Results from a clinical trial of a new treatment for glioblastoma suggest that researchers may have found a new approach to treating this most aggressive of brain tumours, as well as a potential new biological marker than can predict the tumour's response to treatment.
Presenting the research to the 2013 European Cancer Congress (ECC2013)  today (Monday), Professor Wolfgang Wick will say that combining radiotherapy with an anti-cancer drug called APG101 a fusion protein similar to an antibody blocks a cell-signalling pathway called CD95 that plays a crucial role in the development of the cancer. "Blocking the CD95 system represents a new way of tackling glioblastoma a cancer that has few available treatment options," he will say.
A total of 84 glioblastoma patients, who had already received initial treatment including radiotherapy and whose cancer had recurred, were randomised in the phase II clinical trial to receive either radiotherapy alone, or radiotherapy together with an intravenous dose of 400 mg of APG101 once a week . Their average age was 57, and the trial was carried out between December 2009 and September 2011 in 25 centres in Germany, Austria and Russia.
Twenty-one percent of patients who were treated with the combination of radiotherapy and APG101 were still alive six months after treatment, compared to four percent of those that were treated with radiotherapy alone. After two years, 22% of patients receiving the combination treatment were alive compared to seven percent of patients who did not receive it. The risk of death was reduced by 40% in the experimental treatment group, although this did not quite reach statistical significance.
Prof Wick, Chairman of the Neurooncology Programme at the National Centre for Tumour Diseases and Professor of Neurooncology at the University of Heidelberg (Germany) will tell the conference: "Glioblastoma is a very aggressive, fast-growing tumour that shows an infilt
|Contact: José Abad|
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation