Recurring brain tumors shaped by genetic evolution and microenvironment: Researchers identified genetic alterations in gliomas that may lead to better treatments

Researchers have discovered that infiltrating gliomas, a common brain and spinal cord tumor, are shaped by their genetic evolution and microenvironment, a finding that could lead to more targeted treatments.

“We have identified epigenetic alterations at recurrence that are not only prognostic in some cases, but may lead to different treatment options for the various subtypes that can improve long-term survival,” said study co-author D. Ryan Ormond, MD, PhD, a University of Colorado Cancer Center member and associate professor of neurosurgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

The study was published May 31 in the journal Cell.

The researchers looked at how gliomas interact with the brain, change over time, develop treatment resistance and become more invasive.

They identified three distinct phenotypes or observable traits at glioma recurrence — neuronal, mesenchymal and proliferative. Each of them converge with cellular, genetic and histological features that reveal themselves at recurrence. Some of these are associated with less favorable outcomes.

In this study, scientists used participant samples from the Glioma Longitudinal Analysis Consortium or GLASS cohort, a consortium created to identify the drivers of treatment resistance in glioma.

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