Biomarkers are receiving a lot of attention in the research community.
Biomarkers are receiving a lot of attention in the research community as a means to guide patient care and to help in the early assessment of the effectiveness of potential therapies in clinical trials. A biomarker is any measurable biological physical property that is associated with an increased risk of disease (e.g., imaging characteristic, protein in the serum produced by body organs or tumors, genetic trait, etc.). As below, a recent study by A. Gregory Sorenson and NBTS-funded researcher Rakesh K. Jain aims to predict whether tumors will respond to the drug Cediranib.
Biomarkers promise to provide non-(or minimally) invasive tests to assess disease risk, early detection of a disease, a patient's likely response to treatment, and disease recurrence. NBTS believes that the use of biomarkers to improve clinical trials to more efficiently identify new effective therapies, and to guide patient care to benefit the quality of life of brain tumor patients battling this disease, is of great importance. As part of the Brain Tumor Funders' Collaborative, NBTS has committed to advancing biomarker research through a targeted request for applications, with recipients to be announced in fall 2009.
Biomarkers Predict Brain Tumor's Response To Therapy
Read the complete original press release at ScienceDaily.com
June 24, 2009 — A report in Cancer Research highlights a new biomarker that may be useful in identifying patients with recurrent glioblastoma, or brain tumors, who would respond better to anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy, specifically cediranib.
Cediranib is a highly potent inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor tyrosine kinases. It is an investigational, oral agent that is administered once daily. Using a form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that looked at the mechanism of action of this agent, the researchers were able to determine, even as early as after a single dose of cediranib, those patients who benefited from the agent and those who did not.
"We found that results from an advanced MRI scan taken just a day after starting treatment correlated with survival. Combining MRI with blood biomarkers did an even better job of identifying patients who best responded to treatment," said researcher A. Gregory Sorensen, MD, associate professor of radiology and health sciences and technology at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital. "If this approach is validated in larger studies, we could use these tools to keep patients on therapies that their tumors respond to, and shift non-responders to other therapies much earlier."
Sorensen and colleagues sought to find the potential biomarkers that could be used to predict those patients who would respond better from antiangiogenic therapy early in the course of treatment by use of MRI.
"Vascular normalization is an important mechanism of how these drugs work in cancer patients," said Rakesh K. Jain, PhD, Andrew Werk Cook professor of tumor biology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Edwin L. Steele Laboratory for Tumor Biology in the department of radiation oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston. Jain is also a researcher on this study.
The correlative analysis in this single arm, phase II study showed that those patients whose extent of vascular normalization was greater, had a longer duration of overall survival as well as progression-free survival, according to Jain. Median overall survival rate was 227 days; some patients lived for about two years and some lived less than two months.