Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Brain tumor


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


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


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


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


BACKGROUND: Polydipsia frequently occurs in schizophrenia patients. The excessive water loading in polydipsia occasionally induces a hyponatremic state and leads to water intoxication. Whether polydipsia in schizophrenic patients correlates with neuropsychological impairments or structural brain changes is not clear and remains controversial. METHODS: Eight polydipsic schizophrenia patients, eight nonpolydipsic schizophrenia patients, and eight healthy controls were recruited. All subjects underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and neuropsychological testing. Structural abnormalities were analyzed using a voxel-based morphometry (VBM) approach, and patients' neuropsychological function was assessed using the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia, Japanese version (BACS-J). RESULTS: No significant differences were found between the two patient groups with respect to the clinical characteristics. Compared with healthy controls, polydipsic patients showed widespread brain volume reduction and neuropsychological impairment. Furthermore, the left insula was significantly reduced in polydipsic patients compared with nonpolydipsic patients. These nonpolydipsic patients performed intermediate to the other two groups in the neuropsychological function test. CONCLUSIONS: It is possible that polydipsia or the secondary hyponatremia might induce left insula volume reduction. Furthermore, this structural brain change may indirectly induce more severe neuropsychological impairments in polydipsic patients. Thus, we suggest that insula abnormalities might contribute to the pathophysiology of polydipsic patients.

Concepts: Psychology, Brain, Brain tumor, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Dopamine, Hyponatremia, Water intoxication


Previous studies have defined low-frequency, spatially consistent intrinsic connectivity networks (ICN) in resting functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data which reflect functional interactions among distinct brain areas. We sought to explore whether and how repeated migraine attacks influence intrinsic brain connectivity, as well as how activity in these networks correlates with clinical indicators of migraine.

Concepts: Brain, Brain tumor, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Migraine, Helium, Aura, Scintillating scotoma


In recent studies, both tumor morphology and vascularity played an important role in differentiating breast tumors. In this article, a computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) system was proposed to quantify the tumor morphology of vascularity on three-dimensional (3-D) power Doppler breast ultrasound (PDUS) images. We segmented the tumor margin by the level set method and skeletonized vessels by the 3-D thinning algorithm from 3-D PDUS data to capture the B-mode and vascularity features. The B-mode features including texture, shape and ellipsoid fitting and the vascularity features containing volume, complexity, length, radius and tortuosity were used to differentiate breast tumors. In the experiment, 82 biopsy-verified lesions including 41 benign and 41 malignant lesions were used to test the performance of the proposed system. The proposed method performed well, achieving accuracy, sensitivity, specificity and Az values of 85.37% (70/82), 85.37% (35/41), 85.37% (35/41) and 0.9104, respectively.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Oncology, Brain tumor, Benign tumor, Tumor, Neoplasm, Level set method