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Newly Identified Biomarkers Detects and Regulates Spread of Brain Tumors
Researchers at Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute identified a biomarker for brain tumors that have may have a role in tumor spreads or recurrences, and may be used as a predictor of patient outcomes.

Attractin is a soluble protein biomarker that is not normally found in the central nervous system (CNS) nor is it found in the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) unless a malignant astrocytomas (an intracranial tumor) is present in the CNS. Attractin mediates glioma cell migration. The CSF functions to act like a reservoir that bathes the brain, which can be sampled for studying the proteins that are secreted by the tumor.

Physicians will be able to use a less invasive method to track success of treatment using this biomarker for malignant astrocytomas. These biomarkers can now provide researchers the ability to be able to better define the disease, predict what type of treatment to use, and will allow physicians to monitor a patient response to therapy.

A study examined 60 CSF or cyst fluids samples using proteomics to observe all the proteins from patients with various CNS malignancies, and attractin levels were also examined in 100 normal and tumoral brain samples, and found that attractin levels were elevated in 97 percent of patient with astrocytomas, with the highest level in grade IV tumors.

The level of abnormality of the cells is determined by the grade of the tumor, which predicts patient outcomes and determines the likelihood for growth and spread of that tumor. The abnormality and growth rate increases from low to high-grade tumors, with high-grade having cells that are highly abnormal, fast growing, and spreads quickly making treatment more difficult. The life expectancy of astrocytoma after treatment is about one year putting pressure on researchers to improve therapy. Due to a small number of noninvasive methods of examining CNS malignancies that is available, there is a need to find a method that is reliable.

Researchers also found that attractin is secreted by the tumor itself and is a key player in motility of cancer cells, which influences their ability to metastasize in the brain and is responsible of reoccurrences after treatment. Knowing that attractin causes migration and reoccurrences of these tumors makes it a potential new target in drug therapy as well as a way to monitor treatment outcome.

"Our studies suggest that measuring attractin levels in patients with grades II-IV astrocytoma should be explored further as a potential biomarker for monitoring the growth of these tumors or as a potential new target for therapy," stated a professor of neurosurgery and hematology/oncology name Erwin Van Meir, PhD.

Source: published in November issue of Clinical Cancer Research
Key(s): Attractin Biomarker in Brain Tumors

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