13 – Brain Cancer: DNA Methylation and survival of patients

13 - Brain Cancer: DNA Methylation and survival of patients

Gliomas are the most frequent and the most aggressive type of brain cancer. In the clinics, in order to choose a treatment for the patient, clinicians divide these tumors in 4 grades, according to the severity of the cancer: grade I, II, III or IV. Now researchers suggest a more accurate classification, with seven subtypes of tumors. Each of them defines a specific prognosis and also relate to different responses to treatment.

The new classification results from the broadest analysis of brain tumors done to date, by scientists from 6 countries. The most relevant aspect to divide tumors in seven groups was DNA Methylation – one epigenetic mechanism that can activate or turn off a gene. The three groups with higher DNA methylation level aggregate patients with better survival.

The research was coordinated by Houtan Noushmehr, from University of Sao Paulo – USP (Brazil); Antonio Iavarone, from Columbia University (United States); and Roel Verhaak, from MD Anderson Cancer Center (United States). Analysis included: DNA methylation, copy number of genes, genetic mutations, RNA expression, codeletion of 1p19q chromosome, telomere length and IDH gene mutations. The article was published on January 28, 2016 in Cell Journal.

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Video produced by: USP Scientific Outreach Unit | reporter: Ana Paula Chinelli | Editors: Ana Paula Chinelli and Thales Figueiredo | Director: Mônica Teixeira.