A New Study Reveals Longer Survival Outcomes For Patients With Malignant Brain Tumors

("Leading Edge" Gamma Knife Treatment, led by Christopher Duma, M.D., FACS and his team of researchers, offers hope to patients with Glioblastoma Multiforme)

Jul 08, 2014, 09:14 ET from Christopher Duma, M.D.

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., July 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A study on the effects of an aggressive and strategic treatment called "Leading Edge" radiosurgery offers hope to patients diagnosed with life-threatening brain cancer. The study identifies the pathways of invasion of malignant glioma cells and provides a map in which a treatment plan can be developed to prevent the spread of one of the most deadly forms of malignant tumor, Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM). GBM currently has a median survival rate of about 16 months.

"The aim of this new "Leading Edge" approach is not to focus single-fraction Gamma Knife radiation on where the tumor started, but where the tumor is going," said Christopher Duma, M.D., FACS, Brain Tumor Program Director at Hoag Memorial Presbyterian in Newport Beach, California. "Everyone thinks a tumor grows like a snowball. This particular brain tumor is different than any tumor in the body. You can't remove it like a tumor. It intermixes with normal brain tissues and spreads through the brain along the white matter pathways."

Dr. Duma and his research team are studying malignant brain tumors and their pathways of invasion. In their research they have discovered that in addition to local recurrence, malignant gliomas frequently spread in predictable patterns along the brain's white matter pathways. "It is along these pathways that long-fought battles against GBMs are often lost," explained Dr. Duma. "Our data suggests that by targeting specific areas, the spread of GBM along the white matter pathways can be more effectively halted."

Dr. Duma and his team presented their findings at the 17th International Leksell Gamma Knife Society Meeting in New York in May 2014.  The study was performed on 109 patients with newly-diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme over a 15-year period. Utilizing the "Leading Edge" treatment, the median survival rate was 23 months. The three-year survival rate was 19 percent, the five-year survival rate was 12 percent and the 7-year survival rate was 6 percent. "This compares to a survival of only 16 months with the current best medical therapy. Five- and seven-year survivals are virtually unheard of," Dr. Duma said.

Combining Gamma Knife radiation treatment with diagnostic radiology technology such as Multivoxel MR-Spectroscopy scans, "Leading Edge" method targets radiation beyond the local tumor volume to include the potential malignant tumor path.

"Prior to these technological breakthroughs it was impossible to detect where the tumor might spread," Dr. Duma said. "Multivoxel MR-Spect scans provide a multi-dimensional view of the brain and can be utilized to identify tumor migration pathways. Targeting these zones with Gamma Knife is proving to be a successful method of blocking the path of malignant gliomas."


A board certified neurosurgeon specialist in surgical brain tumor management, Gamma Knife and CyberKnife™ radiosurgery, and the surgical treatment of movement disorders, Dr. Christopher Duma practices at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, California and is one of the most experienced neurosurgeons in his field. In addition, he has been at the forefront of research in immunotherapy for primary brain gliomas such as glioblastoma multiforme, anaplastic astrocytoma, and astrocytomas and is actively involved with research in the use of immunotherapy to fight malignant brain tumors. Dr. Duma is currently at the forefront of stem cells research.

SOURCE Christopher Duma, M.D.