Article quick-view

Biobanking: An Important Resource for Precision Medicine in Glioblastoma.


The Cancer Genome Atlas effort has generated significant interest in a new paradigm shift in tumor tissue analysis, patient diagnosis and subsequent treatment decision. Findings have highlighted the limitation of sole reliance on histology, which can be confounded by inter-observer variability. Such studies demonstrate that histologically similar grade IV brain tumors can be divided into four molecular subtypes based on gene expression, with each subtype demonstrating unique genomic aberrations and clinical outcome. These advances indicate that curative therapeutic strategies must now take into account the molecular information in tumor tissue, with the goal of identifying molecularly stratified patients that will most likely to receive treatment benefit from targeted therapy. This in turn spares non-responders from chemotherapeutic side effects and financial costs. In advancing clinical stage drug candidates, the banking of brain tumor tissue necessitates the acquisition of not just tumor tissue with clinical history and robust follow-up, but also high quality molecular information such as somatic mutation, transcriptomic and DNA methylation profiles which have been shown to predict patient survival independent of current clinical indicators. Additionally, the derivation of cell lines from such tumor tissue facilitates the development of clinically relevant patient-derived xenograft mouse models that can prospectively reform the tumor for further studies, yet have retrospective clinical history to associate bench and in vivo findings with clinical data. This represents a core capability of Precision Medicine where the focus is on understanding inter- and intra-tumor heterogeneity so as to best tailor therapies that will result in improved treatment outcomes.