TGen helps to develop an analysis tool, leading to

PHOENIX, Arizona – December 20, 2021 – An international team of scientists, including those from the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), a subsidiary of City of hope, has designed a tool that could help design more successful clinical trials for new drug treatments for brain tumors.

The results of an international study published in the Journal of Neuro-Oncology suggest that a tool called a nomogram could help predict the likely survival time of individual patients with glioblastoma, the most common malignant brain cancer in adults, with an average survival of less than two years.

However, survival times vary from patient to patient due to many factors including: age, location of tumor, amount of tumor removed by surgery and, most importantly in this study, the patient’s sex.

It is now well established that males are more likely to develop glioblastomas than females; and that females respond to treatment almost twice as fast as males. If these factors are not taken into account in the selection of clinical trial participants, the results could be skewed due to an imbalance between those receiving a new treatment and those receiving the current standard of care. Erroneous results could lead to the approval of a drug that has little or no value, or the rejection of a drug that might actually benefit particular patients.

“The more balanced the experimental treatment and control arms, the higher the likelihood that researchers will draw efficacy conclusions that fit into routine clinical use,” said Michel berens, Ph.D., professor and director of the Cancer and Cell Biology division at TGen, and one of the study authors.

“If we run out of some active drugs because we’ve stacked the game against ourselves, that would be tragic,” said Dr Berens, who is also TGen’s deputy director of institutional initiatives. “You have to find subsets of patients who have a better chance of benefiting from a specific new treatment. Give them the drugs. This is called precision medicine.

Study based on over 1,300 patients

In creating a nomogram for glioblastoma, the study looked at the results of two clinical trials with 1,359 patients newly diagnosed with glioblastoma.

“The differences in the gender nomograms shown here indicate that the prognosis for women and men may be different, and that these nomograms are useful tools for estimating patient-level odds of survival,” the study concludes, recommending that More research is needed to better characterize the exact biological mechanisms underlying the sex differences in glioblastoma.

Nomograms for other cancers are used in oncology and medicine to generate the probability of clinical events by integrating variables to produce biological and clinical models that aid in making treatment decisions. The predictive nomogram for glioblastoma developed in this study can be viewed at:

“The nomograms for glioblastoma address a significant unmet need in the design of clinical trials for new treatments for this deadly brain cancer, for which patients have few treatment options,” said Jill Barnholtz-Sloan, Ph.D., lead author of the study, previously Sally S. Morley Designated Professor for Brain Tumor Research at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Director of Health Analysis at research at Cleveland University Hospitals (both in Cleveland, Ohio).

“Despite advances in treatment and biological understanding, the prognosis of patients with glioblastoma remains grim and we do not understand the biological mechanisms underlying these known gender differences in terms of incidence and survival,” said said Dr Barnholtz-Sloan.

Also contributing to this study: Barrow Neurology Clinics Accruals, Arizona Oncology Services Foundation, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Penn State University, Washington University (St. Louis), University of Texas-MD Anderson Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Intermountain Medical Center, USON-Willamette Valley Cancer Center, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, American College of Radiology, Miami Cancer Institute, Tel-Aviv Medical Center (Israel) and McGill University Health Center (Canada).

The study – Independently validated sex-specific nomograms to predict survival in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma: NRG Oncology RTOG 0525 and 0825 – was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute, Merck & Co. Inc. and Genentech BioOncology.

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About TGen, a City of Hope Affiliate
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based nonprofit organization dedicated to driving ground-breaking research with life-changing results. TGen is affiliated with City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases: This affiliation with precision medicine allows the two institutes to complement each other in research and patient care, with City of Hope providing an important clinical setting to advance the scientific discoveries made by TGen. TGen is focused on helping patients with neurological disorders, cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases through cutting-edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research to benefit the patient). Doctors and scientists at TGen strive to unravel the genetic components of common and complex rare diseases in adults and children. By working with collaborators from scientific and medical communities around the world, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help our patients through the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information visit: Follow TGen on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @TGen.

Media contact:
Steve yozwiak
Senior Scientific Writer TGen
[email protected]

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