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March 22, 2005

Progress in Brain Tumor Therapy

Topics: Medicine

The Chemotherapy agent temozolomide prolongs life; first addition to treatment in 30 years.

CALGARY - Adding the chemotherapy agent temozolomide (Temodal) to radiotherapy significantly improves survival in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma, according to findings of an international study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The research also offered a new understanding of the molecular marker MGMT, a gene responsible for the repair of certain types of DNA damage in patients with this common type of brain tumour. Almost half (45%) of study patients whose tumours carry an inactivated MGMT gene are alive after two years with the combined therapy.

"We haven't made any headway in treating this cancer type in 30 years, since we first noticed that radiation was helpful. So the addition of this chemotherapy drug prolongs life on average, and for a particular subset of patients that we can now identify through a genetic molecule test on their tumour, the benefit is substantial," said lead study author Dr. Greg Cairncross, head of clinical neurosciences at the University of Calgary/Calgary Health Region.

"For everyone we've had some improvement," he added.

Related reading:
Trial shows which brain cancer patients benefit from temozolomide

Aberrant promoter methylation of tumor suppressor genes in serum from lung cancer patients: frequency and correlation with clinicopathological characteristics.

Posted by Hyscience at March 22, 2005 10:46 AM



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