Contact informationPlease contact Petter Brandal for more information
Neoplasms of the central nervous system (CNS) are a heterogenous group of frequently deadly tumors with highly variable biological behavior. The number of primary tumors in the central nervous system diagnosed each year is increasing.
Stages of Intracranial cancer
Of these primary tumors in the central nervous system, neuroepithelial tumors, especially gliomas, are the most common. These neoplasms are diseases with variable prognoses. Some gliomas are potentially curable, whereas others are incurable and entail a short life expectancy. There is limited knowledge about the pathogenetic processes leading to the development of gliomas. We are interested in the genomic aberrations and the following transcriptomic events important for the neoplastic transformation of normal cells to cancer cells.
At the ICGI we study brain tumors through genetic screening technology: karyotyping and comparative genomic hybridization (CGH). When we locate areas of interest, we zoom in on these and study them at a molecular genetic level. The results are correlated to other biological and clinical parameters, with the goal of understanding more of the biology behind these tumors. With this increased body of knowledge we may be able to classify brain tumors in a more meaningful way; one that takes into account the pathogenetic mechanisms behind the neoplasms and thereby directs targeted treatment.
Fusion genes are our main focus at present. We recently found one such fusion transcript involving the ALK gene in two pediatric ependymal brain tumors. This is a gene already found to be involved in other cancer types, e.g., lung cancer. ALK inhibitors specifically targeting the product of a fusion gene involving ALK are used in the treatment of lung cancer. We will continue striving to identify more fusion genes in brain tumors in the years to come, and build upon these intriguing findings.