New research has found that genomic profiling may play a key role in the diagnosis and grading of brain tumors. More accurate and new diagnoses can be generated from genomic profiling. Here, alterations in the DNA that drive the growth of tumors are identified. Previously, diagnosis was determined using microscopic comparisons between normal cells and cancer cells.
This research was carried out by scientists at the University of California-San Francisco, who followed 38 patients with glioblastoma, IDL-wild type tumors. This type of tumor was recategorized from a grade 2/3 glioma to a central nervous system grade 4 tumor.
The researchers studied the MRIs of these patients, finding that only a few of them didn’t have imaging features suggesting a lower-grade glioma. All the patients involved in the study went through genomic sequencing, which was done using the UCSF500 Cancer Gene Panel. They were then provided with treatment consistent with a glioblastoma, which is the most common and fatal brain tumor in adults.
In the past, patients who were diagnosed with any type of brain tumor survived for longer when the tumors were aggressively treated with chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. However, when researchers compared the patients’ length of survival with a separate cohort of 130 individuals with the same type of tumor who had undergone more conservative treatment regimens that aligned with the previous tumor categorization, the researchers discovered that while the larger group survived for only about 16 months, the 38 patients survived for about two years.
In the study report, David Solomon, senior author of the study, explained that genomic profiling led to more aggressive management of patients, which in turn enhanced their clinical outcomes. Solomon is a principal investigator at the institution’s Glioblastoma Precision Medicine Program as well as a researcher at the institution’s Brain Tumor Center.
This research was prompted by a 2015 study that conducted genome-wide analyses on grade 2 and grade 3 gliomas. This particular study was carried out by the Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network.
The researchers hope that in the future, genomic profiling will be integrated into the pathology reports of patients, which will increase doctors’ confidence in their therapy recommendations and allow more patients to participate in clinical trials. Currently, patients who have tumors that can’t be accessed surgically may find it hard to obtain a diagnosis from their doctors, which may in turn lead to under-treatment and make them ineligible for enrollment in clinical trials that may help them.
The study’s findings were reported in the “Neuro-Oncology” journal.
Efforts to find better treatments for people suffering from central nervous system cancers have intensified, with companies such as CNS Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CNSP) taking the lead in this quest.
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