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Kristopher T. Kahle, David Kozono, Kimberly Ng, Grace Hsieh, Pascal O. Zinn, Masayuki Nitta and Clark C. Chen

Our understanding of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common form of primary brain cancer, has been significantly advanced by recent efforts to characterize the cancer genome using unbiased high-throughput sequencing analyses. While these studies have documented hundreds of mutations, gene copy alterations, and chromosomal abnormalities, only a subset of these alterations are likely to impact tumor initiation or maintenance. Furthermore, genes that are not altered at the genomic level may play essential roles in tumor initiation and maintenance. Identification of these genes is critical for therapeutic development and investigative methodologies that afford insight into biological function. This requirement has largely been fulfilled with the emergence of RNA interference (RNAi) and high-throughput screening technology. In this article, the authors discuss the application of genome-wide, high-throughput RNAi-based genetic screening as a powerful tool for the rapid and cost-effective identification of genes essential for cancer proliferation and survival. They describe how these technologies have been used to identify genes that are themselves selectively lethal to cancer cells, or synthetically lethal with other oncogenic mutations. The article is intended to provide a platform for how RNAi libraries might contribute to uncovering glioma cell vulnerabilities and provide information that is highly complementary to the structural characterization of the glioblastoma genome. The authors emphasize that unbiased, systems-level structural and functional genetic approaches are complementary efforts that should facilitate the identification of genes involved in the pathogenesis of GBM and permit the identification of novel drug targets.

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Masayuki Nitta, Yoshihiro Muragaki, Takashi Maruyama, Soko Ikuta, Takashi Komori, Katsuya Maebayashi, Hiroshi Iseki, Manabu Tamura, Taiichi Saito, Saori Okamoto, Mikhail Chernov, Motohiro Hayashi and Yoshikazu Okada

OBJECT

There is no standard therapeutic strategy for low-grade glioma (LGG). The authors hypothesized that adjuvant therapy might not be necessary for LGG cases in which total radiological resection was achieved. Accordingly, they established a treatment strategy based on the extent of resection (EOR) and the MIB-1 index: patients with a high EOR and low MIB-1 index were observed without postoperative treatment, whereas those with a low EOR and/or high MIB-1 index received radiotherapy (RT) and/or chemotherapy. In the present retrospective study, the authors reviewed clinical data on patients with primarily diagnosed LGGs who had been treated according to the above-mentioned strategy, and they validated the treatment policy. Given their results, they will establish a new treatment strategy for LGGs stratified by EOR, histological subtype, and molecular status.

METHODS

One hundred fifty-three patients with diagnosed LGG who had undergone resection or biopsy at Tokyo Women's Medical University between January 2000 and August 2010 were analyzed. The patients consisted of 84 men and 69 women, all with ages ≥ 15 years. A total of 146 patients underwent surgical removal of the tumor, and 7 patients underwent biopsy.

RESULTS

Postoperative RT and nitrosourea-based chemotherapy were administered in 48 and 35 patients, respectively. Extent of resection was significantly associated with both overall survival (OS; p = 0.0096) and progression-free survival (PFS; p = 0.0007) in patients with diffuse astrocytoma but not in those with oligodendroglial subtypes. Chemotherapy significantly prolonged PFS, especially in patients with oligodendroglial subtypes (p = 0.0009). Patients with a mutant IDH1 gene had significantly longer OS (p = 0.034). Multivariate analysis did not identify MIB-1 index or RT as prognostic factors, but it did identify chemotherapy as a prognostic factor for PFS and EOR as a prognostic factor for OS and PFS.

CONCLUSIONS

The findings demonstrated that EOR was significantly correlated with patient survival; thus, one should aim for maximum tumor resection. In addition, patients with a higher EOR can be safely observed without adjuvant therapy. For patients with partial resection, postoperative chemotherapy should be administered for those with oligodendroglial subtypes, and repeat resection should be considered for those with astrocytic tumors. More aggressive treatment with RT and chemotherapy may be required for patients with a poor prognosis, such as those with diffuse astrocytoma, 1p/19q nondeleted tumors, or IDH1 wild-type oligodendroglial tumors with partial resection.