An international team of scientists has discovered a medicine that inhibits the growth of the most aggressive brain tumours, as well as a method for determining which tumours would respond to it.
A patient's options are limited when a non-metastatic brain tumour - meningioma - recurs following surgery and radiation treatment. These aggressive tumours, which occur in up to 20% of cases and can cause patient disability or even death, have no approved medicines.
However, the new medicine abemaciclib, which was published in Nature Genetics, is a cell cycle inhibitor, which means it stops the cell division cycle and slows tumour growth. The drug's effectiveness was demonstrated in select people, mice models, a 3D living tissue brain tumour (organoids), and cell cultures by scientists from Northwestern, California, and Hong Kong universities.
Meningiomas can be split into molecular subgroups with varied clinical outcomes and recurrence rates, according to researchers. This new approach to identifying tumours allows scientists to predict recurrence with greater accuracy than the previous method.
Currently, doctors analyse a tumour specimen under a microscope after surgery and grade it one, two, or three in terms of its aggressiveness. However, because the grade is only approximately 70% correct, some tumours will act differently than they seem under the microscope.