Purpose: Recent data suggest that methylation of the DNA repair gene O 6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase (MGMT), by increasing the chemosensitivity of glioblastoma multiforme, is significantly associated with improved prognosis. Results in contradiction with these findings, however, are present in the literature and the clinical and genetic context framing MGMT methylation is poorly characterized. Experimental Design: To address these issues, we have investigated the MGMT methylation status, clinical and magnetic resonance imaging characteristics, and relevant genetic features (loss of heterozygosity on 17p and 19q, EGFR amplification, and p53 mutations) in a retrospective study on 86 patients affected by glioblastoma multiforme: 72 patients had a clinical history indicating de novo insurgence of the tumor and the remaining 14 were secondary glioblastoma multiforme. Results: MGMT methylation was detected by methylation-specific PCR in 41 of 86 cases (47.7%; Meth+). Progression-free survival and overall survival were significantly longer in Meth+ than in Meth- patients [10 versus 7 months (P = 0.003, log-rank test) and 18 versus 14 months (P = 0.0003, log-rank test), respectively]. Mixed-nodular enhancement at magnetic resonance imaging was significantly more frequent in Meth+ and secondary glioblastoma multiforme and ring enhancement in Meth- and primary glioblastoma multiforme (P <0.005). MGMT methylation was more present in secondary glioblastoma multiforme (P = 0.006) and associated with loss of heterozygosity on 17p and/or 19q (P = 0.005). Conclusions: These observations suggest that MGMT methylation is part of a genetic signature of glioblastomas that developed from lower-grade gliomas.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research