Brain Cancer Study Suggests New Standard of Treatment
The results of a large clinical trial show that a drug for treating the most common brain tumor in adults can prolong survival among some patients by several months when given concurrently with radiation.
In the randomized trial, 573 Canadian and European patients with glioblastoma received either radiation plus the drug temozolomide (Temodar) or radiation alone. Patients who received temozolomide lived, on average, 2.5 months longer than those who received radiation alone, according to results reported in the March 10 New England Journal of Medicine.
Glioblastoma kills most patients within a year of diagnosis, and there have been few advances in treatment in recent decades. Read more
New Tools in the Fight Against Brain Tumors
This week's lead story discusses two studies that provide important advances in the treatment of glioblastoma, the most common form of brain tumor in adults. In one of the studies, the activation status of a specific gene is shown to correlate with response to the combination of temozolomide and radiotherapy.
As this study shows, researchers are amassing a large library of molecular and genetic data. What's lacking are broader efforts to collect and channel these data into a single, comprehensive resource. One effort to fill this breach is the Glioma Molecular Diagnostic Initiative (GMDI), a study launched last year by the Neuro-Oncology Branch, jointly led by NCI and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. GMDI-derived data will be available in a publicly accessible database known as REMBRANDT, a component of the cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG). GMDI includes a retrospective study of about 300 glioma tumor specimens and a 1,000- to 1,500-patient prospective study involving two NCI-funded brain tumor consortia and other NCI-funded institutions. Patients in the prospective study will have samples of their surgically-removed tumors sent to NCI for genetic and molecular analyses; findings will be correlated with each patient's clinical course. REMBRANDT also will house molecular and genetic data on all brain tumor types. Read more