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ASCO 2015: Study Supports IDH Gene as Prognostic Marker in Anaplastic Astrocytoma

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Key Points

  • Patients who had a mutated IDH gene lived an average of 7.9 years after diagnosis, vs 2.8 years for patients with an unaltered IDH gene.
  • The clinical trial examined the effectiveness of radiation therapy plus either of two chemotherapy drugs—temozolomide and nitrosourea—in astrocytoma.
  • The study suggested a trend toward better survival for patients with a mutated IDH gene who received radiation therapy plus temozolomide, as opposed to nitrosourea.

New findings from a phase III clinical trial suggest the IDH1 gene may be a prognostic marker for anaplastic astrocytoma, a rare form of brain cancer. The results of this study were presented on June 2 at the 2015 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago (Abstract 2002).

Patients in this study who had a mutated IDH gene lived an average of 7.9 years after diagnosis, vs 2.8 years for patients with an unaltered IDH gene.

The study was done as part of the phase III clinical trial RTOG 9813, which involved 301 patients with anaplastic astrocytoma. The dual-arm trial evaluated the effectiveness of radiation therapy plus either of two chemotherapy drugs: temozolomide and nitrosourea.

Study Findings

“We found that IDH status is not only a significant prognostic biomarker for the classification of anaplastic gliomas, but there appears to be an interesting trend in the data which suggests that it might also be an important predictive biomarker for determining which type of chemotherapy patients should receive,” said study coauthor Arnab Chakravarti, MD, Chair and Professor of Radiation Oncology and Director of the Brain Tumor Program at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James).

“If this novel finding is verified, it could have a critical influence on future patient care,” added Dr. Chakravarti, who was the clinical trial's Translational Research National Study Chair.

The clinical trial showed no significant difference in survival in patients taking temozolomide compared with patients taking nitrosourea after a follow-up of 3.6 years, on average. However, the study also suggested a trend toward better survival for patients with a mutated IDH gene who received radiation therapy plus temozolomide, compared with patients receiving radiation therapy and nitrosourea.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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