The latest medical research on Neuro Oncology

The research magnet gathers the latest research from around the web, based on your specialty area. Below you will find a sample of some of the most recent articles from reputable medical journals about neuro oncology gathered by our medical AI research bot.

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Genome-wide association study on meningioma risk in Japan: a multicenter prospective study.

Journal of Neuro-Oncology

Although meningiomas are the most common primary intracranial tumors, their genetic etiologies have not been fully elucidated. To date, only two genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have focused on European ancestries, despite ethnic differences in the incidence of meningiomas. The aim of this study was to conduct the first GWAS of Japanese patients with meningiomas to identify the SNPs associated with meningioma susceptibility.

In this multicenter prospective case-control study, we studied 401 Japanese patients with meningioma admitted in five institutions in Japan, and 50,876 control participants of Japanese ancestry enrolled in Biobank Japan.

The quality control process yielded 536,319 variants and imputation resulted in 8,224,735 variants on the autosomes and 224,820 variants on the X chromosomes. This GWAS eventually revealed no genetic variants with genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10 - 8) and observed no significant association in the previously reported risk variants rs11012732 and rs2686876 due to low minor allele frequency in the Japanese population.

This is the first GWAS of meningiomas in East Asian populations and is expected to contribute to the development of GWAS research for meningiomas.

Super T2-FLAIR mismatch sign: a prognostic imaging biomarker for non-enhancing astrocytoma, IDH-mutant.

Journal of Neuro-Oncology

The T2-FLAIR mismatch sign is a highly specific diagnostic imaging biomarker for astrocytoma, IDH-mutant. However, a definitive prognostic imaging biomarker has yet to be identified. This study investigated imaging prognostic markers, specifically analyzing T2-weighted and FLAIR images of this tumor.

We retrospectively analyzed 31 cases of non-enhancing astrocytoma, IDH-mutant treated at our institution, and 30 cases from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA)/The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA). We defined "super T2-FLAIR mismatch sign" as having a significantly strong low signal comparable to cerebrospinal fluid at non-cystic lesions rather than just a pale FLAIR low-signal tumor lesion as in conventional T2-FLAIR mismatch sign. Cysts were defined as having a round or oval shape and were excluded from the criteria for the super T2-FLAIR mismatch sign. We evaluated the presence or absence of the T2-FLAIR mismatch sign and super T2-FLAIR mismatch sign using preoperative MRI and analyzed the progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) by log-rank test.

The T2-FLAIR mismatch sign was present in 17 cases (55%) in our institution and 9 cases (30%) within the TCGA-LGG dataset without any correlation with PFS or OS. However, the super T2-FLAIR mismatch sign was detected in 8 cases (26%) at our institution and 13 cases (43%) in the TCGA-LGG dataset. At our institution, patients displaying the super T2-FLAIR mismatch sign showed significantly extended PFS (122.7 vs. 35.9 months, p = 0.0491) and OS (not reached vs. 116.7 months, p = 0.0232). Similarly, in the TCGA-LGG dataset, those with the super T2-FLAIR mismatch sign exhibited notably longer OS (not reached vs. 44.0 months, p = 0.0177).

The super T2-FLAIR mismatch is a promising prognostic imaging biomarker for non-enhancing astrocytoma, IDH-mutant.

Automated segmentation of brain metastases with deep learning: a multi-center, randomized crossover, multi-reader evaluation study.


Artificial intelligence has been proposed for brain metastasis (BM) segmentation but it has not been fully clinically validated. The aim of this study was to develop and evaluate a system for BM segmentation.

A deep-learning-based BM segmentation system (BMSS) was developed using contrast-enhanced MR images from 488 patients with 10,338 brain metastases. A randomized crossover, multi-reader study was then conducted to evaluate the performance of the BMSS for BM segmentation using data prospectively collected from 50 patients with 203 metastases at five centers. Five radiology residents and five attending radiologists were randomly assigned to contour the same prospective set in assisted and unassisted modes. Aided and unaided Dice similarity coefficients (DSCs) and contouring times per lesion were compared.

The BMSS alone yielded a median DSC of 0.91 (95% confidence interval, 0.90-0.92) in the multi-center set and showed comparable performance between the internal and external sets (p = 0.67). With BMSS assistance, the readers increased the median DSC from 0.87 (0.87-0.88) to 0.92 (0.92-0.92) (p < 0.001) with a median time saving of 42% (40-45%) per lesion. Resident readers showed a greater improvement than attending readers in contouring accuracy (improved median DSC, 0.05 [0.05-0.05] vs. 0.03 [0.03-0.03]; p < 0.001), but a similar time reduction (reduced median time, 44% [40-47%] vs. 40% [37-44%]; p = 0.92) with BMSS assistance.

The BMSS can be optimally applied to improve the efficiency of brain metastasis delineation in clinical practice.

In Vivo Mouse Models for Adult Brain Tumors: Exploring Tumorigenesis and Advancing Immunotherapy Development.


Brain tumors, particularly glioblastoma (GBM), are devastating and challenging to treat, with a low 5-year survival rate of only 6.6%. Mouse models...

Targeting HTR2B suppresses non-functioning pituitary adenoma growth and sensitizes cabergoline treatment via inhibiting Gαq/PLC/PKCγ/STAT3 axis.


Managing non-functioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs) is difficult due to limited drug treatments. Cabergoline's (CAB) effectiveness for NFPAs is debated. This study explores the role of HTR2B in NFPAs and its therapeutic potential.

We conducted screening of bulk RNA-sequencing data to analyze HTR2B expression levels in NFPA samples. In vitro and in vivo experiments were performed to evaluate the effects of HTR2B modulation on tumor growth and cell cycle regulation. Mechanistic insights into the HTR2B-mediated signaling pathway were elucidated using pharmacological inhibitors and molecular interaction assays.

Elevated HTR2B expression was detected in NFPA samples, which was associated with increased tumor survival. Inhibition of HTR2B activity resulted in the suppression of tumor growth through modulation of the G2M cell cycle. The inhibition of HTR2B with PRX-08066 was found to block STAT3 phosphorylation and nuclear translocation by interfering with the Gαq/PLC/PKC pathway. A direct interaction between PKC-γ and STAT3 was critical for STAT3 activation. CAB was shown to activate pSTAT3 via HTR2B, reducing its therapeutic potential. However, the combination of an HTR2B antagonist with CAB significantly inhibited tumor cell proliferation in HTR2B-expressing pituitary tumor cell lines, a xenografted pituitary tumor model, and patient-derived samples. Analysis of patient-derived data indicated that a distinct molecular pattern characterized by upregulated HTR2B/PKC-γ and downregulated BTG2/GADD45A may benefit from combination treatment with CAB and PRX-08066.

HTR2B is a potential therapeutic target for NFPAs, and its inhibition could improve CAB efficacy. A dual therapy approach may be beneficial for NFPA patients with high HTR2B expression.

Prognostic value of surgical resection over biopsy in elderly patients with glioblastoma: a meta-analysis.

Journal of Neuro-Oncology

Maximal-safe resection has been shown to improve overall survival in elderly patients with glioblastoma in observational studies, however, the only clinical trial comparing resection versus biopsy in elderly patients with surgically-accessible glioblastoma showed no improvements in overall survival. A meta-analysis is needed to assess whether surgical resection of glioblastoma in older patients improves surgical outcomes when compared to biopsy alone.

A search was conducted until October 9th, 2023, to identify published studies reporting the clinical outcomes of glioblastoma patients > 65 years undergoing resection or biopsy (PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and COCHRANE). Primary outcomes were overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and complications. We analyzed mean difference (MD) and hazard ratio (HR) for survival outcomes. Postoperative complications were analyzed as a dichotomic categorical variable with risk ratio (RR).

From 784 articles, 20 cohort studies and 1 randomized controlled trial met our inclusion criteria, considering 20,523 patients for analysis. Patients undergoing surgical resection had an overall survival MD of 6.13 months (CI 95%=2.43-9.82, p = < 0.001) with a HR of 0.43 (95% CI = 0.35-0.52, p = < 0.00001). The progression-free survival MD was 2.34 months (95%CI = 0.79-3.89, p = 0.003) with a 0.50 h favoring resection (95%CI = 0.37-0.68, p = < 0.00001). The complication RR was higher in the resection group favoring biopsy (1.49, 95%CI = 1.06-2.10).

Our meta-analysis suggests that upfront resection is associated with improved overall survival and progression-free survival in elderly patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma over biopsy. However, postoperative complications are more common with resection. Future clinical trials are essential to provide more robust evaluation in this challenging patient population.

Simplifying synthesis of the expanding glioblastoma literature: a topic modeling approach.

Journal of Neuro-Oncology

Our study aims to discover the leading topics within glioblastoma (GB) research, and to examine if these topics have "hot" or "cold" trends. Additionally, we aim to showcase the potential of natural language processing (NLP) in facilitating research syntheses, offering an efficient strategy to dissect the landscape of academic literature in the realm of GB research.

The Scopus database was queried using "glioblastoma" as the search term, in the "TITLE" and "KEY" fields. BERTopic, an NLP-based topic modeling (TM) method, was used for probabilistic TM. We specified a minimum topic size of 300 documents and 5% probability cutoff for outlier detection. We labeled topics based on keywords and representative documents and visualized them with word clouds. Linear regression models were utilized to identify "hot" and "cold" topic trends per decade.

Our TM analysis categorized 43,329 articles into 15 distinct topics. The most common topics were Genomics, Survival, Drug Delivery, and Imaging, while the least common topics were Surgical Resection, MGMT Methylation, and Exosomes. The hottest topics over the 2020s were Viruses and Oncolytic Therapy, Anticancer Compounds, and Exosomes, while the cold topics were Surgical Resection, Angiogenesis, and Tumor Metabolism.

Our NLP methodology provided an extensive analysis of GB literature, revealing valuable insights about historical and contemporary patterns difficult to discern with traditional techniques. The outcomes offer guidance for research directions, policy, and identifying emerging trends. Our approach could be applied across research disciplines to summarize and examine scholarly literature, guiding future exploration.

A clinically compatible in vitro drug-screening platform identifies therapeutic vulnerabilities in primary cultures of brain metastases.

Journal of Neuro-Oncology

Brain metastases represent the most common intracranial tumors in adults and are associated with a poor prognosis. We used a personalized in vitro drug screening approach to characterize individual therapeutic vulnerabilities in brain metastases.

Short-term cultures of cancer cells isolated from brain metastasis patients were molecularly characterized using next-generation sequencing and functionally evaluated using high-throughput in vitro drug screening to characterize pharmacological treatment sensitivities.

Next-generation sequencing identified matched genetic alterations in brain metastasis tissue samples and corresponding short-term cultures, suggesting that short-term cultures of brain metastases are suitable models for recapitulating the genetic profile of brain metastases that may determine their sensitivity to anti-cancer drugs. Employing a high-throughput in vitro drug screening platform, we successfully screened the cultures of five brain metastases for response to 267 anticancer compounds and related drug response to genetic data. Among others, we found that targeted treatment with JAK3, HER2, or FGFR3 inhibitors showed anti-cancer effects in individual brain metastasis cultures.

Our preclinical study provides a proof-of-concept for combining molecular profiling with in vitro drug screening for predictive evaluation of therapeutic vulnerabilities in brain metastasis patients. This approach could advance the use of patient-derived cancer cells in clinical practice and might eventually facilitate decision-making for personalized drug treatment.

IL-13Rα2/TGF-β bispecific CAR-T cells counter TGF-β-mediated immune suppression and potentiate anti-tumor responses in glioblastoma.


Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapies targeting glioblastoma (GBM)-associated antigens such as interleukin-13 receptor subunit alpha-2 (IL-13Rα2) have achieved limited clinical efficacy to date, in part due to an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) characterized by inhibitory molecules such as transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β). The aim of this study was to engineer more potent GBM-targeting CAR-T cells by countering TGF-β-mediated immune suppression in the TME.

We engineered a single-chain, bispecific CAR targeting IL-13Rα2 and TGF-β, which programs tumor-specific T cells to convert TGF-β from an immunosuppressant to an immunostimulant. Bispecific IL-13Rα2/TGF-β CAR-T cells were evaluated for efficacy and safety against both patient-derived GBM xenografts and syngeneic models of murine glioma.

Treatment with IL-13Rα2/TGF-β CAR-T cells leads to greater T-cell infiltration and reduced suppressive myeloid cell presence in the tumor-bearing brain compared to treatment with conventional IL-13Rα2 CAR-T cells, resulting in improved survival in both patient-derived GBM xenografts and syngeneic models of murine glioma.

Our findings demonstrate that by reprogramming tumor-specific T-cell responses to TGF-β, bispecific IL-13Rα2/TGF-β CAR-T cells resist and remodel the immunosuppressive TME to drive potent anti-tumor responses in GBM.

A kinome drug screen identifies multi-TKI synergies and ERBB2 signaling as a therapeutic vulnerability in MYC/TYR subgroup ATRTs.


Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (ATRT) is a rare, devastating, and largely incurable pediatric brain tumor. Although recent studies have uncovered three molecular subgroups of ATRTs with distinct disease patterns, and signaling features, the therapeutic profiles of ATRT subgroups remain incompletely elucidated.

We examined the effect of 465 kinase inhibitors on a panel of ATRT subgroup-specific cell lines. We then applied multi-omics analyses to investigate the underlying molecular mechanism of kinase inhibitor efficacy in ATRT subgroups.

We observed that ATRT cell lines are broadly sensitive to inhibitors of the PI3K and MAPK signaling pathways, as well as CDKs, AURKA/B kinases, and PLK1. We identified two classes of multi-kinase inhibitors (MKIs) predominantly targeting receptors tyrosine kinase (RTKs) including PDGFR and EGFR/ERBB2 in MYC/TYR ATRT cells. The PDGFRB inhibitor, Dasatinib, synergistically affected MYC/TYR ATRT cell growth when combined with broad-acting PI3K and MAPK pathway inhibitors, including Rapamycin and Trametinib. We observed that MYC/TYR ATRT cells were also distinctly sensitive to various inhibitors of ERBB2 signaling. Transcriptional, H3K27Ac ChIPSeq, ATACSeq, and HiChIP analyses of primary MYC/TYR ATRTs revealed ERBB2 expression which correlated with differential methylation and activation of a distinct enhancer element by DNA looping. Significantly, we show the brain penetrant EGFR/ERBB2 inhibitor, Afatinib, specifically inhibited in vitro and in vivo growth of MYC/TYR ATRT cells.

Taken together our studies suggest combined treatments with PDGFR and ERBB2-directed TKIs with inhibitors of the PI3K and MAPK pathways as an important new therapeutic strategy for the MYC/TYR subgroup of ATRTs.

Safety and efficacy of selumetinib in pediatric and adult patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 and plexiform neurofibroma.


The MEK inhibitor, selumetinib, reduces plexiform neurofibroma (PN) in pediatric patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). Its safety and efficacy in adults with PN and effectiveness in other NF1manifestations (e.g., neurocognitive function, growth reduction, and café-au-lait spots) are unknown.

This open-label, phase 2 trial enrolled 90 pediatric or adult NF1 patients with inoperable, symptomatic, or potentially morbid, measurable PN (≥ 3 cm). Selumetinib was administered at doses of 20 or 25 mg/m2 or 50 mg q 12 hrs for 2 years. Pharmacokinetics, PN volume, growth parameters, neurocognitive function, café-au-lait spots, and quality of life (QoL) were evaluated.

Fifty-nine children and 30 adults (median age, 16 years; range, 3-47) received an average of 22±5 (4-26) cycles of selumetinib. Eighty-eight (98.9%) out of 89 per-protocol patients showed volume reduction in the target PN (median, 40.8%; 4.2%-92.2%), and 81 (91%) patients showed partial response (≥ 20% volume reduction). The response lasted until cycle 26. Scores of neurocognitive functions (verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, processing speed, and full-scale IQ) significantly improved in both pediatric and adult patients (P <0.05). Prepubertal patients showed increases in height score and growth velocity (P <0.05). Café-au-lait spot intensity decreased significantly (P <0.05). Improvements in QoL and pain scores were observed in both children and adults. All adverse events were CTCAE grade 1 or 2 and were successfully managed without drug discontinuation.

Selumetinib decrease PN volume in the majority of pediatric and adult NF1 patients while also showing efficacy in non-malignant diverse NF1 manifestations.

PET imaging of gliomas: Status quo and quo vadis?


PET imaging, particularly using amino acid tracers, has become a valuable adjunct to anatomical MRI in the clinical management of patients with gli...