BackgroundIn previous clinical trials, antiangiogenic therapies such as bevacizumab did not show efficacy in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GBM). This may be a result of the heterogeneity of GBM, which has a variety of imaging-based phenotypes and gene expression patterns. In this study, we sought to identify a phenotypic subtype of GBM patients who have distinct tumor-image features and molecular activities and who may benefit from antiangiogenic therapies.
MethodsQuantitative image features characterizing subregions of tumors and the whole tumor were extracted from preoperative and pretherapy perfusion magnetic resonance (MR) images of 117 GBM patients in 2 independent cohorts. Unsupervised consensus clustering was performed to identify robust clusters of GBM in each cohort. Cox survival and gene set enrichment analyses were conducted to characterize the clinical significance and molecular pathway activities of the clusters. The differential treatment efficacy of antiangiogenic therapy between the clusters was evaluated.
ResultsA subgroup of patients with elevated perfusion features was identified and was significantly associated with poor patient survival after accounting for other clinical covariates (P values <.01; hazard ratios > 3) consistently found in both cohorts. Angiogenesis and hypoxia pathways were enriched in this subgroup of patients, suggesting the potential efficacy of antiangiogenic therapy. Patients of the angiogenic subgroups pooled from both cohorts, who had chemotherapy information available, had significantly longer survival when treated with antiangiogenic therapy (log-rank P=.022).
ConclusionsOur findings suggest that an angiogenic subtype of GBM patients may benefit from antiangiogenic therapy with improved overall survival.