New glioma research published in top journal

New glioma research published in top journal

Fri 10 June

The GLASS Consortium of researchers, including Leeds' Dr Lucy Stead, has published a new paper on ways to predict glioma reccurence.
Although a lot of progress has been made in recent years in the field of brain tumour research, adult diffuse glioma patients still have a very poor prognosis of just 15 months following diagnosis.

Diffuse gliomas generally develop resistance, and start to grow back just nine months after having been treated with standard therapies such as surgery and chemo.

Understanding why gliomas are able to grow back will allow us to develop more effective treatments.

About the project

The Glioma Longitudinal Analysis Consortium (GLASS), an international group of researchers and clinicians, is investigating why gliomas recurr by analysing tumour samples taken from patients both before the start of treatment, and following recurrence.

The consortium has recently successfully published a new paper in Cell, one of the world's most prestigious research journals, entitled "Glioma progression is shaped by genetic evolution and microenvironment interactions."

We are proud that brain tumour tissue from the Leeds Neuro Research Tissue Bank, co-founded by Yorkshire's Brain Tumour Charity and Oscar's Paediatric Brain Tumour Charity, was used to complete the project.


The researchers analysed data from over 300 patients to find the most frequent changes that take place in tumours that reoccur.

The study found that tumours recurred in distinct manners depending on whether they belonged to one of two subtypes - "IDH-wild-type" and "IDH-mutant". They categorised tumours which had grown back into three further subtypes, or "phenotypes", based on their characteristics at recurrence - "neuronal", "mesenchymal" and "proliferative".

The team observed that many "IDH-wild-type" tumors developed features like those of neurons when they recurred after treatment. These "neuronal" tumours were found to invade other brain cells most aggressively.

They also found that "myeloid" (innate immune) cell states may cause tumours to transition into "mesenchymal" types.

Being able to categorise tumours into these subtypes and further "phenotypes" will allow for more accurate forecasting of how a tumour will recurr, in order to guide the choice of therapy given to a patient.

How may this improve treatment?

One of the paper's senior authors, Frederick Varn, said: “By analyzing genetic and transcriptional data from this large cohort of patients, we are beginning to appreciate how tumors are changing to adapt to standard-of-care therapy. This study has made it clear that not every tumor changes in the same way. Knowing this is going to allow us to develop therapies that are better tailored towards each patient’s disease in the future.”

Another senior author, Roel Verhaak, said: “The GLASS project has built tremendous momentum and is just getting started. We are well underway to tripling our patient cohort and datasets. We are poised to comprehensively dissect the process of resistance and make important progress towards better outcomes for patients with a glioma.”

Find out more about the research YBTC is currently funding
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