• Newly identified metabolic signatures may offer personalised therapy for brain tumours

Electrophoretic Separations

Newly identified metabolic signatures may offer personalised therapy for brain tumours

Nov 22 2012

Researchers have identified new metabolic signatures that may lead to personalised therapy and treatments in glioma, a type of tumour that originates in the brain.

Not much has been known about the underlying metabolic alterations that might encourage the growth of glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of glioma, according to a study by scientists at the Moffitt Cancer Centre in Tampa, US.

"This use of metabolomics, which is the global quantitative assessment of metabolites within a biological system, has enabled us to identify some of the central metabolic pathways that allow for these tumours to grow," said author Prakash Chinnaiyan, an assistant member in Moffitt's Experimental Therapeutics Program.

For the first time, the study recognised global metabolomic signatures in glioma, which may have importance in the prognosis of the condition.

For the metabolic studies, a non-targeted platform that allowed quantitative analysis of a broad spectrum of molecules was used by Metabolon Inc of Durham in the US.

A genotype based approach has been the standard way of understanding and treating cancer, however the clinical gains from this have been limited, said the study.

This was due to the lack of ability to define the main functional signalling pathways encouraging growth in an individual tumour and also the complex nature of these pathways.

Even though cancers have access to a range of these pathways, they can only employ a certain number of metabolic strategies.

"Simply put, with regards to tumour growth, there are several means to the same end. Rather than studying and targeting the means, tumour metabolism represents the end consequence of these aberrant signalling pathways," said the author.

Additional studies are needed to conclude on the relative significance of these and other metabolic pathways in subtype designation and the way they have an effect on malignant glioma metabolism, explained the study.

Posted by Fiona Griffith

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