Friday, July 06, 2007

Valproic acid and brain tumors

Besides its antiepileptic effects, valproic acid promotes differentiation of neurons into mature cell liens and inhibits proliferation of neuroectodermal lines. This has led to the use of valproic acid in pediatric patients who are s/p chemotherapy and radiation therapy for malignant glioma (Driever etal. al Klin Ped 1999; 21:323-8). Valproic acide also inhibits histone deacetylases, as do topamax and one of the metabolites of levitiracetam (PBA).

MGMT gene silencing and temozolamide in GBM

Hegi et al. NEJM 2005; 352:997-1003

Epigenetic gene silencing of the MGMT (06 methylguanine DNA methyltransferase) DNA repair gene by promoter methylation compromises DNA repair and is associated with longer survival in GBM patients receiving chemotherapy. This was also found to be true in radiotherapy; patietns with a methylated MGMT promoter had a survival benefit.

Oligodendroglioma: towards definition and treatment

Reifenberger G, Louis DN. Oligodendroglioma: towards molecular definitions in diagnostic neurooncology. Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology. 2003; 62:111-126.

Since 1988 the treatment options have differed for different types of gliomas. Recurrent anaplastic astrocytomas sometimes respond dramatically to PCV (procarbazine, lomustine and vincristine). Since 1990 the same is true for newly diagnosed analplastic oligodendrogliomas. The response may be durable and may also occur with temozolomide, an oral agent.

Diagnostic markers such as Olig1 and Olig2 are not reliable. Microtubule associated protein (MAP2) is not specific although it is sensitive. In 1998 Cairncross reported response to chemo is strongly related to allelic losses on 1p or 19q in resected tumor tissue. The correspond to WHO grade II tumors. Testing is performed at a few specialized labs and is not considered routine. At MGH LOH 1p and 19q testing costs $800. In another study, Kim and Kim (Acta Neuropath 2005) found two light microscopy histological features, tumor cellularity and perinuclear halo were associated with the two markers above.