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Drug Shrinks Some Brain Tumors

A gene helps determine who'll benefit from temozolomide, study finds

TUESDAY, May 22, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- When used as primary chemotherapy after surgery, the drug temozolomide appears to help shrink some cancerous brain tumors, according to a French study that included 140 patients with low-grade gliomas, a slow-growing type of malignancy.

The patients were treated with temozolomide for up to 30 months. Brain tumors shrank in 53 percent of patients and stabilized in 37 percent of patients. However, in 10 percent of patients, brain tumor size increased by more than 25 percent.

The researchers conducted genetic tests and found that patients missing a gene called 1p/19q were more likely to respond well the drug, went more months without the tumor developing, and were less likely to die than patients with the gene.

"Our findings our consistent with previous smaller studies showing temozolomide as a primary treatment is effective and tolerable, and an added benefit is the discovery that the loss of chromosome 1p/19q predicts how well a person is going to respond to the treatment," study author Dr. Khe Hoang-Xuan, with the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris, said in a prepared statement.

The study is in the May 22 issue of the journal Neurology.

Currently, radiotherapy is the standard treatment for low-grade gliomas, said Hoang-Xuan, who added that more research is needed to compare the effectiveness of radiotherapy and treatment with temozolomide.

More information

The National Library of Medicine has more about gliomas.

SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology, news release, May 21, 2007
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