Lessons learned in the development of targeted therapy for malignant gliomas

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Mol Cancer Ther. 2007 Jul;6(7):1909-19.

Omuro AM, Faivre S, Raymond E.

Groupe Hospitalier Pitie-Salpetriere-Federation de Neurologie Mazarin 47, Bd de l'Hopital, 75661 Paris Cedex 13, France. antonio.omuro@psl.aphp.fr

The prognosis of patients with glioblastoma, anaplastic astrocytoma, and anaplastic oligodendroglioma remains poor despite standard treatment with radiotherapy and temozolomide. Molecular targeted therapy holds the promise of providing new, more effective treatment options with minimal toxicity. However, the development of targeted therapy for gliomas has been particularly challenging. The oncogenetic process in such tumors is driven by several signaling pathways that are differentially activated or silenced with both parallel and converging complex interactions. Therefore, it has been difficult to identify prevalent targets that act as key promoters of oncogenesis and that can be successfully addressed by novel agents.


Several drugs have been tested, including epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (gefitinib and erlotinib), mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors (temsirolimus and everolimus), and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR), protein kinase C-beta, and other angiogenesis pathways inhibitors (vatalanib, bevacizumab, and enzastaurin). Although preliminary efficacy results of most trials in recurrent disease have fallen short on expectations, substantial advances have been achieved by associated translational research. In this article, we seek to recapitulate the lessons learned in the development of targeted therapy for gliomas, including challenges and pitfalls in the interpretation of preclinical data, specific issues in glioma trial design, insights provided by translational research, changes in paradigms, and future perspectives.