," says Tom Mikkelsen, M.D., a neuro-oncologist and co-director of the Henry Ford's Hermelin Brain Tumor Center, "is the multidisciplinary care coordinated by a dedicated tumor board as common practice for managing brain tumor patients. New expertise in neurosurgery, molecular pathology and experimental therapeutics are critical and must be personalized for each patient."

While the medical community is engaged in an ongoing debate about the usefulness of such boards, Dr. Kalkanis says his team's research found that not only are they "warranted," but "necessary" for the future treatment of glioblastoma and continuing to improve patient quality of life and survival rates.


Contact: Dwight Angell
Henry Ford Health System

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