Scientists find new drug stopping recurring brain tumor growth

Credit: National Cancer Institute / Unsplash

When a non-metastatic brain tumor—a meningioma—recurs after surgery and radiation treatment, a patient is out of options.

No drugs are approved for these aggressive tumors, which occur in up to 20% of cases and can lead to patient disability or even death.

In a study from Northwestern Medicine and elsewhere, scientists have found a drug that inhibits the growth of the most aggressive meningiomas and how to most accurately identify which meningiomas will respond to the drug.

The drug is a newer cancer treatment called abemaciclib.

In the study, the scientists showed the effectiveness of the drug in select patients, mouse models, a 3D living tissue brain tumor (organoids) and cell cultures.

They found that meningiomas can be divided into molecular subgroups with different clinical outcomes and recurrence rates.

This new method of classifying tumors allows scientists to predict recurrence more accurately than the current method of classifying the tumor.

Mice with meningiomas treated with the medication lived longer and their tumors didn’t grow as rapidly.

The drug was also used off label as compassionate use in several patients whose tumors decreased in size and whose symptoms improved, suggesting the drug should be considered for clinical trials.

The next steps in the research are to validate these findings in additional populations and build on them to determine whether we can use molecular features to predict which meningioma patients should be treated with radiation in addition to surgery.

Scientists plan to translate these findings and methods to make this molecular profiling generalizable and available to all patients with meningioma.

If you care about brain health, please read studies about the five most addictive substances on Earth, and one serving of leafy greens a day may slow brain aging by 11 years.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that cranberries could help boost memory, and these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.

The study was conducted by Dr. Stephen Magill et al and published in Nature Genetics.

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