Study finds new targets for drugs to defeat aggressive brain tumor

December 14, 2012

University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) researchers have identified over 125 genetic components in a chemotherapy-resistant, brain tumor-derived cell line, which could offer new hope for drug treatment to destroy the cancer cells.

The results will be reported in the cover story of December's issue of the journal Molecular Cancer Research, to be published Dec. 18 and currently available online.

The potential were identified after testing more than 5,000 genes derived from glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive brain tumor. The genes were evaluated for their role in responding to the chemotherapy drug temozolomide.

"The current standard of care for people with this type of cancer is to remove as much of the tumor as possible, and then treat with radiation and temozolomide," said lead author David Svilar, Ph.D., a student in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "However, glioblastoma multiforme is highly resistant to this chemotherapy drug, so we need to find better treatments to improve the patient survival rate."

According to the , glioblastoma multiforme is the most common type of brain tumor in adults. It accounts for about 15 percent of all , and typically occurs in people between the ages of 45 and 70 years.

Patients with glioblastoma multiforme usually survive less than 15 months after diagnosis, and there are no effective long-term treatments for the disease.

Temozolomide, also known by the brand name Temodar, works by modifying the cancer's DNA in a way that triggers cell death. It has been approved by the U.S. for use in brain tumors and is in clinical trials for other cancers, such as melanoma and leukemia. It is well-tolerated in most patients.

"Unfortunately, some cancers - particularly – are able to repair the done to the tumor by Temozolomide before the are destroyed," said senior author Robert W. Sobol, Ph.D., a scientist at UPCI and an associate professor in the departments of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology and Human Genetics. "Clinical trials are underway to test drugs and chemotherapy dosing schedules to inhibit this repair, but none have proven effective to date."

Dr. Sobol and his colleagues identified multiple "druggable" targets that could make the cancer more sensitive to temozolomide, as well as the processes that allow the tumor to survive the onslaught of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

"Our hope is that drug companies will use our findings to develop adjuvant that will vastly improve patient survival from this deadly cancer," said Dr. Sobol.

Explore further: UC Irvine opens clinical trial of novel treatment for brain cancer

Related Stories

UC Irvine opens clinical trial of novel treatment for brain cancer

October 10, 2012
UC Irvine doctors are enrolling patients with the deadly brain tumor glioblastoma multiforme in a clinical trial of a vaccine that may prevent the cancer's return or spread after surgery.

Study suggests new treatment target for glioblastoma multiforme

August 1, 2012
A study by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers published online today in Nature reveals new insight into why the most common, deadly kind of brain tumor in adults recurs and identifies a potential target for future ...

Brain cancer breakthrough: Experimental vaccine trains immune system to target remaining tumor cells after surgery

November 14, 2012
UC Irvine oncologists are looking for new ways to treat glioblastoma multiforme, the deadliest type of brain cancer. While surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation is the current standard of care, it doesn't fully eliminate ...

Choice of seizure drug for brain tumor patients may affect survival

August 31, 2011
New research suggests brain tumor patients who take the seizure drug valproic acid on top of standard treatment may live longer than people who take other kinds of epilepsy medications to control seizures. The research is ...

Recommended for you

Cancer-death button gets jammed by gut bacterium

July 27, 2017
Researchers at Michigan Medicine and in China showed that a type of bacterium is associated with the recurrence of colorectal cancer and poor outcomes. They found that Fusobacterium nucleatum in the gut can stop chemotherapy ...

Researchers release first draft of a genome-wide cancer 'dependency map'

July 27, 2017
In one of the largest efforts to build a comprehensive catalog of genetic vulnerabilities in cancer, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified more than 760 genes ...

Long-sought mechanism of metastasis is discovered in pancreatic cancer

July 27, 2017
Cells, just like people, have memories. They retain molecular markers that at the beginning of their existence helped guide their development. Cells that become cancerous may be making use of these early memories to power ...

Blocking the back-door that cancer cells use to escape death by radiotherapy

July 27, 2017
A natural healing mechanism of the body may be reducing the efficiency of radiotherapy in breast cancer patients, according to a new study.

Manmade peptides reduce breast cancer's spread

July 27, 2017
Manmade peptides that directly disrupt the inner workings of a gene known to support cancer's spread significantly reduce metastasis in a mouse model of breast cancer, scientists say.

Glowing tumor technology helps surgeons remove hidden cancer cells

July 27, 2017
Surgeons were able to identify and remove a greater number of cancerous nodules from lung cancer patients when combining intraoperative molecular imaging (IMI) - through the use of a contrast agent that makes tumor cells ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.