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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In Vivo Functional Characterization of EGFR Variants Identifies Novel Drivers of Glioblastoma.


Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive primary brain tumor. Large scale sequencing initiatives have cataloged its mutational landscape in hopes of elucidating mechanisms driving this deadly disease. However, a major bottleneck in harnessing this data for new therapies is deciphering "driver" and "passenger" events amongst the vast volume of information.

We utilized an autochthonous, in vivo screening approach to identify driver, EGFR variants. RNA-Seq identified unique molecular signatures of mouse gliomas across these variants, which only differ by a single amino acid change. In particular, we identified alterations to lipid metabolism, which we further validated through an unbiased lipidomics screen.

Our screen identified A289I as the most potent EGFR variant, which has previously not been characterized. One of the mechanisms through with A289I promotes gliomagenesis is to alter cellular triacylglycerides through MTTP. Knockout of Mttp in mouse gliomas, reduces gliomagenesis in multiple models.

EGFR variants that differ by a single amino acid residue differentially promote gliomagenesis. Among the identified mechanism that drive glioma growth include lipid metabolism through MTTP. Understanding triacylglyceride accumulation may present a prospective therapeutic pathway for this deadly disease.

Impact of seizures and antiseizure medication on survival in patients with glioma.

Journal of Neuro-Oncology

Seizures are a common presenting symptom among patients with low- and high-grade glioma. However, the impact and inter-relationship between the presence of seizures, anti-seizure medication (ASM) and survival are unclear. We retrospectively analyzed the incidence of seizures and identified the pattern and relationship of anti-seizure medication on survival in our cohort of patients with glioma.

We evaluated all glioma patients who underwent treatment at the University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) between 2008 and 2020. Demographic and clinical data of seizures and pattern of ASM administration in comparison to overall survival were analyzed.

A total of 235 patients were studied, with a minimum of one year clinical follow-up post-treatment. The median survival for low-grade glioma was 38 months whereas high-grade glioma was 15 months. One-third of our glioma patients (n = 74) presented with seizures. All patients with seizures and a further 31% of patients without seizures were started on anti-seizure medication preoperatively. Seizure and Levetiracetam (LEV) were significantly associated with OS on univariate analysis. However, only LEV (HR 0.49; 95% CI 0.23-0.87; p=0.02) was significantly associated with improving overall survival (OS) on multivariate analysis. Once ASM was adjusted for relevant factors and each other, LEV was associated with improved survival in all grade gliomas (HR 0.52; 95% CI 0.31-0.88; p=0.02) and specifically high-grade gliomas (HR 0.53; 95% CI 0.30-0.94; p=0.03).

Pre-operative seizures among patients with glioma indicated a better overall prognosis. The administration of ASM, specifically LEV was associated with a  significant survival advantage in our retrospective cohort of patients.

Is intracranial volume a risk factor for IDH-mutant low-grade glioma? A case-control study.

Journal of Neuro-Oncology

Risk of cancer has been associated with body or organ size in several studies. We sought to investigate the relationship between intracranial volume (ICV) (as a proxy for lifetime maximum brain size) and risk of IDH-mutant low-grade glioma.

In a multicenter case-control study based on population-based data, we included 154 patients with IDH-mutant WHO grade 2 glioma and 995 healthy controls. ICV in both groups was calculated from 3D MRI brain scans using an automated reverse brain mask method, and then compared using a binomial logistic regression model.

We found a non-linear association between ICV and risk of glioma with increasing risk above and below a threshold of 1394 ml (p < 0.001). After adjusting for ICV, sex was not a risk factor for glioma.

Intracranial volume may be a risk factor for IDH-mutant low-grade glioma, but the relationship seems to be non-linear with increased risk both above and below a threshold in intracranial volume.

Preoperative and postoperative memory in epilepsy patients with 'gliosis only' versus hippocampal sclerosis: a matched case-control study.

Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

Gliosis only (GO) and hippocampal sclerosis (HS) are distinct histopathological entities in mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. This study explores whether this distinction also exists on a functional level when evaluating pre- and postoperative memory.

Using a retrospective matched case-control study design, we analysed verbal and visual memory performance in 49 patients with GO and 49 patients with HS before and one year after elective surgery.

Clinical differences were evident with a later age at seizure onset (18±12 vs 12±9 years) and fewer postoperative seizure-free patients in the GO group (63% vs 82%). Preoperatively, group and individual-level data demonstrated that memory impairments were less frequent, less severe and relatively non-specific in patients with GO compared with HS. Postoperatively, verbal memory declined in both groups, particularly after left-sided resections, with more significant losses in patients with GO. Factoring in floor effects, GO was also associated with more significant visual memory loss, particularly after left resections.

Compared with HS, GO is characterised by (1) a later onset of epilepsy, (2) less pronounced and more non-specific memory impairments before surgery, (3) a less successful surgical outcome and (4) a more significant memory decline after surgery. Overall, our results regarding cognition provide further evidence that GO and HS are distinct clinical entities. Functional integrity of the hippocampus appears higher in GO, as indicated by a better preoperative memory performance and worse memory outcome after surgery. The different risk-benefit ratios should be considered during presurgical patient counselling.

Somatic symptom disorder in patients with post-COVID-19 neurological symptoms: a preliminary report from the somatic study (Somatic Symptom Disorder Triggered by COVID-19).

Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

To assess the diagnosis of somatic symptom disorder (SSD) in patients with unexplained neurological symptoms occurring after SARS-CoV-2 infection, also referred to as long COVID.

Patients were contacted for a standardised psychometric evaluation by phone, followed by a self-survey.

Although the patients did not meet the DSM-5 criteria for a functional neurological symptom disorder specifically, SSD diagnosis based on DSM-5 criteria was positive in 32 (64%) patients. In the remaining 18 patients, SSD was considered possible given the high score on diagnostic scales. Physical examination were normal for all. Brain MRI showed unspecific minor white matter hyperintensities in 8/46 patients. Neuropsychological assessment showed exclusively mild impairment of attention in 14 out of 15 tested patients, in discrepancy with their major subjective complaint. Forty-five (90%) patients met criteria for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Seventeen (32%) patients were screened positive for mood-anxiety disorders, 19 (38%) had a history of prior SSD and 27 (54%) reported past trauma. Additional self-survey highlighted post-traumatic stress disorder in 12/43 (28%), high levels of alexithymia traits and perfectionism. Long-lasting symptoms had a major impact with a high rate of insomnia (29/43, 67%), psychiatric follow-up (28/50, 56%) and work or pay loss (25/50, 50%).

A majority of patients with unexplained long-lasting neurological symptoms after mild COVID met diagnostic criteria for SSD and may require specific management.


Exploring the phenotype of Italian patients with ALS with intermediate ATXN2 polyQ repeats.

Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

To detect the clinical characteristics of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) carrying an intermediate ATXN2 polyQ number of repeats in a large population-based series of Italian patients with ALS.

The study population includes 1330 patients with ALS identified through the Piemonte and Valle d'Aosta Register for ALS, diagnosed between 2007 and 2019 and not carrying C9orf72, SOD1, TARDBP and FUS mutations. Controls were 1274 age, sex and geographically matched Italian subjects, identified through patients' general practitioners.

We found 42 cases and 4 controls with≥31 polyQ repeats, corresponding to an estimated OR of 10.4 (95% CI 3.3 to 29.0). Patients with≥31 polyQ repeats (ATXN2+) compared with those without repeat expansion (ATXN2-) had more frequently a spinal onset (p=0.05), a shorter diagnostic delay (p=0.004), a faster rate of ALSFRS-R progression (p=0.004) and King's progression (p=0.004), and comorbid frontotemporal dementia (7 (28.0%) vs 121 (13.4%), p=0.037). ATXN2+ patients had a 1-year shorter survival (ATXN2+ patients 1.82 years, 95% CI 1.08 to 2.51; ATXN2- 2.84 years, 95% CI 1.67 to 5.58, p=0.0001). ATXN2 polyQ intermediate repeats was independently related to a worse outcome in Cox multivariable analysis (p=0.006).

In our population-based cohort, ATXN2+ patients with ALS have a distinctive phenotype, characterised by a more rapid disease course and a shorter survival. In addition, ATXN2+ patients have a more severe impairment of cognitive functions. These findings have relevant implications on clinical practice, including the possibility of refining the individual prognostic prediction and improving the design of ALS clinical trials, in particular as regards as those targeted explicitly to ATXN2.

Risk of stroke in multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optic spectrum disorder: a Nationwide cohort study in South Korea.

Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) are more likely to develop stroke than those without. However, little is known about the association between neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) and the risk of stroke. We aimed to estimate the risk of stroke in patients with MS and NMOSD in South Korea.

Data from the Korean National Health Insurance between January 2010 and December 2017 were analysed. A total of 1541/1687 adult patients with MS/NMOSD, who were free of stroke were included. Matched controls were selected based on age, sex and the presence of hypertension, diabetes mellitus and dyslipidaemia.

The risk of developing stroke was 2.78 times higher (adjusted HR (aHR), 95% CI 1.91 to 4.05) in patients with MS compared with controls matched by age, sex, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and dyslipidaemia. The risk of stroke in NMOSD was also higher than that in matched controls (aHR=1.69, 95% CI 1.10 to 2.61) and not statistically different from that of MS (p=0.216). The patients with MS had a higher risk for either of ischaemic or haemorrhagic stroke (HR=2.63 and 2.93, respectively), whereas those with NMOSD had a higher risk for ischaemic stroke (HR=1.60) with marginal statistical significance.

The risk of stroke is increased in patients with MS and NMOSD and seemed comparable between the two conditions. This is the first study that estimates the risk of stroke in patients with MS and NMOSD within the same population.

Protontherapy for adult craniopharyngioma: experience of a single institution in 91 consecutive patients.


Craniopharyngioma (CP) in adults is a rare benign tumor associated with many morbidities, with limited contemporary studies to define treatment, and follow-up guidelines.

A single-center retrospective study was conducted on patients aged ≥18-years from 2006-2018 with CP and who were treated with proton therapy (PT). Late toxicity was defined as a minimum of 18 months from diagnosis. Overall survival (OS), local recurrence-free survival (LRFS), and toxicity were characterized using Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analyses.

Ninety-one patients met the criteria, with a median age of 37-years (range 18-82y). PT was conducted after tumor resection in 88 patients (97%), in 64 patients (70.3%) as an adjuvant strategy and 27 (29.7%) after recurrent disease. Three patients received exclusive PT. A median MRI follow-up of 39 months revealed 35.2% complete response, 49.5% partial response, and 9.9% stable disease. Five patients developed local recurrence (LR). Pattern of failure study showed that these five LR were within the GTV volume. The 5-year LRFS was 92.0% [CI95%:84.90-99.60]. All the patients were alive at the end of the follow-up. Patients requiring treatment adaptation during PT tend to have a higher risk of LR (p=0.084). Endocrinopathy was the most frequent grade≥2 late toxicity. Among patients who were symptom-free before the start of treatment, none developed hearing toxicity but four (9.8%) developed visual disorders and 10 (11.3%) symptomatic memory impairment. Patients with large tumors had a higher risk of developing symptomatic memory impairment (p=0.029).

Adults with CP treated with PT have favorable survival outcomes, with acceptable late toxicity. Prospective quality-of-life and neurocognitive studies are needed to define late adverse effects better.

Intrathecal therapy for the management of leptomeningeal metastatic disease: a scoping review of the current literature and ongoing clinical trials.

Journal of Neuro-Oncology

Leptomeningeal metastatic disease (LMD) from advanced malignancies has poor prognoses and limited treatments. Intrathecal therapy (ITT) protocols are available, showing variable outcomes. We reviewed the therapeutic and toxicity profiles of ITT in LMD.

PubMed, EMBASE, Web-of-Science, and Scopus were searched following the PRISMA-ScR guidelines to include studies reporting ITT for LMD.

gov and Cochrane were searched to identify ongoing clinical trials.

We included 27 published studies encompassing 2161 patients and 4 ongoing trials. LMD originated from brain metastases (85.5%), lymphomas (5.4%), high-grade gliomas (4.6%), medulloblastomas (2.3%), and leukemias (2.1%). LMD was mostly diagnosed with the co-presence of neurological-related symptoms and positive imaging and/or cerebrospinal fluid cytology (60.8%). The most common ITT agents were methotrexate (35.9%), cytarabine (21.9%), and thiotepa (8.2%), standalone or combined. Patients received a median of 6.5 ITT cycles (range, 1.0-71.0) via intraventricular (58.8%) or lumbar intrathecal (41.2%) routes. The Ommaya reservoir was implanted in 38.5% cases. Concurrent systemic chemotherapy (45.2%) and/or radiotherapy (30.6%) were used. After 1-3 cycles, 44.7% patients had improved clinical status and 29.9% converted into negative cerebrospinal fluid cytology. The most common ITT-related severe adverse events were neutropenia (6.5%), meningitis (5.2%) and encephalopathy (4.5%). Median freedom from progression was 2.4 months (range, 0.1-59.5) and median overall survival 5.5 months (range, 0.1-148.0).

Current ITT protocols are variable but effective and well-tolerated in LMD. Ongoing trials are investigating dose-limiting toxicity profiles and long-term overall survival. Future studies should analyze the therapeutic and safety profiles of ITT compared to newer systemic therapies.

Gamma knife icon based hypofractionated stereotactic radiosurgery (GKI-HSRS) for brain metastases: impact of dose and volume.

Journal of Neuro-Oncology

Gamma Knife Icon-based hypofractionated stereotactic radiosurgery (GKI-HSRS) is a novel technical paradigm in the treatment of brain metastases that allows for both the dosimetric benefits of the GKI stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) platform as well as the biologic benefits of fractionation. We report mature local control and adverse radiation effect (ARE) outcomes following 5 fraction GKI-HSRS for intact brain metastases.

Patients with intact brain metastases treated with 5-fraction GKI-HSRS were retrospectively reviewed. Survival, local control, and adverse radiation effect rates were determined. Univariable and multivariable regression (MVA) were performed on potential predictive factors.

Two hundred and ninety-nine metastases in 146 patients were identified. The median clinical follow-up was 10.7 months (range 0.5-47.6). The median total dose and prescription isodose was 27.5 Gy (range, 20-27.5) in 5 daily fractions and 52% (range, 45-93), respectively. The median overall survival (OS) was 12.7 months, and the 1-year local failure rate was 15.2%. MVA identified a total dose of 27.5 Gy vs. ≤ 25 Gy (hazard ratio [HR] 0.59, p = 0.042), and prior chemotherapy exposure (HR 1.99, p = 0.015), as significant predictors of LC. The 1-year ARE rate was 10.8% and the symptomatic ARE rate was 1.8%. MVA identified a gross tumor volume of ≥ 4.5 cc (HR 7.29, p < 0.001) as a significant predictor of symptomatic ARE.

Moderate total doses in 5 daily fractions of GKI-HSRS were associated with high rates of LC and a low incidence of symptomatic ARE.

Safety of temozolomide use in adult patients with renal dysfunction.

Journal of Neuro-Oncology

Temozolomide (TMZ), a cytotoxic DNA alkylating agent, is the main chemotherapy used for the treatment of high grade astrocytomas. The active alkylator, methylhydrazine, is not recovered in urine and thus renal function is not expected to affect clearance. Prescribing information for TMZ states pharmacokinetics have not been studied in adults with poor renal function, eGFR < 36 mL/min/1.73 m2. We reviewed our clinical experience with TMZ in patients with impaired renal function to evaluate safety of administering full dose TMZ.

The primary endpoint was to characterize the incidence and severity of thrombocytopenia in patients with eGFR < 60 mL/min/1.73 m2 who received TMZ for treatment of high grade gliomas (HGG) or primary CNS lymphoma (PCNSL). Secondary endpoints included incidence and severity of neutropenia, lymphopenia hepatotoxicity, and number of TMZ cycles administered. Medical records of patients with HGG or PCNSL treated with TMZ from October 1, 2016-September 30, 2019 were accessed to identify cases for this study.

Thirty-two patients were eligible for this study. Of the seven patients with eGFR < 36 mL/min/1.73m2, 38/39 cycles (97%) were completed without grade 3-4 thrombocytopenia. No patients experienced grade 3-4 neutropenia, and grade 3-4 lymphopenia occurred in 5 cycles (15%). One patient discontinued TMZ 7 days prior to completion of radiation due to thrombocytopenia.

Hematologic toxicity in patients with severe renal dysfunction, eGFR < 36 mL/min/1.73m2, is similar to that of patients with normal renal function. Severe renal impairment does not preclude use of temozolomide, but cautious monitoring of blood counts is warranted.

Frameless robot-assisted stereotactic biopsy: an effective and minimally invasive technique for pediatric diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas.

Journal of Neuro-Oncology

Diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs) are prone to high surgical risks, and they could even lead to death due to their specific sites. To determine the value of frameless robot-assisted stereotactic biopsies of DIPGs, when compared it with microsurgical biopsies.

We conducted a retrospective study of 71 pediatric patients who underwent biopsies from January 2016 to January 2021. (i) group 1: microsurgical biopsies, and (ii) group 2: frameless robot-assisted stereotactic biopsies. Demographic information, neuroimaging characteristics, pathological diagnoses, operation time, postoperative intensive care unit (ICU) stay time, postoperative hospitalization time, complications, cost, and perioperative mortality rate (POMR) were collected for analyses.

32 Cases underwent microsurgical biopsies (group 1) and 39 cases underwent frameless robot-assisted stereotactic biopsies (group 2). All cases were accurately diagnosed after surgery. There was no significant difference in gender, age, symptom times and tumor volumes between the two groups (p > 0.05); operation time, postoperative ICU, stay time and postoperative hospitalization time were longer in group 1 than in group 2 (p < 0.001); the intraoperative bleeding volumes and cost were higher in group 1 than in group 2 (p < 0.001). Group 1 patients required more perioperative blood transfusion than group 2 (p = 0.001), and the new neurological impairments were more frequent in group 1 than in group 2 (p = 0.003). The POMR was 9.38% (3/32) in group 1 and 0 in group 2 (p = 0.087).

Frameless robot-assisted stereotactic biopsy was an effective and minimally invasive technique for pediatric DIPGs.