Methylation of O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) has been reported to be a good prognostic factor for patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). To determine whether the absolute value of MGMT messenger RNA (mRNA) might be a prognostic factor and useful for predicting the therapeutic effectiveness of temozolomide, especially with regard to GBMs, the authors measured the absolute value of MGMT mRNA in gliomas by using real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
MGMT mRNA was measured in 140 newly diagnosed gliomas by real-time RT-PCR using the Taq-Man probe. Among 73 GBMs, 45 had been initially treated with temozolomide and radiation.
The mean MGMT mRNA value was significantly lower in oligodendroglial tumors than in other tumors. In the 73 GBMs, a significant prognostic factor for progression-free survival was fewer than 1000 copies/ μgRNA of MGMT mRNA (p = 0.0150). Of 45 patients with GBMs that had been treated with temozolomide and radiation, progression-free survival was significantly longer for those whose GMB had fewer than 1000 copies/μgRNA of MGMT mRNA than for those whose GBM had more than 1000 copies/μgRNA (p = 0.0090). In 32 patients with GBMs treated by temozolomide and radiation whose age was younger than 75 years and whose Karnofsky Performance Scale score was more than 70, progression-free and overall survival times were longer for those with GBMs of fewer than 5000 copies/μgRNA of MGMT mRNA than for those with GBMs of more than 5000 copies/μgRNA (p = 0.0365 and p = 0.0312).
MGMT mRNA might be useful as a prognostic factor and for predicting the results of therapy for GBMs treated by temozolomide. New individual adjuvant therapy based on the results of MGMT mRNA quantitation has been proposed.