“Treating older patients who have malignant brain cancer with the chemotherapy drug temozolomide plus a short course of radiation therapy extends survival by two months compared to treating with radiation alone, show clinical trial results published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“For 45% of the study participants, improved survival almost doubled — from 7 months to 13.5 months, says co-principal investigator Normand Laperriere, radiation oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network. This was linked to a molecular marker that indicated if a DNA repair mechanism against the drug was active. When the mechanism was ‘off,’ tumours responded better to treatment.”
“Adding temozolomide chemotherapy to short-course radiotherapy for older patients with glioblastoma was tied to longer progression-free and overall survival than with a short course of radiotherapy alone, researchers found.
“In a randomized controlled trial of glioblastoma patients ages 65 and up, those on combination therapy had a significantly lower risk of death during the study than those who had only radiation (HR 0.67, 95% CI 0.56-0.80, P<0.001), James Perry, MD, of Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto, and colleagues reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.”
With a few exceptions, glioblastoma (GBM) remains largely incurable, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved few treatments for the disease. Surgery (when feasible), radiation, and temozolomide are used in most patients. But even if a newly diagnosed tumor can be surgically excised, recurrences are too common.
In this blog post, I simply list some of the new treatments available in clinical trials for GBM and other high-grade brain tumors. Only drugs that have at least some preliminary results of activity are included, and the list is not meant to be fully comprehensive. The interested reader can judge for herself what might be of interest, keeping in mind that no single treatment is suitable or will work for all GBM patients. Continue reading…
“In a rigorous study of tumor tissue collected from 125 patients with aggressive brain cancers, researchers at Johns Hopkins say they have found no evidence of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and conclude that a link between the two diseases, as claimed by earlier reports, likely does not exist.
“The Johns Hopkins team cautioned that studies to confirm this finding are needed to absolutely rule out any role for the common CMV in glioblastoma and other cancers that arise in neurological support cells called glial cells. But they say their study substantially weakens the likelihood of that role.
” ‘We have found no evidence of CMV in these tissues, and if there is no virus, targeting that virus to affect cancer using antiviral drugs or tailored vaccines doesn’t make biological sense,’ says Angelo M. De Marzo, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology, oncology and urology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.”
“An analysis of a patient’s deadly brain tumor helped doctors at Smilow Cancer Hospital identify new emerging mutations and keep a 55-year old woman alive for more than five years, researchers report in the journal Genome Medicine.
“The median survival rate for patients with glioblastoma multiform (GBM) is only 15 months, but three separate genomic analyses of the tumor identified new mutations that allowed doctors to adjust treatment and keep the patient alive for over five years, through two recurrences of the cancer.”
“In a new study, Yale researchers identified a novel genetic defect that prevents brain tumor cells from repairing damaged DNA. They found that the defect is highly sensitive to an existing FDA-approved drug used to treat ovarian cancer—a discovery that challenges current practice for treatment of brain tumors and other cancers with the same genetic defect, said the scientists.
“The study was published on Feb. 1 by Science Translational Medicine.
“Certain malignant brain tumors and leukemias have mutations in genes known as IDH1 and IDH2. The mutations render the cancers sensitive to treatment with radiation therapy or chemotherapy, significantly increasing the survival time for patients with the mutations. To better understand this sensitivity, a cross-disciplinary team of researchers led by Yale created models of the mutation in cell cultures.”
“New research shows that taking molecular variables into account will improve the prognostic classification of the lethal brain cancer called glioblastoma (GBM).
“The study was led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).
“Published in the journal JAMA Oncology, the study found that adding significant molecular biomarkers to the existing GBM classification system improves the prognostic classification of GBM patients who have been treated with radiation and the drug temozolomide.”
“The use of tumor treating fields (TTFields) as a treatment for patients with brain tumors has, thus far, largely been focused on in glioblastoma, but an upcoming trial aims to expand the use of the device to the grade III patient population, says Daniel O’Connell, MD.
“Currently, the device is only FDA approved for use in grade IV brain tumors, but O’Connell, a neuro-oncologist at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, anticipates the FDA will grant its approval for use in grade III tumors within the next 2 to 3 months.”