Better Diagnosis of Brain Tumors

A groundbreaking study that is part of the Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network will change the way patients with diffuse gliomas, a form of brain tumor, will be diagnosed and treated in the future. 

More than three hundred researchers from forty-four institutions contributed to a molecular analysis of the tumors. They found that molecular diagnostics are much more precise and reproducible than looking at tissue under a microscope for classification.

This is a major step in starting to classify and treat brain tumors based on their genetic makeup rather than their microscopic appearance, which has been the traditional diagnostic approach for over a century. The findings will be published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Lead study author Daniel J. Brat, a researcher and neuropathologist at Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute, explains, “The use of the biomarkers in the diagnosis of these forms of brain tumors will lead to a much more consistent manner of diagnosis and patient management. It will also allow us to investigate these tumors as unified groups.”

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