Study reveals 'inner workings' of most-common brain tumor
An international study has revealed new information about diffuse glioma, the most common type of tumor found in some 80% of adult brain cancer patients, raising hopes that better understanding of the disease may improve treatment.
Led by researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Columbia University Medical Center in New York, and the University of SÜo Paulo’s Ribeirao Preto Medical School in Brazil, the study analyzed more than 1,100 samples of diffuse glioma from lower to higher grades.
Glioma is classified into four groups (oligodendroglioma, olioastrocytoma, astrocytoma and glioblastoma) and graded from grade II to IV. However, diagnoses vary from physician to physician. The investigators addressed this by analyzing molecular profiling data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), a catalog of genetic mutations in cancers.
“TCGA data allowed us to identify diffuse glioma subgroups with distinct molecular and clinical features and shed light on mechanisms driving disease progression,” said Roel Verhaak, Ph.D., associate professor, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at MD Anderson.
Currently, pathologists determine if a glioma is low-grade or high-grade based on the tumor tissue’s appearance under the microscope.
“By looking at the molecular makeup of these tumors, we now have a much more precise way of predicting which tumors are more likely to grow rapidly and can prescribe treatments accordingly,” said Antonio Iavarone, M.D., professor of Neurology and Pathology and Cell Biology.
The team’s findings were published in the Jan. 28 online issue of Cell. The study is the largest multi-platform analysis to date of adult diffuse glioma, grades II to IV.