Gliomas are common primary brain tumours that occur as low-grade (LGG) and high-grade gliomas (HGG). Typically occurring in younger adults, LGG has an indolent course with a median survival of 5-10 years, but carries an inherent potential for transforming into HGG. The thesis focused on LGG in adults, with the aim of identifying prognostic biomarkers for LGG.
Paper I. Epileptic seizures are common symptoms in LGG. In a retrospective study, the correlation between 11C-methionine (MET) uptake, measured by Positron Emission Tomography (PET), and seizure activity was assessed in 101 patients with LGG. Although there was no correlation between MET uptake and seizure activity, survival was longer in patients who were seizure-free before surgery.
Paper II. This finding prompted the search for common genetic pathways for both tumour and seizure development and a review of genetic polymorphisms in focal epilepsy and glioma risk. Cell cycle and immune response genes affecting both glioma and seizure risk were identified, and genes involved in synaptic transmission presented potential candidates for future studies.
Paper III. The transcription factor PROX1 plays a pivotal role in normal development and carcinogenesis of various organs. The prognostic value of PROX1, together with established clinical and molecular prognostic factors for survival, was retrospectively assessed in 116 patients with LGG. High PROX1 expression in the tumour was associated with shorter survival.
Paper IV. DNA repair enzymes, such as ERCC6, are crucial for maintaining genomic stability in glioma response to radiotherapy. An association between the polymorphism rs4253079, mapped to ERCC6, and longer survival in patients with LGG and HGG was identified.
Paper V. As LGG typically presented as non-contrast enhancing tumours on morphological MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), the value of combined MET PET with physiological MRI for preoperative diagnosis was assessed in a prospective study of 32 patients with suspected LGG. Representative tumour areas were identified through a combination of perfusion-MRI with MET PET, which can be used as a baseline investigation for follow-up over time.
Conclusions: The parameters seizure-freedom before surgery, the polymorphism rs4253079 in ERCC6 and low PROX1 expression in the tumor were identified as favorable prognostic biomarkers.
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2012. , 70 p.
Low-grade glioma, prognosis, epilepsy, PROX1, DNA repair enzyme, PET, Physiological MRI
2012-12-10, Rosénsalen, Akademiska sjukhuset, ing. 95, Uppsala, 13:00 (Swedish)