Study Finds That Brain Tumors May Originate from Different Site

Glioblastoma is one of the most lethal and common primary brain tumors in adults, with a median survival period of about 15 months post diagnosis. New research has found that glioblastoma may originate from stem cells that aren’t in the same region as the tumors it causes.

Unlike most types of cancer, glioblastoma is almost always discovered as aggressive and high-grade lesions that are almost impossible to treat using the current treatment methods like chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Professor Yuan Zhu, the lead author of the study, stated that when a patient presented with neurological symptoms such as vomiting, nausea or headaches, it meant that the tumors were at the advanced state, as glioblastoma’s progression was very fast. He also noted that while patients had better prognoses when the cancer was caught and treated early, this wasn’t the case in glioblastoma.

Prior studies have discovered that the subventricular zone in patients with glioblastoma contains cells with mutations that are shared with tumors found in distant regions of the brain. This zone, commonly referred to as the SVZ, is the biggest source of stem cells in the brain of a grownup. The researchers’ study objective was to find out whether the subventricular zone could be the source of glioblastoma tumors.

For their research, the scientists employed the use of mice models that carried the p53 gene mutation, which suppresses tumors. These mutations are usually involved in various types of cancer, including glioblastoma. These animals underwent brain scans weekly, starting when they were roughly five months old. The scans looked for tumors, which develop when the stem cells acquire more mutations.

The researchers found that most of the mice developed high-grade tumors at more than one spatially segregated area, with the remainder developing single masses. The researchers then traced the cells that led to the development of these tumors back to the SVZ using genetic tests, finding that both the multiple and single tumors acquired mutations in the Pten gene.

In their report, the scientists explained that while precursor cells for multiple tumors developed the mutation after leaving the SVZ, the single tumors got it before they left the SVZ, noting that cancer cells continued to form even after the animals were genetically altered to close the pathway that Pten activated.

Zhu believes that this discovery could be used to explain why it’s not easy to identify early glioblastoma lesions and treat them. He hopes that this information may be used to develop new treatments that target the SVZ.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Children’s National Hospital. Its findings were reported in the “Nature Communications” journal.

A lot of research efforts are being invested in understanding brain cancers better, and with drug-development underway by companies such as CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP), the prospects of patients could improve significantly in the years to come.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/CNSP

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