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1.  Inherited variant on chromosome 11q23 increases susceptibility to IDH-mutated but not IDH-normal gliomas regardless of grade or histology 
Neuro-Oncology  2013;15(5):535-541.
Introduction
Recent discoveries of inherited glioma risk loci and acquired IDH mutations are providing new insights into glioma etiology. IDH mutations are common in lower grade gliomas and secondary glioblastomas and uncommon in primary glioblastomas. Because the inherited variant in 11q23 has been associated with risk of lower grade glioma and not with glioblastomas, we hypothesized that this variant increases susceptibility to IDH-mutated gliomas, but not to IDH-wild-type gliomas.
Methods
We tested this hypothesis in patients with glioma and controls from the San Francisco Adult Glioma Study, the Mayo Clinic, and Illumina controls (1102 total patients, 5299 total controls). Case-control additive associations of 11q23 risk alleles (rs498872, T allele) were calculated using logistic regression, stratified by tumor IDH status (mutated or wild-type) and by histology and grade. We also adjusted for the recently discovered 8q24 glioma risk locus rs55705857 G allele.
Results
The 11q23 glioma risk locus was associated with increased risk of IDH-mutated gliomas of all histologies and grades (odds ratio [OR] = 1.50; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.29–1.74; P = 1.3X10−7) but not with IDH-wild-type gliomas of any histology or grade (OR = 0.91; 95% CI = 0.81–1.03; P = 0.14). The associations were independent of the rs55705857 G allele.
Conclusion
A variant at the 11q23 locus increases risk for IDH-mutated but not IDH-wild-type gliomas, regardless of grade or histology.
doi:10.1093/neuonc/nos324
PMCID: PMC3635511  PMID: 23361564
adult glioma; IDH1 and IDH2 mutation; rs498872; rs55705857; single-nucleotide polymorphism
2.  Comparing routes of delivery for nanoliposomal irinotecan shows superior anti-tumor activity of local administration in treating intracranial glioblastoma xenografts 
Neuro-Oncology  2012;15(2):189-197.
Background
Liposomal drug packaging is well established as an effective means for increasing drug half-life, sustaining drug activity, and increasing drug efficacy, whether administered locally or distally to the site of disease. However, information regarding the relative effectiveness of peripheral (distal) versus local administration of liposomal therapeutics is limited. This issue is of importance with respect to the treatment of central nervous system cancer, for which the blood-brain barrier presents a significant challenge in achieving sufficient drug concentration in tumors to provide treatment benefit for patients.
Methods
We compared the anti-tumor activity and efficacy of a nanoliposomal formulation of irinotecan when delivered peripherally by vascular route with intratumoral administration by convection-enhanced delivery (CED) for treating intracranial glioblastoma xenografts in athymic mice.
Results
Our results show significantly greater anti-tumor activity and survival benefit from CED of nanoliposomal irinotecan. In 2 of 3 efficacy experiments, there were animal subjects that experienced apparent cure of tumor from local administration of therapy, as indicated by a lack of detectable intracranial tumor through bioluminescence imaging and histopathologic analysis. Results from investigating the effectiveness of combination therapy with nanoliposomal irinotecan plus radiation revealed that CED administration of irinotecan plus radiation conferred greater survival benefit than did irinotecan or radiation monotherapy and also when compared with radiation plus vascularly administered irinotecan.
Conclusions
Our results indicate that liposomal formulation plus direct intratumoral administration of therapeutic are important for maximizing the anti-tumor effects of irinotecan and support clinical trial evaluation of this therapeutic plus route of administration combination.
doi:10.1093/neuonc/nos305
PMCID: PMC3548589  PMID: 23262509
convection-enhanced delivery; glioblastoma; irinotecan; liposome; xenograft
3.  Phase-1 trial of gefitinib and temozolomide in patients with malignant glioma: a North American brain tumor consortium study 
Cancer chemotherapy and pharmacology  2007;61(6):10.1007/s00280-007-0556-y.
Purpose
This is a phase-I study of gefitinib in combination with temozolomide in patients with gliomas. The goal of the study was to define the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and to characterize the pharmacokinetics of gefitinib when combined with temozolomide.
Patients and methods
Patients were stratified according to co-administration of enzyme-inducing anti-epileptic drugs (EIAEDs). There were 26 evaluable patients enrolled (16 on EIAEDs, 10 not on EIAEDs). All but seven patients had Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), and only six cases had a Karnosfsky Performance Status (KPS) of less than 80; median age was 51 years. All had received prior radiotherapy and 14 patients had no prior chemotherapy. The starting dose of temozolomide was 150 mg/m2/day for 5 days every 28 days and could be escalated to a maximum dose of 200 mg/m2/day in subsequent cycles. The starting dose of gefitinib was 500 mg/day given by mouth on a continuous basis. Dose-limiting toxicity was assessed in cycle one only.
Results
For patients on EIAEDs, the MTD of gefitinib was 1,000 mg/day in combination with temozolomide. Dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) was due to diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. For patients not on EIAEDs, the MTD was 250 mg/day in combination with temozolomide. The DLT was due to increases in liver transaminases. Rash was not a significant toxicity at these dose levels. The peak concentration and AUC0–24hr at the 500 mg dose level was 1.8 and 2.5-fold lower, respectively, in the EIAED group compared to the non-EIAED group; trough levels of gefitinib increased in both groups consistent with the reported terminal half-life ranging from 27 to 51 h.
Conclusion
The recommended phase-2 dose of gefitinib when used in combination with temozolomide is 1,000 and 250 mg/day, respectively, for patients on or not on EIAEDs.
doi:10.1007/s00280-007-0556-y
PMCID: PMC3873156  PMID: 17694310
Temozolomide; Gefitinib; Malignant gliomas; Enzyme-inducing anti-epileptic drugs
4.  Phase I/II study of sorafenib in combination with temsirolimus for recurrent glioblastoma or gliosarcoma: North American Brain Tumor Consortium study 05-02 
Neuro-Oncology  2012;14(12):1511-1518.
The activity of single-agent targeted molecular therapies in glioblastoma has been limited to date. The North American Brain Tumor Consortium examined the safety, pharmacokinetics, and efficacy of combination therapy with sorafenib, a small molecule inhibitor of Raf, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2, and platelet-derived growth factor receptor–β, and temsirolimus (CCI-779), an inhibitor of mammalian target of rapamycin. This was a phase I/II study. The phase I component used a standard 3 × 3 dose escalation scheme to determine the safety and tolerability of this combination therapy. The phase II component used a 2-stage design; the primary endpoint was 6-month progression-free survival (PFS6) rate. Thirteen patients enrolled in the phase I component. The maximum tolerated dosage (MTD) for combination therapy was sorafenib 800 mg daily and temsirolimus 25 mg once weekly. At the MTD, grade 3 thrombocytopenia was the dose-limiting toxicity. Eighteen patients were treated in the phase II component. At interim analysis, the study was terminated and did not proceed to the second stage. No patients remained progression free at 6 months. Median PFS was 8 weeks. The toxicity of this combination therapy resulted in a maximum tolerated dose of temsirolimus that was only one-tenth of the single-agent dose. Minimal activity in recurrent glioblastoma multiforme was seen at the MTD of the 2 combined agents.
doi:10.1093/neuonc/nos264
PMCID: PMC3499017  PMID: 23099651
anaplastic glioma; glioblastoma; malignant glioma; sorafenib; temsirolimus
5.  Phase II Trials of Erlotinib or Gefitinib in Patients with Recurrent Meningioma 
Journal of neuro-oncology  2009;96(2):211-217.
There are no established treatments for recurrent meningioma when surgical and radiation options are exhausted. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is often over-expressed in meningiomas and may promote tumor growth. In open label, single arm phase II studies of the EGFR inhibitors gefitinib (NABTC 00-01) and erlotinib (NABTC 01-03) for recurrent malignant gliomas, we included exploratory subsets of recurrent meningioma patients. We have pooled the data and report the results here. Patients with recurrent histologically confirmed meningiomas with no more than 2 previous chemotherapy regimens were treated with gefitinib 500 mg/day or erlotinib 150 mg/day until tumor progression or unacceptable toxicity. Twenty-five eligible patients were enrolled with median age 57 years (range 29–81) and median Karnofsky performance status (KPS) score 90 (range 60–100). Sixteen patients (64%) received gefitinib and 9 (36%) erlotinib. Eight patients (32%) had benign tumors, 9 (36%) atypical, and 8 (32%) malignant. For benign tumors, the 6-month progression-free survival (PFS6) was 25%, 12-month PFS (PFS12) 13%, 6-month overall survival (OS6) 63%, and 12-month OS (OS12) 50%. For atypical and malignant tumors, PFS6 was 29%, PFS12 18%, OS6 71%, and OS12 65%. The PFS and OS were not significantly different by histology. There were no objective imaging responses, but 8 patients (32%) maintained stable disease. Although treatment was well-tolerated, neither gefitinib nor erlotinib appear to have significant activity against recurrent meningioma. The role of EGFR inhibitors in meningiomas is unclear. Evaluation of multi-targeted inhibitors and EGFR inhibitors in combination with other targeted molecular agents may be warranted.
doi:10.1007/s11060-009-9948-7
PMCID: PMC3786190  PMID: 19562255
meningioma; erlotinib; gefitinib; epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor
6.  PTEN promoter methylation and activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway in pediatric gliomas and influence on clinical outcome 
Neuro-Oncology  2012;14(9):1146-1152.
The signaling pathways that underlie the pathogenesis of pediatric gliomas are poorly understood. We characterized the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway in pediatric gliomas of all grades. Using immunohistochemistry, we assessed activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway by evaluating the downstream signaling molecules phospho(p)-S6, phospho(p)-4BP1, and phospho(p)-PRAS40; PTEN; and PTEN promoter methylation, as well as the MIB labeling index. We correlated these findings with the clinical outcomes of 48 children with gliomas. Eighty percent of high-grade gliomas (12/15) showed activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway based on p-S6 and p-4EBP1 expression. The majority of high-grade gliomas were negative for PTEN expression (10/15), and 50% had PTEN promoter methylation (grade III: 2/4; grade IV: 3/6). Low-grade gliomas demonstrated PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway activation in 14/32 (43.8%) by p-S6 and 16/32 (50%) by p-4EBP1. Over 50% of grade I (6/11) and almost all grade II tumors (6/7) showed PTEN promoter methylation. Tumor grade correlated negatively with PTEN expression and positively with expression of p-S6 and p-4EBP1 (PTEN: P = .0025; pS6: P = .0075; p-4EBP1: P = .0066). There was a trend toward inverse correlation of methylation of the PTEN promoter with expression of PTEN protein (P= .0990) and direct correlation of expression of p-S6 and p-4EBP1 with poorer clinical outcome, as measured by progression-free survival (p-S6: P= .0874; p-4EBP1: P= .0475). Tumors with no PTEN expression had a higher MIB labeling index (P= .007). The majority of pediatric gliomas show activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway, with methylation of the PTEN promoter occurring commonly in these tumors.
doi:10.1093/neuonc/nos140
PMCID: PMC3424210  PMID: 22753230
pediatric gliomas; PI3K/Akt/mTOR; PTEN promoter methylation
7.  SSBP2 variants are associated with survival in glioblastoma patients 
Purpose
Glioblastoma is a devastating, incurable disease with few known prognostic factors. Here we present the first genome-wide survival and validation study for glioblastoma.
Methods
Cox regressions for survival with 314,635 inherited autosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) among 315 San Francisco Adult Glioma Study patients for discovery and three independent validation datasets (87 Mayo Clinic, 232 GliomaSE and 115 The Cancer Genome Atlas patients) were used to identify SNPs associated with overall survival for Caucasian glioblastoma patients treated with the current standard of care, resection, radiation and temozolomide (total n=749). Tumor expression of the gene that contained the identified prognostic SNP was examined in three separate datasets (total n=619). Genotype imputation was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for SNPs that had not been directly genotyped.
Results
From the discovery and validation analyses, we identified a variant in SSBP2 (single-stranded DNA-binding protein 2) on 5q14.1 associated with overall survival in combined analyses (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.64; P = 1.3X10−6). Expression of SSBP2 in tumors from three independent datasets also was significantly related to patient survival (P = 5.3 X 10−4). Using genotype imputation, the SSBP2 SNP rs17296479 had the strongest statistically significant genome-wide association with poorer overall patient survival (HR = 1.79; 95% CI: 1.45–2.22; P = 1.0 X 10−7).
Conclusion
The minor allele of SSBP2 SNP rs17296479 and the increased tumor expression of SSBP2 were statistically significantly associated with poorer overall survival among glioblastoma patients. With further confirmation, previously unrecognized inherited variations influencing survival may warrant inclusion in clinical trials to improve randomization. Unaccounted for genetic influence on survival could produce unwanted bias in such studies.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-2778
PMCID: PMC3607457  PMID: 22472174
glioma; glioblastoma; GWAS; survival; epidemiology; SSBP2
9.  Reply to J.W. Locasale et al 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;30(3):338-339.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2011.38.6680
PMCID: PMC3269956
10.  Clinical Stratification of Glioblastoma Based on Alterations in Retinoblastoma Tumor Suppressor Protein (RB1) and Association with the Proneural Subtype 
A recent study of CDK4/6-inhibitors in glioblastoma (GBM) xenografts identified retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein RB1 status as a determinant of tumor therapeutic efficacy. Because of the need for clinically applicable RB1 testing, we assessed the utility of 2 complementary methods for determining RB1 status in GBM. Using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and immunohistochemistry (IHC), we analyzed 34 GBMs that had also undergone molecular characterization as part of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). By IHC, 4 tumors (11.8%) had complete loss of RB protein expression, including 2 with homozygous deletion of RB1 by FISH and 1 with hemizygous deletion of RB1 by FISH combined with a novel nonsense mutation in RB1. Consistent with these results, in an independent set of 51 GBMs tested by IHC we demonstrated loss of RB1 protein in 5 (9.8%). In GBM molecular subtype analysis of TCGA data, complete loss of RB1 transcript expression was seen in 18 of 170 tumors (10.6%) and these were highly enriched for, but not exclusive to, the proneural subtype (p < 0.01). These data support the use of IHC for determining RB1 status in clinical GBM specimens and suggest that RB1 alterations may be more common in certain GBM subgroups.
doi:10.1097/NEN.0b013e31823fe8f1
PMCID: PMC3246124  PMID: 22157621
Fluorescence in situ hybridization; Glioblastoma; Immunohistochemistry; Patient stratification; RB1; The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA)
11.  Phase II and pharmacogenomics study of enzastaurin plus temozolomide during and following radiation therapy in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme and gliosarcoma 
Neuro-Oncology  2011;13(12):1331-1338.
This open-label, single-arm, phase II study combined enzastaurin with temozolomide plus radiation therapy (RT) to treat glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and gliosarcoma. Adults with newly diagnosed disease and Karnofsky performance status (KPS) ≥ 60 were enrolled. Treatment was started within 5 weeks after surgical diagnosis. RT consisted of 60 Gy over 6 weeks. Temozolomide was given at 75 mg/m2 daily during RT and then adjuvantly at 200 mg/m2 daily for 5 days, followed by a 23-day break. Enzastaurin was given once daily during RT and in the adjuvant period at 250 mg/day. Cycles were 28 days. The primary end point was overall survival (OS). Progression-free survival (PFS), toxicity, and correlations between efficacy and molecular markers analyzed from tumor tissue samples were also evaluated. A prospectively planned analysis compared OS and PFS of the current trial with outcomes from 3 historical phase II trials that combined novel agents with temozolomide plus RT in patients with GBM or gliosarcoma. Sixty-six patients were enrolled. The treatment regimen was well tolerated. OS (median, 74 weeks) and PFS (median, 36 weeks) results from the current trial were comparable to those from a prior phase II study using erlotininb and were significantly better than those from 2 other previous studies that used thalidomide or cis-retinoic acid, all in combination with temozolomide plus RT. A positive correlation between O-6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase promoter methylation and OS was observed. Adjusting for age and KPS, no other biomarker was associated with survival outcome. Correlation of relevant biomarkers with OS may be useful in future trials.
doi:10.1093/neuonc/nor130
PMCID: PMC3223090  PMID: 21896554
adjuvant therapy; enzastaurin; glioblastoma multiforme; radiation therapy; temozolomide
12.  Investigation of intravenous delivery of nanoliposomal topotecan for activity against orthotopic glioblastoma xenografts 
Neuro-Oncology  2011;13(12):1288-1295.
Achieving effective treatment outcomes for patients with glioblastoma (GBM) has been impeded by many obstacles, including the pharmacokinetic limitations of antitumor agents, such as topotecan (TPT). Here, we demonstrate that intravenous administration of a novel nanoliposomal formulation of TPT (nLS-TPT) extends the survival of mice with intracranial GBM xenografts, relative to administration of free TPT, because of improved biodistribution and pharmacokinetics of the liposome-formulated drug. In 3 distinct orthotopic GBM models, 3 weeks of biweekly intravenous therapy with nLS-TPT was sufficient to delay tumor growth and significantly extend animal survival, compared with treatment with free TPT (P ≤ .03 for each tumor tested). Analysis of intracranial tumors showed increased activation of cleaved caspase-3 and increased DNA fragmentation, both indicators of apoptotic response to treatment with nLS-TPT. These results demonstrate that intravenous delivery of nLS-TPT is a promising strategy in the treatment of GBM and support clinical investigation of this therapeutic approach.
doi:10.1093/neuonc/nor139
PMCID: PMC3223095  PMID: 21954443
bioluminescence imaging; glioma; liposome; topotecan; xenograft
13.  Is surgery at progression a prognostic marker for improved 6-month progression-free survival or overall survival for patients with recurrent glioblastoma? 
Neuro-Oncology  2011;13(10):1118-1124.
Historically, the North American Brain Tumor Consortium used 6-month progression-free survival (PFS6) as the primary outcome for recurrent glioma phase II clinical trials. In some trials, a subset of patients received the trial treatment before surgery to assess tumor uptake and biological activity. We compared PFS6 and overall survival (OS) for patients with glioblastoma undergoing surgery at progression to results for those without surgery to evaluate the impact of surgical intervention on these outcomes. Two data sets were analyzed. The first included 511 patients enrolled during the period 1998–2005, 105 of whom had surgery (excluding biopsies) during the study or ≤30 days prior to registration. Analysis was stratified on the basis of whether temozolomide was part of the protocol treatment regimen. The second data set included 247 patients enrolled during 2005–2008, 103 of whom underwent surgery during the clinical trial or immediately prior to study registration. A combined data set consisting of all patients who did not receive temozolomide was also compiled. No statistically significant difference in PFS6 or OS was found between the surgery and nonsurgery groups in either data set alone or in the combined data set (P > .45). We conclude that PFS6 and OS results for patients with and without surgical intervention at the time of progression are similar, allowing data from these patients to be combined in assessing the benefit of new treatments without the need for stratification or other statistical adjustment.
doi:10.1093/neuonc/nor110
PMCID: PMC3177665  PMID: 21813511
glioblastoma; PFS6; prognosis; recurrence; surgery
14.  Phase II Study of Aflibercept in Recurrent Malignant Glioma: A North American Brain Tumor Consortium Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(19):2689-2695.
Purpose
Antivascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) therapy is a promising treatment approach for patients with recurrent glioblastoma. This single-arm phase II study evaluated the efficacy of aflibercept (VEGF Trap), a recombinantly produced fusion protein that scavenges both VEGF and placental growth factor in patients with recurrent malignant glioma.
Patients and Methods
Forty-two patients with glioblastoma and 16 patients with anaplastic glioma who had received concurrent radiation and temozolomide and adjuvant temozolomide were enrolled at first relapse. Aflibercept 4 mg/kg was administered intravenously on day 1 of every 2-week cycle.
Results
The 6-month progression-free survival rate was 7.7% for the glioblastoma cohort and 25% for patients with anaplastic glioma. Overall radiographic response rate was 24% (18% for glioblastoma and 44% for anaplastic glioma). The median progression-free survival was 24 weeks for patients with anaplastic glioma (95% CI, 5 to 31 weeks) and 12 weeks for patients with glioblastoma (95% CI, 8 to 16 weeks). A total of 14 patients (25%) were removed from the study for toxicity, on average less than 2 months from treatment initiation. The main treatment-related National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria grades 3 and 4 adverse events (38 total) included fatigue, hypertension, and lymphopenia. Two grade 4 CNS ischemias and one grade 4 systemic hemorrhage were reported. Aflibercept rapidly decreases permeability on dynamic contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging, and molecular analysis of baseline tumor tissue identified tumor-associated markers of response and resistance.
Conclusion
Aflibercept monotherapy has moderate toxicity and minimal evidence of single-agent activity in unselected patients with recurrent malignant glioma.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2010.34.1636
PMCID: PMC3139373  PMID: 21606416
15.  Phase I Study of Vorinostat in Combination with Temozolomide in Patients with High-Grade Gliomas: North American Brain Tumor Consortium Study 04-03 
Purpose
A phase I, dose-finding study of vorinostat in combination with temozolomide (TMZ) was conducted to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), safety, and pharmacokinetics in patients with high-grade glioma (HGG).
Experimental Design
This phase I, dose-finding, investigational study was conducted in two parts. Part 1 was a dose-escalation study of vorinostat in combination with TMZ 150 mg/m2/day × 5 days every 28 days. Part 2 was a dose-escalation study of vorinostat in combination with TMZ 150 mg/m2/day × 5 days of the first cycle and 200 mg/m2/day × 5 days of the subsequent 28-day cycles.
Results
In Part 1, the MTD of vorinostat administered on days 1-7 and 15-21 of every 28 day cycle in combination with TMZ was 500 mg daily. Dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) included grade 3 anorexia, grade 3 ALT, and grade 5 hemorrhage in the setting of grade 4 thrombocytopenia. In Part 2, the MTD of vorinostat on days 1-7 and 15-21 of every 28 day cycle combined with TMZ was 400 mg daily. No DLTs were encountered, but vorinostat dosing could not be escalated further due to thrombocytopenia. The most common serious adverse events were fatigue, lymphopenia, thrombocytopenia, and thromboembolic events. There were no apparent pharmacokinetic interactions between vorinostat and TMZ. Vorinostat treatment resulted in hyperacetylation of histones H3 and H4 in peripheral mononuclear cells.
Conclusion
Vorinostat in combination with temozolomide is well-tolerated in patients with HGG. A phase I/II trial of vorinostat with radiotherapy and concomitant TMZ in newly diagnosed glioblastoma is underway.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-1841
PMCID: PMC3947570  PMID: 22923449
High-grade glioma; Temozolomide; Vorinostat; HDAC Inhibitor
16.  A phase I/II trial of the histone deacetylase inhibitor romidepsin for adults with recurrent malignant glioma: North American Brain Tumor Consortium Study 03-03 
Neuro-Oncology  2011;13(5):509-516.
Romidepsin, a potent histone deacetylase inhibitor, has shown activity in preclinical glioma models. The primary objectives of this trial were to determine the pharmacokinetics of romidepsin in patients with recurrent glioma on enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs (EIAEDs) and to evaluate the antitumor efficacy of romidepsin in patients with recurrent glioblastoma who were not receiving EIAEDs. Two dose cohorts were studied in the phase I component of the trial (13.3 and 17.7 mg/m2/d). Patients in the phase II component were treated with intravenous romidepsin at a dosage of 13.3 mg/m2/day on days 1, 8, and 15 of each 28-day cycle. Eight patients were treated on the phase I component. A similar romidepsin pharmacokinetic profile was demonstrated between patients receiving EIAEDs to those not receving EIAEDs. Thirty-five patients with glioblastoma were accrued to the phase II component. There was no objective radiographic response. The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 8 weeks and only 1 patient had a PFS time ≥6 months (PFS6 = 3%). To date, 34 patients (97%) have died, with a median survival duration of 34 weeks. Despite in vitro studies showing that romidepsin is primarily metabolized by CYP3A4, no decrease in exposure to romidepsin was seen in patients receiving potent CYP3A4 inducers. Romidepsin, at its standard dose and schedule, was ineffective for patients with recurrent glioblastomas.
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00085540.
doi:10.1093/neuonc/nor017
PMCID: PMC3093337  PMID: 21377994
glioblastoma; glioma; histone deacetylase inhibitor; romidepsin
17.  The A/G Allele of Rs16906252 Predicts for MGMT Methylation and Is Selectively Silenced in Premalignant Lesions from Smokers and in Lung Adenocarcinomas 
Purpose
To address the association between sequence variants within the MGMT promoter-enhancer region and methylation of MGMT in premalignant lesions from smokers and lung adenocarcinomas, their biological effects on gene regulation, and targeting MGMT for therapy.
Experimental Design
SNPs identified through sequencing a 1.9kb fragment 5' of MGMT were examined in relation to MGMT methylation in 169 lung adenocarcinomas and 1731 sputum samples from smokers. The effect of promoter haplotypes on MGMT expression was tested using a luciferase reporter assay and cDNA expression analysis along with allele-specific sequencing for methylation. The response of MGMT methylated lung cancer cell lines to the alkylating agent temozolomide was assessed.
Results
The A allele of rs16906252 and the haplotype containing this SNP were strongly associated with increased risk for MGMT methylation in adenocarcinomas (ORs ≥ 94). This association was observed to a lesser extent in sputum samples in both smoker cohorts. The A allele was selectively methylated in primary lung tumors and cell lines heterozygous for rs16906252. With the most common haplotype as the reference, a 20–41% reduction in promoter activity was seen for the haplotype carrying the A allele that correlated with lower MGMT expression. The sensitivity of lung cancer cell lines to temozolamide was strongly correlated with levels of MGMT methylation and expression.
Conclusions
These studies provide strong evidence that the A allele of a MGMT promoter-enhancer SNP is a key determinant for MGMT methylation in lung carcinogenesis. Moreover, temozolamide treatment may benefit a subset of lung cancer patients methylated for MGMT.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-3026
PMCID: PMC3070839  PMID: 21355081
MGMT; allele specific methylation; single nucleotide polymorphism; sputum; lung cancer
18.  Inhibition of PI3K/mTOR pathways in glioblastoma and implications for combination therapy with temozolomide 
Neuro-Oncology  2011;13(4):384-392.
Due to its molecular heterogeneity and infiltrative nature, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is notoriously resistant to traditional and experimental therapeutics. To overcome these hurdles, targeted agents have been combined with conventional therapy. We evaluated the preclinical potential of a novel, orally bioavailable PI3K/mTOR dual inhibitor (XL765) in in vitro and in vivo studies. In vivo serially passaged human GBM xenografts that are more genetically stable than GBM cell lines in culture were used for all experiments. Biochemical downstream changes were evaluated by immunoblot and cytotoxicity by colorimetric ATP-based assay. For in vivo experiments, human xenograft GBM 39 grown intracranially in nude mice was altered to express luciferase to monitor tumor burden by optical imaging. XL765 resulted in concentration-dependent decreases in cell viability in vitro. Cytotoxic doses resulted in specific inhibition of PI3K signaling. Combining XL765 with temozolomide (TMZ) resulted in additive toxicity in 4 of 5 xenografts. In vivo, XL765 administered by oral gavage resulted in greater than 12-fold reduction in median tumor bioluminescence compared with control (Mann–Whitney test p = 0.001) and improvement in median survival (logrank p = 0.05). TMZ alone showed a 30-fold decrease in median bioluminescence, but the combination XL765 + TMZ yielded a 140-fold reduction in median bioluminescence (Mann-Whitney test p = 0.05) with a trend toward improvement in median survival (logrank p = 0.09) compared with TMZ alone. XL765 shows activity as monotherapy and in combination with conventional therapeutics in a range of genetically diverse GBM xenografts.
doi:10.1093/neuonc/noq193
PMCID: PMC3064692  PMID: 21317208
PI3K/mTOR inhibitor; glioma; temozolomide; signaling inhibitor
19.  Phase II trial of tipifarnib and radiation in children with newly diagnosed diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas 
Neuro-Oncology  2011;13(3):298-306.
We performed a phase II study to assess the efficacy and toxicity of tipifarnib, a farnesyltransferase inhibitor, administered with radiation therapy (RT) in children with newly diagnosed diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas. Children 3-21 years old with pontine gliomas (BSGs) were treated with concurrent tipifarnib and RT, followed by adjuvant tipifarnib. Tipifarnib was taken orally twice daily (125 mg/m2/dose) during RT; after RT, it was taken at 200 mg/m2 twice daily for 21 days, in 28-day cycles. Initial and follow-up neuroimaging was centrally reviewed. Forty eligible patients (median age, 5.5 years; range, 3.3–16.5 years) had a median progression-free survival of 6.8 months (range, 0.2-18.6 months) and median overall survival of 8.3 months (range, 0.2-18.6 months). Kaplan–Meier estimates (± standard error) of 1-year progression-free and overall survival were 12.9% ±4.9% and 34.3% ±7.4%, respectively. A single patient remained on tipifarnib without progression at the completion of the study, two years after initiation of treatment. Seven patients were without disease progression for at least six months, three of whom remained controlled for more than a year. The most frequent toxicity was grade 3 lymphopenia. We documented a single instance of “pseudoprogression” by neuroimaging review. We found no discordance among 3 approaches to defining disease progression: as interpreted by treating institutions (based on clinical status and/or imaging) and by central review (using bi-dimensional tumor “area” versus volumetric measurements). For children with diffuse BSGs, tipifarnib administered with irradiation offered no clinical advantage over historical controls. Biopsies and molecular analyses of pediatric BSGs are vital for identification of new agents and for rational use of targeted agents.
doi:10.1093/neuonc/noq202
PMCID: PMC3064607  PMID: 21339191
diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma; farnesyltransferase inhibitors; pediatric
20.  DNA hypermethylation profiles associated with glioma subtypes and EZH2 and IGFBP2 mRNA expression 
Neuro-Oncology  2011;13(3):280-289.
We explored the associations of aberrant DNA methylation patterns in 12 candidate genes with adult glioma subtype, patient survival, and gene expression of enhancer of zeste human homolog 2 (EZH2) and insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 2 (IGFBP2). We analyzed 154 primary glioma tumors (37 astrocytoma II and III, 52 primary glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), 11 secondary GBM, 54 oligodendroglioma/oligoastrocytoma II and III) and 13 nonmalignant brain tissues for aberrant methylation with quantitative methylation-specific PCR (qMS-PCR) and for EZH2 and IGFBP2 expression with quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR). Global methylation was assessed by measuring long interspersed nuclear element-1 (LINE1) methylation. Unsupervised clustering analyses yielded 3 methylation patterns (classes). Class 1 (MGMT, PTEN, RASSF1A, TMS1, ZNF342, EMP3, SOCS1, RFX1) was highly methylated in 82% (75/91) of lower-grade astrocytic and oligodendroglial tumors, 73% (8/11) of secondary GBMs, and 12% (6/52) of primary GBMs. The primary GBMs in this class were early onset (median age 37 years). Class 2 (HOXA9 and SLIT2) was highly methylated in 37% (19/52) of primary GBMs. None of the 10 genes for class 3 that were differentially methylated in classes 1 and 2 were hypermethylated in 92% (12/13) of nonmalignant brain tissues and 52% (27/52) of primary GBMs. Class 1 tumors had elevated EZH2 expression but not elevated IGFBP2; class 2 tumors had both high IGFBP2 and high EZH2 expressions. The gene-specific hypermethylation class correlated with higher levels of global LINE1 methylation and longer patient survival times. These findings indicate a generalized hypermethylation phenotype in glioma linked to improved survival and low IGFBP2. DNA methylation markers are useful in characterizing distinct glioma subtypes and may hold promise for clinical applications.
doi:10.1093/neuonc/noq190
PMCID: PMC3064601  PMID: 21339190
glioma; DNA methylation; EZH2; Polycomb; PI3K/Akt
21.  Safety and efficacy of erlotinib in first-relapse glioblastoma: a phase II open-label study 
Neuro-Oncology  2010;12(10):1061-1070.
Erlotinib, an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor, is active in glioblastoma. We evaluated erlotinib efficacy in patients with first-relapse glioblastoma and assessed whether response was related to EGFR amplification and/or concomitant use of enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs (EIAEDs) in a phase II open-label study of glioblastoma patients in first relapse. Patients took erlotinib daily until progression. Starting dose was 150 mg for patients not taking EIAEDs and 300 mg for patients taking EIAEDs. Tumors were radiographically assessed every 8 weeks. Response was evaluated by investigators and confirmed by an independent radiology facility (IRF). The primary efficacy outcome was the objective response (OR) rate, according to the modified WHO criteria. Enrollment (n = 48) was terminated after a planned interim analysis due to an insufficient number of responses. The IRF confirmed 1 complete and 2 partial responses (PRs), for an OR rate of 6.3% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.7–17.0). Investigators determined 1 complete response and 3 PRs, median response duration of 7.0 months, 6-month progression-free survival (PFS) of 20% (95% CI: 10.0–32.4), and median survival of 9.7 months (95% CI: 5.9–11.6). Outcomes were not related to EGFR amplification or EIAED status. Diarrhea and rash were the most common adverse events (AEs); 23% of patients experienced grade 3–4 drug-related AEs. Despite the limited number of responses, 6-month PFS and median survival reached or exceeded the previously reported values for patients undergoing chemotherapy for recurrent glioblastoma. EGFR amplification was not associated with erlotinib activity. Given the large CIs and nonrandomized nature of the study, results should be interpreted cautiously.
doi:10.1093/neuonc/noq072
PMCID: PMC3018931  PMID: 20615922
EGFR amplification; EGFR inhibition; enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs; progression-free survival
22.  Recurrent asymptomatic demyelinating disease following 13-cis-retinoic acid exposure 
BMJ Case Reports  2009;2009:bcr05.2009.1908.
We report a case of multifocal demyelination within the central nervous system in a patient being treated for a left hemispheric gemnistocytic astrocytoma with radiation therapy and chemotherapy, comprising temozolomide (360 mg/day—days 1–5 every 28 days) and 13-cis-retinoic acid (100 mg/m2/day—separated into two doses administered every 12 h on days 1 through 21 every 28 days). Five months into her first round of chemotherapy, brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated multifocal regions of T2 prolongation with associated gadolinium enhancement within the right cerebral hemisphere. Spectroscopic data were consistent with demyelination rather than neoplasia. Despite the incidentally identified radiological progression, new neurological symptoms were not described. Interval resolution of the demyelinating lesions was observed in the years following the discontinuance of her chemotherapy regimen with reactivation of the previously observed lesions and the development of new T2 foci 6 months into her second round of re-treatment for tumour progression 5 years later.
doi:10.1136/bcr.05.2009.1908
PMCID: PMC3029989  PMID: 21901115
23.  Phase II trial of pazopanib (GW786034), an oral multi-targeted angiogenesis inhibitor, for adults with recurrent glioblastoma (North American Brain Tumor Consortium Study 06-02) 
Neuro-Oncology  2010;12(8):855-861.
The objective of this phase II single-arm study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of pazopanib, a multi-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor, against vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-1, -2, and -3, platelet-derived growth factor receptor-α and -β, and c-Kit, in recurrent glioblastoma. Patients with ≤2 relapses and no prior anti-VEGF/VEGFR therapy were treated with pazopanib 800 mg daily on 4-week cycles without planned interruptions. Brain magnetic resonance imaging and clinical reassessment were made every 8 weeks. The primary endpoint was efficacy as measured by 6-month progression-free survival (PFS6). Thirty-five GBM patients with a median age of 53 years and median Karnofsky performance scale of 90 were accrued. Grade 3/4 toxicities included leukopenia (n = 1), lymphopenia (n = 2), thrombocytopenia (n = 1), ALT elevation (n = 3), AST elevation (n = 1), CNS hemorrhage (n = 1), fatigue (n = 1), and thrombotic/embolic events (n = 3); 8 patients required dose reduction. Two patients had a partial radiographic response by standard bidimensional measurements, whereas 9 patients (6 at the 8-week point and 3 only within the first month of treatment) had decreased contrast enhancement, vasogenic edema, and mass effect but <50% reduction in tumor. The median PFS was 12 weeks (95% confidence interval [CI]: 8–14 weeks) and only 1 patient had a PFS time ≥6 months (PFS6 = 3%). Thirty patients (86%) had died and median survival was 35 weeks (95% CI: 24–47 weeks). Pazopanib was reasonably well tolerated with a spectrum of toxicities similar to other anti-VEGF/VEGFR agents. Single-agent pazopanib did not prolong PFS in this patient population but showed in situ biological activity as demonstrated by radiographic responses. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00459381.
doi:10.1093/neuonc/noq025
PMCID: PMC2940686  PMID: 20200024
antiangiogenesis; clinical therapy trials; giloblastoma
24.  Enzastaurin plus temozolomide with radiation therapy in glioblastoma multiforme: A phase I study† 
Neuro-Oncology  2010;12(6):608-613.
We conducted a phase I study to determine the safety and recommended phase II dose of enzastaurin (oral inhibitor of the protein kinase C-beta [PKCβ] and the PI3K/AKT pathways) when given in combination with radiation therapy (RT) plus temozolomide to patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme or gliosarcoma. Patients with Karnofsky performance status ≥60 and no enzyme-inducing anti-epileptic drugs received RT (60 Gy) over 6 weeks, concurrently with temozolomide (75 mg/m2 daily) followed by adjuvant temozolomide (200 mg/m2) for 5 days/28-d cycle. Enzastaurin was given once daily during RT and adjuvantly with temozolomide; the starting dose of 250 mg/d was escalated to 500 mg/d if ≤1/6 patients had dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) during RT and the first adjuvant cycle. Patients continued treatment for 12 adjuvant cycles unless disease progression or unacceptable toxicity occurred. Twelve patients enrolled. There was no DLT in the first 6 patients treated with 250 mg enzastaurin. At 500 mg, 2 of 6 patients experienced a DLT (1 Grade 4 and 1 Grade 3 thrombocytopenia). The patient with Grade 3 DLT recovered to Grade <1 within 28 days and adjuvant temozolomide and enzastaurin was reinitiated with dose reductions. The other patient recovered to Grade <1 toxicity after 28 days and did not restart treatment. Enzastaurin 250 mg/d given concomitantly with RT and temozolomide and adjuvantly with temozolomide was well tolerated and is the recommended phase II dose. The proceeding phase II trial has finished accrual and results will be reported in 2009.
doi:10.1093/neuonc/nop070
PMCID: PMC2940647  PMID: 20156802
adjuvant therapy; enzastaurin; glioblastoma multiforme; radiation therapy; temozolomide
25.  A North American brain tumor consortium phase II study of Poly-ICLC for adult patients with recurrent anaplastic gliomas 
Journal of neuro-oncology  2008;91(2):183-189.
Purpose
This phase II study was designed to determine the objective response rate and 6-month progression free survival of adult patients with recurrent supratentorial anaplastic glioma when treated with the immune modulator, polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid stabilized with polylysine and carboxymethylcellulose (poly-ICLC).
Methods and Materials
This was an open-labeled, single arm phase II study. Patients were treated with poly-ICLC alone. Patients may have had treatment for no more than two prior relapses. Treatment with poly-ICLC continued until tumor progression.
Results
55 patients were enrolled in the study. 10 were ineligible after central review of pathology. 11% of patients (5 of 45) had a radiographic response. Time to progression was known for 39 patients and 6 remain on treatment. The estimated 6-month progression free survival was 24%. The median survival time was 43 weeks.
Conclusions
Poly-ICLC was well tolerated, but there was no improvement in 6-month progression free survival compared to historical database nor was there an encouraging objective radiographic response rate. Based on this study, poly-ICLC does not improve 6moPFS in patients with recurrent anaplastic gliomas but may be worth further study in combination with agents such as temozolomide.
doi:10.1007/s11060-008-9705-3
PMCID: PMC3104130  PMID: 18850068
anaplastic glioma; radiation therapy; adjuvant therapy; poly-ICLC

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