Researchers Develop Web-Based App to Predict Glioma Mutations

The program uses a statistical model to accurately predict the likelihood that a patient carries IDH1 mutation

A new web-based program developed by the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center researchers will provide a simple, free way for healthcare providers to determine which brain tumour cases require testing for an IDH1 mutation.

Gliomas 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 have a mutation in a specific gene, known as an IDH1 mutation, and patients who have this tend to survive years longer than those who do not carry the mutation.

The program, developed by researchers Li Chen, Eric Durbin, and Craig Horbinski, uses a statistical model to accurately predict the likelihood that a patient carries the IDH1 mutation and requires screening. Healthcare providers need only answer four questions in the application.

“Gliomas are often tested for IDH1 mutation following surgery to remove the tumor, but undergoing this type of testing often requires stringent insurance pre-approvals due to rising healthcare costs”, Horbinski says.

"Currently, there are no universally accepted guidelines for when gliomas should be tested for this mutation," Horbinski said. "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 programme will help conserve research money by helping brain cancer researchers narrow down which specific older gliomas in tumour banks – previously removed in a time before IDH1 testing was routine – should be tested as data for research projects.

Horbinski's research on the programme was published in the May issue of Neuro-Oncology. The work was funded through a grant from the USA National Cancer Institute, the Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Training Program in Translational Clinical Oncology, and the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Physician Scientist Program.