Common Brain Cancer Needs to Be Treated as Two Diseases to Improve Cure

by Rajashri on Sep 15 2008 3:39 PM

New genetic studies have indicated that patients with glioblastoma, the most common type of brain cancer in America, may be helped if the condition is treated as two diseases instead of one.

Victor Velculescu of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics and Therapeutics in Baltimore, Maryland, says that glioblastoma patients whose cancers carry a mutation in a gene called IDH1 are 20 years younger than those without the mutation, on average.

The study has revealed that cancers carrying the mutation are less aggressive, the researcher says.

People with this type of the disease had a median survival time of 3.8 years after diagnosis as compared to 1.1 years for those without it, says the study report published in the journal Science.

Velculescu says that though no existing drugs target IDH1, patients with this mutation may respond differently to the drugs that are now used.

The researchers identified the genetic mutation after sequencing the DNA from 22 human glioblastoma samples, reports New Scientist magazine.