Markey researchers develop web-based app to predict glioma mutations

Aug. 22, 2014

A new web-based program developed by University of Kentucky (UK) Markey Cancer Center researchers provides a straightforward way for healthcare providers to determine which brain tumor cases require testing for a genetic mutation. The program, developed by UK researchers Li Chen, PhD, Eric Durbin, DrPH, and Craig Horbinski, MD, PhD, uses a statistical model to accurately predict the likelihood that a patient carries the IDH1 mutation and requires screening. Healthcare providers need to answer only four questions in the application. The program was described recently in a study published in the journal Neuro-Oncology.

Gliomas, tumors that begin in the brain or spine, are the most common and deadly form of brain cancer in adults, making up about 80% of malignant brain cancer cases. In some of these cases, patients carry the IDH1 mutation, and patients who have this mutation tend to survive years longer than those who do not. Gliomas are often tested for IDH1 mutation following surgery to remove the tumor, but, according to Horbinski, undergoing this type of testing often requires stringent insurance pre-approvals.

“Currently, there are no universally accepted guidelines for when gliomas should be tested for this mutation,” Horbinski says. “Obtaining insurance pre-approval for additional molecular testing is becoming more commonplace, and this program will assist healthcare providers with an evidence-based rationale for when IDH1 screening is necessary.”

Additionally, Horbinski notes that the program will help conserve research dollars by helping brain cancer researchers narrow down which specific older gliomas in tumor banks—previously removed in a time before IDH1 testing was routine—should be tested as data for research projects. Read the study abstract.

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