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Genetics of children's brain tumor unlocked
Date:5/18/2010

Researchers have identified an important cancer gene that could lead to more effective drugs being developed to fight paediatric high grade glioma, a disease which currently has a poor prognosis.

The discovery, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, was one of a number of significant genetic differences found between the adult and youth form of the disease. Gliomas are the most common brain tumour in children.

Clinicians and scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The University of Nottingham on behalf of the UK Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group, and St Jude Children's Research Hospital in the US, conducted by far the most comprehensive analysis to date of paediatric high-grade glioma, making a detailed scan of the genome of 78 newly-diagnosed patients.

They compared these paediatric tumour samples with the genome of adult gliomas, looking through 500,000 individual pieces of DNA for variations in the number of copies of each. In paediatric gliomas, a gene called PDGFRA on chromosome 4q12 was commonly amplified and there were often extra copies of chromosome 1q. These changes are rarely seen in the adult form of the disease.

Clinical differences between gliomas in adults and youth had already been observed, for example growth in disparate areas of the brain, but this is the first study to establish that the underlying genetics differ.

"We found significant differences between the genomes of adult and young people's gliomas," says Dr Chris Jones, Leader of the Paediatric Molecular Pathology Team at the ICR. "This is an important finding because it means studies on adult gliomas cannot simply be applied to younger patients, and it has particular implications for drug trials."

The researchers also tracked gene activity in 53 of the tumour samples, and compared the results with adult gliomas. Paediatric glioma tumours that did not have the PDGFRA alteration were nevertheless f
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Contact: Professor Richard Grundy
richard.grundy@nottingham.ac.uk
44-115-823-0620
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

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