“Being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor is devastating news for patients and their loved ones. Whereas some types of tumor respond well to treatment, others such as glioblastomas – the most common and aggressive brain tumors – are known to recur and progress within short times from the diagnosis. Patients diagnosed with this type of cancer, and who undergo current standard treatment, have a median survival of 16 months.
Based on recent information on the mechanisms of chemotherapy, a team of researchers of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) developed a new clinical approach to increase the efficiency of treatment in glioblastomas that increased the median survival to 22 months – bringing much needed hope to those affected by this aggressive disease. The findings of this promising phase II clinical trial have been published in the International Journal of Radiology Oncology.”
“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.”
“A growing number of patients with cancer are benefitting from research advances in immunotherapy, leading the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to name immunotherapy as the Society’s advance of the year for a second year in a row. Released today, this year’s report, Clinical Cancer Advances 2017: ASCO’s Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer highlights the expanding role of immunotherapy. Evolving research findings are providing new insights on how to get the optimal results from these relatively new treatments.”