MRI for Pre-surgical Detection of Mutations in Brain Tumors

Mutations in the isocitrate dehydrogenase genes (IDH1 and IDH2) are found in roughly 70 % of low and intermediate-grade gliomas, and the presence of these mutations means patients generally survive longer, but don’t respond as well to standard radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

Since mutations in these genes also change the metabolism of glioma cells resulting in an accumulation of 2-hydroxyglutaratem (2HG), the levels of this protein can be used to differentiate normal from cancerous cells prior to surgery.

In this study, researchers used magnet resonance imaging (MRI) to identify cancerous cells based on the accumulation of 2HG. MRI analysis of the glioma patients could predict the presence of the IDH1 and IDH2 mutations with 98 % accuracy!

I like this approach because not only does it allow doctors to identify and locate a tumor, it also allows them to determine whether the tumor harbours a particular genetic mutation, allowing for more personalized treatments and the use of targeted therapies. Furthermore, by monitoring the levels of the 2HG oncometabolite during treatment, doctors can determine if a particular treatment is working or not.

Detection of “Oncometabolite” 2-hydroxyglutarate by Magnetic Resonance Analysis as a Biomarker of IDH1/2 Mutations in Glioma.


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