Current strategies in treatment of oligodendroglioma: Evolution of molecular signatures of response
Central Nervous System Neoplasms
Oligodendroglioma frequently (> or = 70%) responds to radiation and chemotherapy, and is the first CNS neoplasm in which a genetic signature (1p and 19q deletion) has been associated with outcome within the context of large clinical trials. Current translational investigations focus on deletions or mutations of potential tumor suppressor genes, epigenetic alterations, amplification or mutation of growth factor and regulatory genes, and characterization of signaling events and regulatory protein expression. The most compelling data has involved 1p and 19q loss, which is observed in over 50% of anaplastic oligodendrogliomas. In two randomized phase III trials (Radiation Therapy Oncology Group 9402 and European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer 26951), the addition of neoadjuvant or adjuvant procarbazine, lomustine, and vincristine (PCV; respectively) to radiotherapy did not produce superior survival as compared with radiotherapy alone. A modest increase in progression-free survival was observed with the addition of PCV, but at the cost of increased toxicity. Combined 1p and 19q loss identified a favorable prognostic group in both studies, which appeared to be independent of treatment arms. However, it is unclear whether these deletions represent surrogate markers of a favorable biologic tumor behavior, or are predictive of outcome after specific treatment. Currently, there is insufficient data to allow therapeutic decisions to be made solely on the basis of 1p and 19q gene deletion status. Future phase III trials are evaluating other chemotherapeutic and targeted agents, including temozolomide, and include correlative investigations of aberrant molecular events in these neoplasms, which may lead to future therapeutic strategies that are based on specific molecular signatures.