The Cancer Genome Atlas Reports First Results Of Comprehensive Study of Brain Tumors
The Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network, a collaborative effort funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute, has reported the first results of its large-scale, comprehensive study of the most common form of brain cancer, glioblastoma.
Balintfy: The Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network, a collaborative effort funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute, has reported the first results of its large-scale, comprehensive study of the most common form of brain cancer, glioblastoma. Dr. Anna Barker, NCI's Deputy Director says that a great deal of data has been compiled, including details on core genetic pathways that are disrupted in this type of brain cancer.
Barker: What we found was that three very specific pathways are altered in nearly all glioblastoma, which may set the stage — it's early — but it may set the stage for some new approaches to developing new drugs.
Balintfy: Dr. Barker explains the importance of studying glioblastoma, or GBM. Barker: It's the most common of the adult brain tumors. And GBM when it's diagnosed actually, is generally fatal in about 14 months. It's one for which we do have some therapies but it's a particularly difficult tumor once diagnosed to treat. Beyond surgery, radiation and some, limited chemotherapy, we really don't have much in the way of therapy for this tumor.
Balintfy: More than 21,000 new cases of brain cancer are predicted in the United States this year, with more than 13,000 people likely to die from the disease. But Dr. Barker adds that there could be multiple benefits from this study. Barker: It could produce some short term gains for patients in terms of, you know, how do you combine drugs you already have. In terms of the future though, it's going to I think actually lead us in some new directions for therapy.Balintfy: Among the study findings are the identification of many gene mutations involved in GBM, including three previously unrecognized mutations that occur with significant frequency; and an unexpected observation that points to a potential mechanism of resistance to a common chemotherapy drug used for brain cancer. For more on this study, visit the website cancergenome.nih.gov. This is Joe Balintfy, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.