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Recurrent Gliomas: Vorinostat Shows Anti-cancer Activity

CHICAGO Findings presented today at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting by Eva Galanis, M.D., a Mayo Clinic oncologist, reveals that a novel application of the drug vorinostat shows activity in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme. The study was conducted by North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG) researchers, based at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Eva is the lead investigator of the study.

Glioblastoma multiforme is a lethal primary brain tumor. The average survival of glioblastoma patients is 12-16 months. These tumors spread quickly to other parts of the brain, and because of this are difficult to treat and often recur. When the tumor recurs, treatment options are limited, and patients survive for an average of three to four months.

"Existing treatment interventions have minimal impact on the outcome of recurrent glioblastoma multiforme patients," Dr. Galanis says. "Using vorinostat to treat glioblastoma multiforme patients who have relapsed following surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, we found that 15 percent of the patients had no tumor recurrence for six months or longer following treatment initiation. The median overall survival of the patients enrolled on the trial was 5.7 months -- similar patient populations enrolled in prior NCCTG trials had a median overall survival of between 4 and 4.4 months."

This study was the first application of vorinostat in targeting brain cancer. Vorinostat is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of cutaneous T cell lymphoma in patients who have failed two or more systemic therapies.

An additional group of patients in this study was treated with vorinostat prior to surgery, and a gene and protein analysis of their resected tumors was performed. This analysis confirmed increase in histone acetylation and showed gene changes indicating that vorinostat reaches the glioblastoma tumors and interferes
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