Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and aggressive primary human brain tumour in adults with an average survival of 11 months. The 2-year survival is less than 10%, and only a small proportion of patients are alive at 3 years. Despite improved treatment strategies and aggressive therapy, the prognosis of GBM has changed little in past decades. Thus, any test that can reliably and rapidly diagnose the tumour and predict patient survival could be a valuable tool. Herein we report the use of quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to quantify five glycosyltransferase transcripts in gliomas. Our results indicate that measuring GM1 synthase (β-1,3 galactosyltransferase) mRNA may provide a useful method for segregating GBMs from other types of gliomas. In these studies, 97% of gliomas (36/37 tumours) below a threshold value had a diagnosis of GBM compared with 49% (52/106 tumours) above the threshold. More importantly, the increased expression of GD3 synthase mRNA in combination with decreased GalNAcT message correlated with increased survival in 79 GBM patients (proportional hazards model controlling for age, P = 0.02). These data were further corroborated by a data analysis from one of our previous studies on gangliosides of 80 GBMs, in which increased amounts of GM3 and GD3 (which accumulate in the absence of GalNAcT) correlated with a longer survival (P < 0.01). Thus, measuring GalNAcT and GD3 transcripts may provide a rapid method to assess prognosis in GBM patients. In summary, the data indicate that measuring glycosyltransferase mRNA levels by real-time PCR may be clinically useful for determining both diagnosis and prognosis in GBM patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Clinical Neurology
- Physiology (medical)