COLUMBUS, Ohio New research proves that a change in a particular gene can identify which patients with a specific kind of brain cancer will respond better to treatment. Testing for the gene can distinguish patients with a more- or less-aggressive form of glioblastoma, the most common and an often-fatal type of primary brain cancer, and help guide therapy, the researchers say.
The prospective study looked at a gene called MGMT in tumors removed from 833 glioblastoma patients. It showed that when the gene promoter is altered by a chemical change called methylation, patients respond better to treatment.
"We show that MGMT methylation represents a new genetic test that can predict clinical outcomes in glioblastoma patients who have been treated with radiation combined with the chemotherapeutic drug temozolomide," says coauthor Dr. Arnab Chakravarti, chair and professor of Radiation Oncology and co-director of the brain tumor program at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Comprehensive Cancer Center and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC James).
"Clearly, all glioblastomas are not the same. Rather, they are a collection of different molecular and genetic entities that behave uniquely and require personalized treatment," says Chakravarti, who is the translational-research study chair for the study.
Principal investigator Dr. Mark Gilbert, professor of neuro-oncology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, will present the research June 5, 2011, at the 2011 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago. It comes from a prospective international phase III clinical trial sponsored by the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG).
"Our study confirms the prognostic significance of MGMT gene methylation and demonstrates the feasibility of prospective tumor-tissue collection, molecular stratification and collection of patient outcomes in a large transatlantic intergroup trial," Gilbert says.
|Contact: Darrell E. Ward|
Ohio State University Medical Center