JUN 14, 2015 1:21 PM PDT

Aggressive Cancer Cause

WRITTEN BY: Ilene Schneider
Oligodendroglioma, which can be an especially aggressive form of brain cancer, may be caused by a genetic mutation. Scientists from the UK's Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) in London, in collaboration with laboratories in France and Canada, compared the genetic sequence of 134 oligodendrogliomas with the DNA of healthy cells and discovered that errors in a gene known as TCF12 are associated with the more aggressive anaplastic oligodendrogliomas. These gene mutations were found in 7.5 percent of anaplastic oligodendrogliomas. The subset of cancers appeared to grow more rapidly and be more aggressive than cancers in which this gene was intact, according to the researchers. The results were published in the journal Nature Communications and reported in Medical News Today. The article, written by Markus MacGill, explains that anaplastic oligodendroglioma are "rare primary brain tumors that are generally incurable," with a highly variable overall prognosis and few treatment targets identified (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/295260.php).
Researchers think a genetic mutation causes a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer.
According to the American Brain Tumor Association, approximately 4 percent of primary brain tumors are oligodendrogliomas, representing about 10 to 15 percent of the gliomas. If the tumor is accessible, standard treatment entails surgical removal of as much of the tumor tissue as possible. If the tumor is not accessible, a biopsy is usually performed to confirm the diagnosis and determine the grade of the tumor. Recurrent low-grade oligodendrogliomas can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. The particularly aggressive form of the cancer, anaplastic oligodendroglioma, is usually treated with a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Recurrent anaplastic oligodendroglioma may be treated with surgery and/or chemotherapy. (http://www.abta.org/brain-tumor-information/types-of-tumors/oligodendroglioma.html)

As Richard Houlston, professor of molecular and population genetics at ICR, explained, "Our in-depth study has set out many of the genetic defects that cause this rare but highly aggressive form of brain cancer, including identifying a gene mutation that appears in particularly fast-growing forms. Anaplastic oligodendrogliomas are difficult to remove by surgery and don't respond well to other forms of treatment. We hope this new information might be used to discover new targeted therapies, offering patients a better chance at survival from this aggressive cancer."

In finding genetic faults behind anaplastic oligodendrogliomas, the researchers hope to give other scientists the knowledge they need to develop personalized therapies for this aggressive cancer. They believe that TCF12 is the genetic code for a protein that binds to DNA and controls the activity of other genes. When there are mutations in the gene, the protein is less capable of binding to DNA, thereby reducing the activity of other important genes, including one that is already associated with metastasis. The researchers initially scanned the DNA sequence of 51 tumors and then looked for TCF12 mutations in an additional group of 83. Additionally, they found errors in a gene known as IDH1 in 78 percent of the tumors, confirming an earlier data scan. After they obtained consistencies with a more aggressive tumor expression, the researchers profiled the features of the tumors with the TCF12 mutation as compared with those that did not have the genetic error. They discovered "a greater extent of necrosis, higher mitotic index (a measure of the proportion of cells undergoing division and so proliferating) and staining differences seen under the microscope." They believe that their study is "the largest sequencing study of anaplastic oligodendroglioma done to date, although further work would be needed to increase the power of associations."
About the Author
  • Ilene Schneider is the owner of Schneider the Writer, a firm that provides communications for health care, high technology and service enterprises. Her specialties include public relations, media relations, advertising, journalistic writing, editing, grant writing and corporate creativity consulting services. Prior to starting her own business in 1985, Ilene was editor of the Cleveland edition of TV Guide, associate editor of School Product News (Penton Publishing) and senior public relations representative at Beckman Instruments, Inc. She was profiled in a book, How to Open and Operate a Home-Based Writing Business and listed in Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who in Advertising and Who's Who in Media and Communications. She was the recipient of the Women in Communications, Inc. Clarion Award in advertising. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Ilene and her family have lived in Irvine, California, since 1978.
You May Also Like
JUL 07, 2021
Cancer
Chemotherapy Disrupts Gut Bacteria in Cancer Patients
JUL 07, 2021
Chemotherapy Disrupts Gut Bacteria in Cancer Patients
Researchers from Australia have found that the conventional chemotherapy used to treat various cancers disrupts the comp ...
JUL 18, 2021
Cancer
Light Alcohol Use Linked to Higher Cancer Risk
JUL 18, 2021
Light Alcohol Use Linked to Higher Cancer Risk
Moderate alcohol use is linked to a substantially higher risk of several forms of cancer, including breast, colon, and o ...
AUG 30, 2021
Cancer
A Hot Approach to CAR T Cells
AUG 30, 2021
A Hot Approach to CAR T Cells
Immunotherapy, a type of treatment that targets a patient’s immune system to enhance the natural ability to attack ...
OCT 10, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
DNA Can Reveal Treatments for Lung Cancer in 'Never-Smoked' Patients
OCT 10, 2021
DNA Can Reveal Treatments for Lung Cancer in 'Never-Smoked' Patients
There is a well-known causal connection between smoking and lung cancer, and most research on lung cancer has been focus ...
OCT 28, 2021
Cancer
NF-κB: a Trick or a Treat for Cancer?
OCT 28, 2021
NF-κB: a Trick or a Treat for Cancer?
A family of proteins, known as transcription factors, regulate the biological process of converting DNA into RNA. T ...
NOV 11, 2021
Cancer
US Military Veterans: Cancer Risk and Cancer Research
NOV 11, 2021
US Military Veterans: Cancer Risk and Cancer Research
The US Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) estimates about 50,000 new cancer cases diagnosed each year. In total, ...
Loading Comments...