A research team including an Indian origin scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital has found new biomarkers to help identify patients with recurrent glioblastoma, or brain tumours.
It will help in predicting which patients would respond better to anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy, specifically cediranib, which is an investigational, oral agent that is administered once daily.
"We found that results from an advanced MRI scan taken just a day after starting treatment correlated with survival," said lead researcher A. Gregory Sorensen, M.D., associate professor of radiology and health sciences and technology at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital.
"Combining MRI with blood biomarkers did an even better job of identifying patients who best responded to treatment.
"If this approach is validated in larger studies, we could use these tools to keep patients on therapies that their tumours respond to, and shift non-responders to other therapies much earlier," Sorensen added.
Using a form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that looked at the mechanism of action of the agent, the researchers were able to determine, even as early as after a single dose of cediranib, those patients who benefited from the agent and those who did not.
"Vascular normalization is an important mechanism of how these drugs work in cancer patients," said Dr Rakesh K. Jain, Andrew Werk Cook professor of tumor biology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Edwin L. Steele Laboratory for Tumor Biology in the department of radiation oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Centre, Boston.
"This is really a severe disease and being able to determine response at such an early point is helpful to tailor treatment," he said.
"If we can predict those responding to antiangiogenic therapy early on, we may be able to define where the benefit would be," he added.
The study appears in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.