Cancer stem cell test leads to increased survival for patients with deadly brain tumor, new study finds

On May 2, new phase 3 clinical trial data was published in Cell Reports Medicine, revealing that a cancer stem cell test could accurately determine more effective treatments and result in increased survival for patients suffering from glioblastoma, a deadly brain tumor. The study, involving patients whose glioblastoma had relapsed after initial treatment, was led by University of Cincinnati Cancer Center physician-researcher and co-first author, Dr. Soma Sengupta, MD, PhD.

The trial investigated the efficacy of a CLIA and CAP-accredited diagnostic test called ChemoID, developed by Dr. Pier Paolo Claudio and Dr. Jagan Valluri of Cordgenics LLC. “ChemoID looks at cancer stem cells and their sensitivity to specified drugs to see which ones will work in a given cancer setting,” explained Sengupta, who is also an associate professor in neurology at UC, as well as the director of neuro-oncology clinical trials and associate director of the Brain Tumor Center.

Participants were randomly assigned to either have their chemotherapy treatment determined by ChemoID or have physicians choose the chemotherapy using standard methods. Sengupta highlighted that oncologists’ choice of treatments is often influenced by guidelines and insurance considerations.

The ChemoID group had a significantly lower risk of death and survived an average of 3.5 months longer than the physician-choice group. “We were pleasantly surprised that the ChemoID group did better and that a cancer stem cell-derived test is important in this disease,” commented Sengupta. “Where survival in recurrent glioblastoma is extremely poor, 3.5 months or more is wonderful. Some of my patients on this trial are still alive.”

Claudio added that since ChemoID focuses on selecting treatments using commercially available chemotherapies, this approach could offer a way for patients to receive more effective treatment at a lower cost. Valluri suggested that if the anti-cancer therapy targeting cancer stem cells is incorporated earlier in the treatment plan, ineffective treatments could be eliminated, and patients could receive the maximum therapeutic benefit.

“This is an excellent example of a highly collaborative project,” stated Sengupta. “Several colleagues at UC, including Dr. Mario Zuccarello and Dr. Rekha Chaudhary, were involved.”

Source:  University of Cincinnati

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