Cancer Culprit

Loss of Gene Promotes Brain Tumor Development

Arnab Chakravarti 2Research at the OSUCCC – James shows that loss of the NFKBIA gene promotes glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and deadly form of brain cancer. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, also suggests therapies that stabilize this gene may improve survival for certain patients.

“We show that NFKBIA status may be an independent predictor of survival in certain patients with glioblastoma,” says senior co-author Arnab Chakravarti, MD, professor and chair of Radiation Oncology and co-director of the Brain Tumor Program. “We also show that this gene plays a key role in glioblastoma behavior and could be useful for predicting treatment outcomes.”

An estimated 18,500 new cases of glioblastoma occur annually among Americans and result in 12,760 deaths.

Cancer Culprit-2Most cases are driven by overexpression of the EGFR gene, but this study shows that loss of the NFKBIA gene is equally potent in driving glioblastoma development, and that glioblastomas generally show either abnormally high levels of EGFR or loss of NFKBIA, but not both.

In addition, Chakravarti was principal investigator for an OSUCCC – James study suggesting that certain patients with spinal cord tumors have better long-term survival than others following radiation therapy. This study also indicates that photon-based radiotherapy results in better survival than proton-beam therapy for these tumors.

The researchers say this is the first study to report long-term outcomes of spinal-cord tumor patients treated by modern radiotherapy techniques.

“Our findings need to be verified in a larger number of patients, but they suggest that individuals younger than 54, those with ependymomas and those treated with photon-based versus proton-beam therapy have better overall survival,” Chakravarti says. “Perhaps most surprising is that the subset treated by protons appears to do worse, even though these patients have more favorable pretreatment demographics.”

Published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics.

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