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  • Author or Editor: Jürgen Schlegel x
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Alison Kraus, Markus W. Gross, Ruth Knuechel, Kristin Münkel, Frauke Neff and Jürgen Schlegel

Object. A clearer understanding of the cellular mechanisms involved in the response to ionizing radiation is pivotal to the development of new therapeutic strategies for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). To gain insight into dynamic functional aspects of cell cycle regulation and the control of apoptosis in GBMs, the authors investigated the molecular changes induced by ionizing radiation in genetically characterized primary GBMs in vitro compared with secondary GBMs, Grades II and III gliomas, and three GBM cell lines.

Methods. Irradiation of primary GBMs bearing wild-type (wt) p53 invariably fails to invoke the G1 checkpoint and apoptosis in vitro. In approximately half of these primary GBMs a defect lies at or above the level of p53 because transcriptional activation of p21 and bax after irradiation does not occur. The failure of a p21 response to irradiation is invariably accompanied by overexpression of p21 mRNA under nonirradiated conditions. In all remaining primary GBMs transcriptional activation of p21 after irradiation does occur, suggesting that a defect downstream from p21 prevents G1 arrest.

Conclusions. These results show that the G1 checkpoint and the p53 pathway are dysfunctional in primary GBMs in vitro, despite the presence of an intact p53 gene. The data also suggest that primary GBMs may be divided into two categories on the basis of their p21 response to irradiation.

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Ulrich Sure, Nick Butz, Jürgen Schlegel, Adrian M. Siegel, Jörg P. Wakat, Hans D. Mennel, Siegfried Bien and Helmut Bertalanffy

Object. To date, both arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and cavernomas have been considered to be congenital malformations. A recent survey of the literature has shown the potential for de novo generation of both familial and sporadic cavernomas as well as AVMs. Therefore, it was of interest to determine the biological behavior of these lesions in detail.

Methods. The proliferative and angiogenic capacities of the endothelium of 13 cavernomas and 25 AVMs obtained in patients recently treated (1997–1998) at one institution were studied. Immunohistochemical staining for proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), MIB-1, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptor Flk-1 was performed using standard staining procedures. Positive immunostaining of the nuclei of endothelial cells was observed in specimens of both AVMs and cavernomas for PCNA (80% of AVMs and 85% of cavernomas), and Flk-1 (80% of AVMs and 31% of cavernomas). Endothelial expression of VEGF in the 18 incompletely embolized AVMs was found in 72% of cases but only in 28% of the seven cases in which patients did not undergo endovascular treatment; it was found in 38% of cavernomas. Endothelial expression of MIB-1 was found in 12% of AVMs but in no cavernomas.

Conclusions. These results indicate that there is endothelial proliferation as well as neoangiogenesis in cerebral cavernomas and AVMs. The increased level of angiogenesis in only partially obliterated AVMs underscores the need for radical and complete occlusion of cerebral AVMs to avoid recurrences and further risks of morbidity.

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Andreas Waha, Axel Baumann, Helmut K. Wolf, Rolf Fimmers, Jürgen Neumann, Dietmar Kindermann, Kathy Astrahantseff, Ingmar Blümcke, Andreas von Deimling and Uwe Schlegel

✓ Alterations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and its main ligand, transforming growth factor-α (TGFα), were investigated for a possible prognostic relevance in 125 astrocytic gliomas (44 World Health Organization (WHO) Grade II, 19 WHO Grade III, and 62 WHO Grade IV tumors). The TGFα and EGFR proteins were detected immunohistochemically using monoclonal antibodies. A positive immunoreaction to TGFa was detected in 33 (75%) of 44 WHO Grade II astrocytomas, 18 (95%) of 19 WHO Grade III astrocytoma, and 50 (81%) of 62 WHO Grade IV glioblastomas. No correlation between TGFα immunoreaction and duration of survival could be found. A positive EGFR immunoreaction was detected in seven (16%) of 44 WHO Grade II astrocytomas, five (26%) of 19 WHO Grade III astrocytomas, and 32 (52%) of 62 WHO Grade IV glioblastomas. Of these gliomas, 97 (26 WHO Grade II, 17 WHO Grade III, and 54 WHO Grade IV gliomas) were examined for EGFR gene amplification using a differential polymerase chain reaction assay. Amplification of the EGFR gene was detected in none of the WHO Grade II astrocytomas, one (6%) of 17 WHO Grade III astrocytomas, and 18 (33%) of 54 WHO Grade IV glioblastomas. Twenty-two of the tumors investigated showed a positive EGFR immunoreaction without detectable gene amplification (five WHO Grade II, four WHO Grade III, and 13 WHO Grade IV tumors). Gene amplification was invariably associated with a positive EGFR immunoreaction. For the entire study group, a strong correlation between EGFR alterations (gene amplification and positive immunoreaction) and survival could be found. However, this correlation only reflected the higher percentages of cases with EGFR alterations in malignant gliomas and was not an independent prognostic factor as determined by multifactorial analysis. These data demonstrate that EGFR alterations are frequent events in astrocytic gliomas and are largely restricted to glioblastomas. However, within one tumor grade they do not provide prognostic information.