Gene expression testing offers better treatment for brain cancer

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Meningiomas, a common type of brain tumor, often require a combination of surgery and radiation therapy to treat.

However, the side effects of radiation can be serious, which is why a more precise method is needed to determine which patients will truly benefit from this treatment.

Researchers at UC San Francisco and Northwestern Medicine have developed a highly accurate gene expression test that can predict the best treatment strategy for meningioma patients.

This advance has the potential to change the course of treatment for many people and reduce unnecessary radiation exposure.

Challenges in meningioma treatment

Meningiomas, which primarily affect female, black and elderly patients, grow slowly and can cause neurological symptoms. The current treatment approach involves surgery to remove the tumor and then radiation therapy to prevent it from growing again.

The decision to perform radiation therapy is usually based on tumor grading by pathologists. However, this method is not always precise, leading to uncertainty about its necessity.

A new approach: gene expression testing

The research team’s goal was to improve treatment decisions by analyzing the gene expression patterns of meningiomas.

By evaluating which genes are turned on and off within the tumor, they tried to predict tumor aggressiveness more accurately.

This approach, similar to existing gene expression assays for other cancers, has the potential to provide a cost-effective and accurate alternative to the current scoring system.

Key findings

The study analyzed gene expression patterns in samples from 1,856 meningioma patients across multiple medical centers.

The researchers identified a set of 34 genes whose expression patterns could predict tumor recurrence.

Approximately 20% of grade 1 tumors, which are less aggressive, showed gene expression patterns suggestive of possible regrowth and may benefit from radiation therapy.

Approximately 40% of patients with more aggressive grade 2 and 3 tumors did not experience recurrence, which could also be predicted by gene expression analyses.

Personalized treatment based on gene expression

Gene expression testing enables personalized treatment decisions and takes the guesswork out of deciding who should receive radiation therapy.

This advance has the potential to minimize radiation-related toxicity and ensure that patients receive treatments that are likely to be of benefit.

Future Directions: The research team plans to validate this approach in clinical trials currently in development. This will further refine the utility of gene expression testing in guiding treatment decisions for meningioma patients.

Ultimately, this innovation promises to improve the quality and quantity of life of individuals diagnosed with this common brain tumor.


Gene expression testing for meningiomas offers a promising path to more personalized and effective treatment strategies.

By assessing gene activity in tumors, healthcare providers can make more informed decisions, reduce the risk of overtreatment, and improve patient outcomes.

This research represents a significant advance in the treatment of brain tumors and could benefit a significant proportion of affected individuals.

If you are interested in cancer, please read studies on how to reduce the spread of pancreatic cancer by almost 90% Green tea could help reduce the risk of death from type 2 diabetes

For more information on cancer, see recent studies on herbs that may help treat pancreatic cancer, as well as results showing how to detect pancreatic cancer at treatable stages.

The research results can be found in natural medicine.

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