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IBTA e-News

The monthly bulletin for our
international brain tumour community

May 2015

Treatment news

Improving outcomes in glioblastoma surgery

Analysing patient data from a 13 year period, researchers from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA, have shown that glioblastoma survival is linked to the amount of tumour removed surgically. Those patients who had 100% removal of the contrast-enhancing tumour (with or without additional resection of the surrounding FLAIR abnormality region)  survived significantly longer - 15.2 months vs. 9.8 months - than those who underwent a subtotal resection (extent of resection between 78% and less than 100% of enhancing mass). Read more (free registration may be required).

Carmustine wafers not associated with increased infection risk, study finds

Published in Neurological Research, an analysis of 401 consecutive patients has found that carmustine implants were not associated with increased infection risk in patients undergoing glioblastoma resection. Read more (abstract).

Results show high dose radiotherapy may lead to improved survival in childhood ependymoma

Results from two studies presented at the 3rd ESTRO Forum in Barcelona, Spain, have independently shown survival benefits from high dose radiotherapy in children with ependymoma. One study that examined French patient data from over 13 years showed a significant survival benefit from radiation therapy at doses above 54 Gy. (59.4 Gy has been recommended for paediatric cases worldwide since 2004.) Additionally, Italy-based research found that a targeted ‘boost’ of radiotherapy (8 Gy, hypofractionated) on top of standard 59.4 Gy radiotherapy further improved outcome in selected patients. The technique will now be the subject of an international clinical trial planned to start later this year.  Read more.

NovoTTF-100A System (Optune) added to NCCN Guidelines and put under FDA review for newly diagnosed glioblastoma

Treatment with Novocure’s NovoTTF-100A (‘Optune’ in the USA) has now been included in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Clinical Practice Guidelines for Oncology in glioblastoma that has recurred after initial treatment. Read more. The ‘Tumor Treating Fields’ device has also been placed under priority review status by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Premarket Approval (PMA) application as a treatment for newly diagnosed glioblastoma alongside temozolomide. Read more. Additionally, new clinical and pre clinical data from the phase III trial of ‘Tumor Treating Fields’ (EF-14), which enrolled 700 newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients, will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting 2015 (ASCO 2015) in Chicago, USA (May 29-June 2). Read more (company news release).

Trial data shows that bevacizumab (Avastin) does not negatively affect health-related quality of life

Results from the Phase 2 BELOB study, which compared lomustine, bevacizumab and combined lomustine and bevacizumab in patients with recurrent glioblastoma, revealed that treatment with bevacizumab had no negative impact on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in this study. Read more (abstract).

Donepezil may improve cognitive function in irradiated brain tumour survivors

A placebo-controlled phase 3 trial has shown that dementia drug donepezil may help some recovery of aspects of cognitive functioning in brain tumour patients who have undergone radiotherapy. No overall cognitive improvement was observed but some functions, such as memory, modestly benefitted from donepezil, especially among patients with greater pre-treatment impairments. Read more (abstract).

Naltrexone does not ease fatigue in high grade glioma

A randomised controlled trial of low dose naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, has shown that it has no impact on symptoms of fatigue or quality of life ratings in patients with high grade glioma. Low dose naltrexone has been used in attempts to ease symptoms in MS, fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions. Read more.

Depression screening is recommended for brain tumour patients

Writing in CNS Oncology, review authors A. Pranckeviciene and A. Bunevicius from the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences conclude that depression in brain tumour patients is common, under-recognised and under-treated. Further research into screening and treatment is called for. Read more.

No need for post-operative imaging in symptom-free meningioma patients, study shows

Published in PLoS ONE, a prospective study of 113 patients with a meningioma showed that routine post-operative scanning did not alter treatment decision making when the patient was symptom-free. (Patients with infratentorial or skull base meningiomas known to be surgically difficult were excluded from the study.) Read more.

Gamma Knife radiosurgery to begin in Australian public hospital

The Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland is to receive Australia’s first government-funded Gamma Knife equipment in July. Until now, Gamma Knife surgery for brain tumours has only been performed at Sydney's private Macquarie University Hospital. Read more.

Research roundup

Epilepsy drug valproic acid may improve survival in glioblastoma

Some previous research has suggested that the epilepsy drug valproic acid may increase the effectiveness of radiotherapy in glioblastoma treatment.  A phase II trial, published in International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, has concluded that valproic acid is safe and well-tolerated when given as part of standard radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Read more (abstract). Separate research, recently presented at the 2015 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting, Washington D.C., USA, has also observed that taking valproic acid is associated with improved survival in glioblastoma but with a worse outcome in lower grade gliomas. The authors of this retrospective analysis of 359 patients, suggest that further studies are warranted to confirm their findings. Read more (abstract).

Existing multiple myeloma drug may be effective in childhood brain tumours

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a childhood brain tumour with a 5-year survival rate of less than 1%, may be treatable with an existing drug according to research published in this month’s Nature Medicine. Researchers screened 83 possible chemotherapy agents with brain tumour tissue and found that the multiple myeloma drug panobinostat slowed growth, a finding confirmed in subsequent mice experiments. Read more.

Clinical trial compares chemotherapy drugs given during radiotherapy in childhood high-grade glioma

A feasibility study and phase 2 trial of three radiosensitising drugs (substances that increase the effectiveness of radiotherapy) in childhood high-grade glioma compared vorinostat, bevacizumab, or temozolomide given during radiation therapy. (All patients received subsequent temozolomide and bevacizumab maintenance therapy.) The results, presented at the 3rd Biennial Conference on Pediatric Neuro-Oncology, San Diego, USA, showed that temozolomide gave the best outcome. Read more (abstract).

Meningioma cases on the rise since mandatory recording introduced in USA

Following the introduction of Public Law 107-260, the Benign Brain Tumor Cancer Registries Amendment Act, it has been mandatory in the USA to collect data from all non-malignant brain tumour cases. Research published in the journal Cancer shows that since the law came into effect in 2004, the reported incidence of non-malignant meningioma has been increasing, "probably because of reporting learning curves" associated with the implementation of the law. Read more (article abstract).

Study examines the psychological distress faced by long-term carers of high-grade malignant glioma patients

Research published in Supportive Care in Cancer has explored the psychological profile of long-term caregivers for people with high-grade malignant glioma. Of the 69 caregivers in the study, 28% reported moderate-severe psychological distress warranting clinical attention. Read more (abstract). In separate research published in June’s edition of Neuro-Oncology Practice, an international survey found that 29% of physicians treating brain tumour patients in the USA and 46% in both Europe and Asia-Oceania do not feel comfortable dealing with end-of-life situations and that referral rates to palliative care are often delayed. Read more (full paper).

Brain Atlas maps the inner workings of glioblastoma

New data has been added to the Ivy Glioblastoma Atlas Project that will serve the brain tumour research community, researchers from the project have recently announced. The project is one of a suite of open-source brain atlas initiatives that seeks to identify the genetic and anatomical basis of glioblastoma on a cellular and molecular level. Read more.

Learning the lessons and overcoming the challenges of developing new glioblastoma treatments

Dr Michael D. Prados and Dr Sara Byron are lead co-authors in a review of glioblastoma treatments published in Neuro-Oncology, a study highlighting the reasons why many glioblastoma targeted treatment attempts have fared poorly in clinical trials. The review considers how future combination treatments targeted to match a tumour’s genetic changes could lead to new effective treatments. Read more.

Brain activity may drive tumour growth, study shows

A study published in Cell has shown that a protein involved in normal brain remodelling and synapse formation, neuroligin-3, can also promote the growth of high-grade gliomas. Experiments in mice further demonstrated that the activation of neurons adjacent to a tumour increased its rate of growth, therefore linking brain activity to tumour growth for the first time. Read more.

IBTA news

The IBTA will be at ASCO 2015

The IBTA will have a slot in the patient advocacy booth at the forthcoming American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference in Chicago, USA. We will be in booth number 3005 in the main exhibition hall at McCormick Place. If you are attending ASCO, please do stop by to say "hello"! The ASCO scientific conference runs from 29 May to 2 June and the ASCO exhibition area will be open from 30 May to 1 June.

Brain tumour community news

CommYOUnity, a new network for volunteers is launched by ABTA

The American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA) has announced the launch of CommYOUnity, a USA-wide volunteer network dedicated to the brain tumour community and cause. The intiative is open to patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals and supporters. Read more.

UK funding available for multidisciplinary teams who focus on ‘transformational research’

UK-based The Brain Tumour Charity has opened grant applications for ‘Collaborative Discovery’ research teams. Awards of up to £1.5 million per programme over 5 years are available for multidisciplinary research groups, which include at least one patient/carer, who pursue ‘transformational brain tumour research advances with the potential for rapid clinical translation’. Read more.

Grant awarded to children’s hospital brain tumour research consortium

The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation has announced they are investing $500,000 to fund the operations centre of the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC). The PNOC is a network of 11 children’s hospitals in the USA that are collaborating to develop personalised brain tumour treatments for children. Read more.

And in other news...

Australian TV celebrity sparks #beaniesforbraincancer twitter trend

TV and radio presenter Carrie Bickmore used her acceptance speech for the Gold Logie award – the Australian TV industry’s highest accolade – to raise awareness for brain tumours. Wearing a beanie hat in honour of her late husband, her speech prompted a twitter campaign #beaniesforbraincancer that saw thousands of photos and messages of support being shared. Read more.

Fifteen years and going strong: glioblastoma survivor Cheryl Broyles gives inspiring interview

Diagnosed in the year 2000 with a glioblastoma and bleeding arteriovenous malformation (AVM), mother-of-two Cheryl Broyles is now a long-term brain tumour survivor. In 2004 she climbed Mount Shasta, California, USA, (14,179 feet/4,322 m) and wrote a book ‘Life’s Mountains’ about her experiences. She has had six tumour resections and a total of three years’ chemotherapy. She recently gave a TV interview to raise awareness and inspire others. Read more (with video).

Man plays mandolin during awake glioblastoma surgery

Jim Milot, a carpenter from Oklahoma, USA, has used his musical talents to help surgeons remove his newly diagnosed glioblastoma, located in the ‘eloquent’ areas of the brain. Milot underwent awake surgery and played the mandolin during the operation to help the surgeon avoid damaging any important brain tissue. Read more (with video).

Conference news

ASCO 2015 abstracts now available online

Abstracts from this year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting, taking place May 29 – June 2, 2015, at McCormick Place, Chicago, USA, are now available to view online. Click here.

Call for abstracts: June

20th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO 2015)
19-22 November 2015
San Antonio, Texas, USA
Abstract deadline: 15 June 2015. Read more.

Upcoming conferences: May - June 2015

Keep up to date with future scientific conferences and events on the IBTA website conferences page here. Below are a selection of forthcoming events:

Advances in Brain Cancer Research
27-30 May 2015
Washington, DC, USA

Braintumor Berlin 2015
28-29 May 2015
Berlin, Germany

Brain Tumor Biotech Summit 2015
29 May 2015
New York, New York, USA

2015 ASCO Annual Meeting
29 May – 2 June 2015
Chicago, Illinois, USA


Brain Tumor Epidemiology Consortium 16th Annual Meeting (BTEC 2015)
2-4 June 2015
Rochester, Minnesota, USA

Pre-symposium course: “Tumours of the Central Nervous System”
8-10 June 2015
Odense, Denmark

XI Northern Lights Neuroscience Symposium on Brain Tumours
10-13 June 2015
Hindsgavl, Denmark

EACR-AACR-SIC Special Conference: from Cancer Biology to the Clinic
20-23 June 2015
Florence, Italy

XVII Congreso Peruana de Neurocirugia (3rd Satellite SNOLA Meeting)
24-28 June 2015
Lima, Peru

Childrens’ and Young People’s Oncology Psychological and Neuropsychological Study Day
29 June 2015
London, UK

If you are aware of a brain tumour-relevant conference - including any patient conferences that we have not yet listed on the IBTA website then please let us know.

IBTA Website
IBTA Website


Who we are

The International Brain Tumour Alliance was established in 2005. It is a network of support, advocacy and information groups representing brain tumour patients and carers in different countries and also includes researchers, scientists, clinicians and allied health professionals who work in the field of brain tumours.
For more information, please visit  


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Copyright © 2015 The International Brain Tumour Alliance, All rights reserved.


The International Brain Tumour Alliance (IBTA) makes every effort to be accurate regarding the information contained in this e-News (or in any documents, reports, notes or other material produced for and on behalf of the IBTA to which we provide a link in this e-News).  However, the IBTA accepts no liability for any inaccuracies or omissions herein nor can it accept liability for any loss or damage resulting from any inaccuracy in this information or third party information such as information on websites to which we link. The information contained in this e-News is for educational purposes only and should in no way be taken as a substitute for medical care nor is the information on the IBTA website meant to constitute medical advice or professional services. For medical care and advice, please contact your doctor.

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The views and opinions in the materials included in this e-News may not necessarily be those of the International Brain Tumour Alliance.

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