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Christine Decaestecker, Isabelle Salmon, Olivier Dewitte, Isabelle Camby, Philippe Van Ham, Jean-Lambert Pasteels, Jacques Brotchi, and Robert Kiss

✓ The authors investigated whether cytometry-related variables generated by means of computer-assisted microscopic analysis of Feulgen-stained nuclei can contribute significant information toward the characterization of low-grade astrocytic tumor aggressiveness. This investigation was conducted using the nearest-neighbor rule (a traditional classification method used in pattern recognition) to analyze a series of 250 supratentorial astrocytic tumors from adult patients. This series included 39 low-grade astrocytomas and 211 high-grade astrocytic tumors (including 47 anaplastic astrocytomas and 164 glioblastomas multiforme [GBMs]). The results show that the 3-nearest-neighbors rule enabled a subgroup of “atypical” astrocytomas to be distinguished from the “typical” tumors. The atypical astrocytoma species exhibited a DNA content (DNA ploidy level) and morphonuclear characteristics that were statistically more similar to the characteristics of GBMs than to those exhibited by the typical astrocytomas. An analysis of survival data revealed that patients with atypical astrocytomas survived for a significantly shorter period (p < 0.001) than patients with typical lesions of this kind. In fact, patients with atypical astrocytomas had a survival period similar to that of patients with anaplastic astrocytomas, whereas patients with typical astrocytomas had a survival period significantly longer (p < 0.0001) than those associated with anaplastic astrocytomas and GBMs.

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Florence Lefranc, Syril James, Isabelle Camby, Jean-François Gaussin, Francis Darro, Jacques Brotchi, Joachim Gabius, and Robert Kiss

Object. Malignant gliomas consist of both heterogeneous proliferating and migrating cell subpopulations, with migrating glioma cells exhibiting less sensitivity to antiproliferative or proapoptotic drugs than proliferative cells. Therefore, the authors combined cimetidine, an antiinflammatory agent already proven to act against migrating epithelial cancer cells, with temozolomide to determine whether the combination induces antitumor activities in experimental orthotopic human gliomas compared with the effects of temozolomide alone.

Methods. Cimetidine added to temozolomide compared with temozolomide alone induced survival benefits in nude mice with U373 human glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) cells orthotopically xenografted in the brain. Computer-assisted phase-contrast microscopy analyses of 9L rat and U373 human GBM cells showed that cimetidine significantly decreased the migration levels of these tumor cells in vitro at concentrations at which tumor growth levels were not modified (as revealed on monotetrazolium colorimetric assay). Computer-assisted microscope analyses of neoglycoconjugate-based glycohistochemical staining profiles of 9L gliosarcomas grown in vivo revealed that cimetidine significantly decreased expression levels of endogenous receptors for fucose and, to a lesser extent, for N-acetyl-lactosamine moieties. Endogenous receptors of this specificity are known to play important roles in adhesion and migration processes of brain tumor cells.

Conclusions. Cimetidine, acting as an antiadhesive and therefore an antimigratory agent for glioma cells, could be added in complement to the cytotoxic temozolomide compound to combat both migrating and proliferating cells in GBM.