Cancer researchers confirm brain tumor genetic subtype informs treatment, predicts outcome

July 06, 2006

Calgary - Research confirms that determining the genetic composition of brain cancers can better inform doctors and patients for treatment options and prognosis. The findings could change the future of how cancers are diagnosed.

A study published in the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology confirmed that a specific chromosomal change in oligodendroglial brain tumours, first discovered by U of C researcher Dr. Gregory Cairncross, is associated with a very good prognosis and may also identify patients who would benefit from chemotherapy treatment in addition to radiotherapy at diagnosis for longer tumour control.

"The old school of thought was that a cancer is a cancer is a cancer, but that simply doesn't hold true with what we know today. Looking at a cancer under the microscope is not enough anymore," says Cairncross, principal investigator for the clinical trial and head of clinical neurosciences at the U of C's Faculty of Medicine and Calgary Health Region. "By testing for the genetic makeup of brain cancers, we can better define what 'cancer' we're dealing with, which helps us make better and wiser treatment recommendations for our patients."

This insight offers hope to refine the way brain cancers - and all cancers - are evaluated in the future. Recognizing the evolution from microscopic diagnosis to molecular diagnosis, the U of C and Alberta Cancer Board are developing a new Molecular Diagnostics Program in the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary, Alta. The program, which will provide space for testing the molecular and genetic composition of brain tumours, is initially funded by the Alberta Cancer Foundation Chair in Brain Tumour Research at the University of Calgary.

"The new laboratory will allow us to test the genetic makeup of brain cancers prior to starting treatment," says Dr. Chris Brown, director, of the Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute. "Research is leading cancer researchers and clinicians to change the way we test tumours and customize treatments. We are excited about the laboratory's potential to guide and improve cancer treatment in Alberta and the world."

"When fully operational, the new laboratory will focus attention on the evaluation of genetic changes in oligodendrogliomas and glioblastomas, two types of brain cancer where genetic subtypes exist," says Tony Magliocco, director, Translational Laboratories, Tom Baker Cancer Centre. "Currently, the diagnostic test procedures are being perfected and in the coming months will be applied to newly diagnosed tumour samples from across Alberta."
-end-
For more information

Colleen Donahue
U of C Faculty of Medicine communications
403-210-8522 t.
403-470-8141 c.
Lee Elliott
ACB communications
780-409-5715 t.

About Gregory Cairncross, MD
Dr. Greg Cairncross is the head of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Calgary and the Calgary Health Region, and is a member of the university's Hotchkiss Brain Institute and Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute. He holds the Alberta Cancer Foundation Chair in Brain Tumour Research. Also funded by the Cancer Research Society and AHFMR, Cairncross served as lead researcher for the Intergroup Radiation Therapy Oncology Group Trial 9402, which saw collaboration from cancer researchers in Canada and the United States, including the U of C, McGill and the Mayo Clinic. The results of their clinical trail are detailed in "Phase III Trial of Chemotherapy Plus Radiotherapy Compared with Radiotherapy Alone for Pure and Mixed Anaplastic Oligodendroglioma: Intergroup Radiation Therapy Oncology Group Trial 9402," published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology's June 20, 2006 issue. In 1998, he discovered the predictive value of chromosomal changes in oligodendoglial brain tumours.

About the Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute
The Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute is a collaboration of the Alberta Cancer Board, University of Calgary and the Calgary Health Region to accelerate the acquisition and application of new knowledge in cancer research. It strives to bring research from laboratory benches to patient bedsides and into the community.

About the Alberta Cancer Board and Foundation
The Alberta Cancer Board (ACB) and Foundation (ACF) work toward a Cancer Free Future by coordinating and funding collaborative cancer research and by providing evidence-based prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment and care. ACB provides patient care through its Calgary Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Edmonton Cross Cancer Institute and 15 associate and community cancer treatment centres. ACF donors contributed more than $29 million last year to ACB research and cancer care programs.

Alberta Cancer Board

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.