Gauging brain cancer survival time may get easier, study says

April 10, 2013
Gauging brain cancer survival time may get easier: study
People with overactive version of a specific enzyme live less than half as long, research suggests.

(HealthDay)—Life expectancy of people with aggressive brain cancer may be easier to determine with a new method under development at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, researchers say.

The UAB researchers found that patients with an overactive version of a specific enzyme live less than half as long as those with a less active version. This overactive enzyme can help predict how resistant the will be to chemotherapy, and also help doctors arrive at , the researchers said.

In conducting the study, published April 10 in the journal PLoS ONE, the researchers examined tumors from 84 patients with a form of brain cancer known as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). This deadly and quickly becomes resistant to available treatments. With a combination of surgery, radiation and the chemotherapy drug temozolomide, patients with this form of brain cancer typically survive an average of 12 to 15 months.

The study revealed, however, that 25 percent to 30 percent of the patients whose tumor cells had an overactive version of an enzyme known as cytochrome c oxidase (CcO) live less than half as long as patients with a less active version.

"Our study reports for the first time the role of [CcO] as a in GBM patients' tumor tissues," study leader Corinne Griguer, an associate professor of in the UAB School of Medicine, said in a university news release. "High CcO activity comes with a 25-fold increase in risk of death."

The researchers said patients with the overactive enzyme lived for an average of six months. Those with a less active version lived for 14 months. Examination of a second group of glioblastoma multiforme patients from Europe confirmed their findings, the researchers said.

They concluded that with increased CcO activity generate more energy and are more resistant to chemotherapy. The overactive enzyme also interferes with a protein, called cytochrome c, that triggers the self-destruction of cells infected or damaged by diseases such as cancer. When this happens, cancer cells can survive an abnormally long time.

But the researchers aren't stopping with this finding. "Giving some GBM patients bad news about their prognoses without also giving them better treatment options doesn't seem right to me," said Griguer, noting that the team is experimenting with another enzyme to try to predict patients' survival benefit from the chemo drug temozolomide.

"Our ultimate goal is to use the same mechanism that predicts shorter survival in some to design drugs that target cells not killed right away by chemotherapy," she said.

Explore further: Study finds new targets for drugs to defeat aggressive brain tumor

More information: The U.S. National Institutes of Health provides more information on brain cancer.

Related Stories

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 ...

Research shows new prognosis tool for deadly brain cancer

June 20, 2012
A diagnosis of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is generally a death sentence, but new research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison lab of Dr. John Kuo shows that at least one subtype is associated with a longer life expectancy. ...

Team reveals novel way to treat drug-resistant brain tumor cells

June 1, 2012
New research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison explains why the incurable brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), is highly resistant to current chemotherapies.

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.

Vitamin C may enhance radiation therapy for aggressive brain tumors

February 17, 2012
Recent research by the University of Otago, Wellington has shown that giving brain cancer cells high dose vitamin C makes them much more susceptible to radiation therapy.

Recommended for you

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

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.