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Concept: Brain tumor


Generous behaviour is known to increase happiness, which could thereby motivate generosity. In this study, we use functional magnetic resonance imaging and a public pledge for future generosity to investigate the brain mechanisms that link generous behaviour with increases in happiness. Participants promised to spend money over the next 4 weeks either on others (experimental group) or on themselves (control group). Here, we report that, compared to controls, participants in the experimental group make more generous choices in an independent decision-making task and show stronger increases in self-reported happiness. Generous decisions engage the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) in the experimental more than in the control group and differentially modulate the connectivity between TPJ and ventral striatum. Importantly, striatal activity during generous decisions is directly related to changes in happiness. These results demonstrate that top-down control of striatal activity plays a fundamental role in linking commitment-induced generosity with happiness.

Concepts: Psychology, Brain, Brain tumor, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Human brain, Magnetic resonance imaging, Striatum, Helium


Background Multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), with or without targeted biopsy, is an alternative to standard transrectal ultrasonography-guided biopsy for prostate-cancer detection in men with a raised prostate-specific antigen level who have not undergone biopsy. However, comparative evidence is limited. Methods In a multicenter, randomized, noninferiority trial, we assigned men with a clinical suspicion of prostate cancer who had not undergone biopsy previously to undergo MRI, with or without targeted biopsy, or standard transrectal ultrasonography-guided biopsy. Men in the MRI-targeted biopsy group underwent a targeted biopsy (without standard biopsy cores) if the MRI was suggestive of prostate cancer; men whose MRI results were not suggestive of prostate cancer were not offered biopsy. Standard biopsy was a 10-to-12-core, transrectal ultrasonography-guided biopsy. The primary outcome was the proportion of men who received a diagnosis of clinically significant cancer. Secondary outcomes included the proportion of men who received a diagnosis of clinically insignificant cancer. Results A total of 500 men underwent randomization. In the MRI-targeted biopsy group, 71 of 252 men (28%) had MRI results that were not suggestive of prostate cancer, so they did not undergo biopsy. Clinically significant cancer was detected in 95 men (38%) in the MRI-targeted biopsy group, as compared with 64 of 248 (26%) in the standard-biopsy group (adjusted difference, 12 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4 to 20; P=0.005). MRI, with or without targeted biopsy, was noninferior to standard biopsy, and the 95% confidence interval indicated the superiority of this strategy over standard biopsy. Fewer men in the MRI-targeted biopsy group than in the standard-biopsy group received a diagnosis of clinically insignificant cancer (adjusted difference, -13 percentage points; 95% CI, -19 to -7; P<0.001). Conclusions The use of risk assessment with MRI before biopsy and MRI-targeted biopsy was superior to standard transrectal ultrasonography-guided biopsy in men at clinical risk for prostate cancer who had not undergone biopsy previously. (Funded by the National Institute for Health Research and the European Association of Urology Research Foundation; PRECISION number, NCT02380027 .).

Concepts: Cancer, Medical imaging, Prostate cancer, Urology, Brain tumor, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Prostate-specific antigen


Kinase inhibitors are effective cancer therapies, but tumors frequently develop resistance. Current strategies to circumvent resistance target the same or parallel pathways. We report here that targeting a completely different process, autophagy, can overcome multiple BRAF inhibitor resistance mechanisms in brain tumors. BRAF(V600E)mutations occur in many pediatric brain tumors. We previously reported that these tumors are autophagy-dependent and a patient was successfully treated with the autophagy inhibitor chloroquine after failure of the BRAF(V600E) inhibitor vemurafenib, suggesting autophagy inhibition overcame the kinase inhibitor resistance. We tested this hypothesis in vemurafenib-resistant brain tumors. Genetic and pharmacological autophagy inhibition overcame molecularly distinct resistance mechanisms, inhibited tumor cell growth, and increased cell death. Patients with resistance had favorable clinical responses when chloroquine was added to vemurafenib. This provides a fundamentally different strategy to circumvent multiple mechanisms of kinase inhibitor resistance that could be rapidly tested in clinical trials in patients with BRAF(V600E) brain tumors.

Concepts: Medicine, Cancer, Oncology, Brain tumor, Tumor, Neoplasm, Enzyme inhibitor, Inhibitor


Glioma, including anaplastic astrocytoma and glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) are among the most commonly diagnosed malignant adult brain tumors. GBM is a highly invasive and angiogenic tumor, resulting in a 12 to 15 months median survival. The treatment of GBM is multimodal and includes surgical resection, followed by adjuvant radio-and chemotherapy. We have previously reported that short-term starvation (STS) enhances the therapeutic index of chemo-treatments by differentially protecting normal cells against and/or sensitizing tumor cells to chemotoxicity.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Chemotherapy, Glioma, Brain tumor, Astrocytoma, Glioblastoma multiforme, Temozolomide


Acquired resistance is one of the major barriers to successful cancer therapy. The development of resistance is commonly attributed to genetic heterogeneity. However, heterogeneity of drug penetration of the tumor microenvironment both on the microscopic level within solid tumors as well as on the macroscopic level across metastases may also contribute to acquired drug resistance. Here we use mathematical models to investigate the effect of drug heterogeneity on the probability of escape from treatment and the time to resistance. Specifically we address scenarios with sufficiently potent therapies that suppress growth of all preexisting genetic variants in the compartment with the highest possible drug concentration. To study the joint effect of drug heterogeneity, growth rate, and evolution of resistance, we analyze a multi-type stochastic branching process describing growth of cancer cells in multiple compartments with different drug concentrations and limited migration between compartments. We show that resistance is likely to arise first in the sanctuary compartment with poor drug penetrations and from there populate non-sanctuary compartments with high drug concentrations. Moreover, we show that only below a threshold rate of cell migration does spatial heterogeneity accelerate resistance evolution, otherwise deterring drug resistance with excessively high migration rates. Our results provide new insights into understanding why cancers tend to quickly become resistant, and that cell migration and the presence of sanctuary sites with little drug exposure are essential to this end.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Oncology, Lung cancer, Brain tumor, Benign tumor, Tumor, Neoplasm


Glioma is the most common form of primary malignant brain tumor in adults, with approximately 4 cases per 100 000 people each year. Gliomas, like many tumors, are thought to primarily metabolize glucose for energy production; however, the reliance upon glycolysis has recently been called into question. In this study, we aimed to identify the metabolic fuel requirements of human glioma cells.

Concepts: Oncology, Metabolism, Nutrition, Adenosine triphosphate, Cellular respiration, Glioma, Brain tumor, Fatty acid metabolism


Electrical stimulation is currently used to treat a wide range of cardiovascular, sensory and neurological diseases. Despite its success, there are significant limitations to its application, including incompatibility with magnetic resonance imaging, limited control of electric fields and decreased performance associated with tissue inflammation. Magnetic stimulation overcomes these limitations but existing devices (that is, transcranial magnetic stimulation) are large, reducing their translation to chronic applications. In addition, existing devices are not effective for deeper, sub-cortical targets. Here we demonstrate that sub-millimeter coils can activate neuronal tissue. Interestingly, the results of both modelling and physiological experiments suggest that different spatial orientations of the coils relative to the neuronal tissue can be used to generate specific neural responses. These results raise the possibility that micro-magnetic stimulation coils, small enough to be implanted within the brain parenchyma, may prove to be an effective alternative to existing stimulation devices.

Concepts: Neuron, Brain, Magnetic field, Brain tumor, Human brain, Magnetic resonance imaging, Neurology, Transcranial magnetic stimulation


This work aimed to determine whether (1)H magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) are correlated with years of meditation and psychological variables in long-term Zen meditators compared to healthy non-meditator controls.

Concepts: Brain, Medical imaging, Brain tumor, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Diffusion MRI, In vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Zen


Molecular imaging of cancer biomarkers is critical for non-invasive accurate cancer detection and risk-stratification in precision healthcare. A peptide-targeted tri-gadolinium nitride metallofullerene, ZD2-Gd3N@C80, is synthesised for sensitive molecular magnetic resonance imaging of extradomain-B fibronectin in aggressive tumours. ZD2-Gd3N@C80 has superior r 1 and r 2 relaxivities of 223.8 and 344.7 mM(-1 )s(-1) (1.5 T), respectively. It generates prominent contrast enhancement in aggressive MDA-MB-231 triple negative breast cancer in mice at a low dose (1.7 µmol kg(-1), 1 T), but not in oestrogen receptor-positive MCF-7 tumours. Strong tumour contrast enhancement is consistently observed in other triple negative breast cancer models, but not in low-risk slow-growing tumours. The dose of the contrast agent for effective molecular MRI is only slightly lower than that of ZD2-Cy5.5 (0.5 µmol kg(-1)) in fluorescence imaging. These results demonstrate that high-sensitivity molecular magnetic resonance imaging with ZD2-Gd3N@C80 may provide accurate detection and risk-stratification of high-risk tumours for precision healthcare of breast cancer.Molecular MRI is a powerful clinical tool for non-invasive detection of cancer biomarkers. Here, the authors develop a targeted peptide gadofullerene contrast agent that can sensitively distinguish between breast cancers of different aggressiveness.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Oncology, Medical imaging, Brain tumor, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Contrast medium


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a malignant primary brain tumor with a mean survival of 15 months with the current standard of care. Genetic profiling efforts have identified the amplification, overexpression, and mutation of the wild-type (wt) epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase (EGFR) in ∼50% of GBM patients. The genetic aberration of wtEGFR is frequently accompanied by the overexpression of a mutant EGFR known as EGFR variant III (EGFRvIII, de2-7EGFR, ΔEGFR), which is expressed in 30% of GBM tumors. The molecular mechanisms of tumorigenesis driven by EGFRvIII overexpression in human tumors have not been fully elucidated. To identify specific therapeutic targets for EGFRvIII driven tumors, it is important to gather a broad understanding of EGFRvIII specific signaling. Here, we have characterized signaling through the quantitative analysis of protein expression and tyrosine phosphorylation across a panel of glioblastoma tumor xenografts established from patient surgical specimens expressing wtEGFR or overexpressing wtEGFR (wtEGFR+) or EGFRvIII (EGFRvIII+). S100A10 (p11), major vault protein, guanylate-binding protein 1(GBP1), and carbonic anhydrase III (CAIII) were identified to have significantly increased expression in EGFRvIII expressing xenograft tumors relative to wtEGFR xenograft tumors. Increased expression of these four individual proteins was found to be correlated with poor survival in patients with GBM; the combination of these four proteins represents a prognostic signature for poor survival in gliomas. Integration of protein expression and phosphorylation data has uncovered significant heterogeneity among the various tumors and has highlighted several novel pathways, related to EGFR trafficking, activated in glioblastoma. The pathways and proteins identified in these tumor xenografts represent potential therapeutic targets for this disease.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Cancer, Signal transduction, Epidermal growth factor receptor, Hormone, Brain tumor, Glioblastoma multiforme