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Deep, integrated genomic analysis re-classifies lower-grade brain tumors
Date:4/8/2014

Comprehensive genomic analysis of low-grade brain tumors sorts them into three categories, one of which has the molecular hallmarks and shortened survival of glioblastoma multiforme, the most lethal of brain tumors, researchers reported at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2014.

"The immediate clinical implication is that a group of patients with tumors previously categorized as lower grade should actually be treated as glioblastoma patients and receive that standard of care -- temozolomide chemotherapy and irradiation," said lead author Roel Verhaak, Ph.D. assistant professor of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

"Classifying lower grade tumors in these three molecular clusters more accurately characterizes them than current methods used to group and grade tumors," Verhaak said.

The pivotal molecular markers that define the three tumor clusters mutational status of the IDH1 and IDH2 genes and loss of chromosome arms 1p and 19q -- are already routinely checked in clinical care, Verhaak noted, so implementing the new categories can be done relatively quickly.

Verhaak and colleagues analyzed data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) brain tumor studies.

Lack of IDH1/2 mutations drastically reduces survival

Brain tumors arise in the glia, or supportive cells, of the brain and now are classified by their histology characteristics visible via microscopy and their cell of origin, either astrocytes or oligodendrocytes.

Classified this way, grade 2 and 3 oligodendrogliomas and astrocytomas demonstrate median overall patient survival ranging from three to ten years. This compares with 14 months for patients with glioblastoma multiforme a complex and aggressive astrocytoma.

Glioblastomas make up 55-60 percent of gliomas, with lower-grade astrocytomas comprising 15-20 percent of cases, oligodendrocytes
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Contact: Scott Merville
smerville@mdanderson.org
713-792-0661
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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Deep, integrated genomic analysis re-classifies lower-grade brain tumors
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