Put on your thinking caps for the latest brain tumor research

From the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Chicago

I just covered two sessions here at ASCO on central nervous system tumors: the oral presentation session and the clinical science symposium session on the role of stem cells in gliomas. I am still processing it all but I can say that there is some very complicated and sophisticated research going on in this area right now. Here’s just a preview:

CNS Tumor Treatment:

Novel vaccine: The combination of the investigational vaccine CDX-110 and temozolomide appears to increase overall survival and time to progression based on the latest results of a small phase II study conducted in a subpopulation of patients with glioblastoma multiforme. The study was presented by Dr. John H. Sampson, a neurosurgeon and pathologist at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Chemotherapy/radiation for low-grade glioma: Progression-free survival begins to improve after 2 years when patients with high-risk low-grade glioma are treated with chemotherapy (procarbazine/lomustine/vincristine) and radiation compared with radiotherapy alone, according to the results of a phase III trial reported by Dr. Edward G. Shaw, chair of the radiation oncology department at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Cancer Stem Cells:

Prognostic markers: A tumor’s ability to generate cancer stem cells in vitro and its expression of the proteins CD133 and Ki67 may turn out to be important prognostic markers of poor outcome in patients with glioblastoma multiforme, based on a study of tumors from 44 patients reported by Dr. Giuseppe L. Banna, of the department of medical oncology and hematology at the Istituto Clinico Humanitas, Milan.

Immunosuppression: In a study that may provide a new therapeutic target for glioblastoma multiforme, researchers found that the immunosuppressive effects of cancer stem cells on T-cell proliferation and function can be partially restored in vitro by blocking the transcription activator p-STAT-3 with the compound WP1066, according to a report by Dr. Amy B. Heimberger, a neurosurgeon at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.

—Kerri Wachter

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Filed under Neurology and Neurological Surgery, Oncology

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