Italian research reveals a key genetic alteration at the origin of the most aggressive forms of glioblastoma, a malignant tumor of the brain, opening up new perspectives for diagnosis and targeted treatments. The discovery is published in ‘Esmo Open’, the journal of the European Society of Medical Oncology, and bears the signature of the Iov – Veneto Oncological Institute Irccs. The study, supported by the Celeghin Foundation and the Ometto Association and conducted in collaboration with the company’s Neurosurgeries – University of Padua and the Universities of Ferrara and Florence, is coordinated for the clinical part by Giuseppe Lombardi of the Oncology 1 complex operating unit of the Iov, and for the oncological research part by Anita De Rossi of the Discog University Department, belonging to the Uoc Iov of Immunology and Molecular Oncological Diagnostics.
The work examined 273 patients followed by the Veneto Oncological Institute and suffering from glioblastoma, “the most frequent and aggressive brain tumor in adults”, explain Lombardi and Rossi. “We were able to identify in a specific variant of the Tert gene”, important in the control of cell replication in tumors, “a prognostic marker of a more rapidly progressing form of glioblastoma. Being able to highlight the impact of the Tert gene on prognosis and on the molecular interactions that underlie tumor growth and responses to oncological treatments – underline the two authors – opens up new scenarios in the diagnostic field and in the use of more personalized treatments.The Iov thus confirms itself as an international reference center for treatment of neuro-oncological patients, with the possibility of new perspectives thanks also to innovative experimental treatments”.
In fact, this discovery opens up “new avenues, allowing for better patient identification, better enrollment in clinical trials and a more accurate prognosis”, reads a note from the Institute.
“This study – comments Vincenzo Bronte, scientific director of the Iov – exemplifies the unique opportunities present in the Veneto Oncological Institute for translational research. In fact, it stems from a historical and continued interest over time for the role of the Tert gene in the genesis of neoplasms, and combines with the possibility of defining subgroups of patients with glioblastoma with different prognoses. The study will offer new perspectives for investigating the molecular circuits underlying the more aggressive forms of this tumour, characterized by extremely rapid progression”.
Also on glioblastoma – reads the note – various experimental protocols are underway at the Iov including ‘Regoma 2’, the first study in the world that evaluates regorafenib in association with standard therapy for the treatment of this particularly aggressive rare tumour, with incidence of 6 cases per 100,000 people, continuously increasing in recent years. The trial, promoted by the Veneto Oncological Institute, also represents the first non-profit study in Italy that evaluates the administration of the drug in brain tumors, without waiting for the disease to recur.