Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Variant in gene associated with telomeres predicts longer survival of deadly brain tumor


An exceptionally large study of patients with glioblastoma multiforme has found an association between a genetic variation and a doubling of survival rate - the strongest link ever established between genetic variation and outcome in this deadliest form of brain cancer, according to researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The study, presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research, found the differences in a common variant in a number of repeats (short or long) of the hTERT gene, which produces human telomerase.

This study of 301 patients, which the researchers believe is the largest to date of patients with glioblastoma multiforme, found that the 36 patients (about 11 percent) who had the "SS" variant genotype of hTERT survived an average of 25 months, compared to about 14 months for those who had either the "SL" or "LL" genotypes.

The findings are exciting, says the lead investigator, Melissa Bondy, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Epidemiology, because they suggest new treatment directions for patients with a cancer that is both the most common glioma and the one offering the poorest hope of survival.

"It is a real advance because we have never seen any genotype that can stratify glioblastoma multiforme patients into different treatment outcome groups like this," says Bondy. "Now we need to verify the finding, study the mechanism, and see if there is a way that these results can be used either as a biomarker or to individualize treatment."

For example, if the SS variant genotype of hTERT is confirmed to have better response to chemotherapy and radiation treatment, then it is possible that these therapies will extend survival for patients with glioblastoma multiforme, she says.

Telomeres, the structures that cap the end of cellular chromosomes, have been linked to both the aging process and cancer development. Telomerase is an enzyme that helps regulate the length of telomeres, and in normal cells, it is not generally active past fetal development. Thus, telomeres shorten each time a cell divides, until they cannot protect chromosomes and the cell dies. But in cancer, it is believed that telomerase is activated and intervenes to keep telomeres from shortening, allowing for unlimited cell division.

The research group looked at genetic variation of hTERT because abnormal expression of the gene contributes to unregulated cell growth, and expression of the gene has been evaluated as one of the most common tumor markers in most primary tumors, says the study’s first author, Luo Wang, M.D., Ph.D., a research scientist in the Department of Epidemiology.

The mechanism why the SS variant genotype of hTERT showed better survival remains unknown. But some forms of hTERT may be less destructive than others because they may be expressed at a lower level, Wang says. For instance, the SS variant genotype is more likely than the SL or LL variant genotype to produce an antisense-like molecule that suppresses the expression of human telomerase, he says, and this modulation may enhance the effect of the chemotherapy and radiation treatment on the patients with the SS variant genotype.

Bondy says the association between the SS variant genotype and improved outcome held, even when differences in age, sex and the extent of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation were taken into account. "We have looked at a lot of different genes associated with cancer, such as DNA repair genes and p53, but this is the first time we have found a genotype that has such a large effect on clinical outcome."

Nancy Jensen | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>