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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Neurological Disorders - Oncology - Radiology and Medical Imaging - Neuroscience

A Novel Volume-Age-KPS (VAK) Glioblastoma Classification Identifies a Prognostic Cognate microRNA-Gene Signature
Published: Friday, August 03, 2012
Author: Pascal O. Zinn et al.

by Pascal O. Zinn, Pratheesh Sathyan, Bhanu Mahajan, John Bruyere, Monika Hegi, Sadhan Majumder, Rivka R. Colen


Several studies have established Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) prognostic and predictive models based on age and Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS), while very few studies evaluated the prognostic and predictive significance of preoperative MR-imaging. However, to date, there is no simple preoperative GBM classification that also correlates with a highly prognostic genomic signature. Thus, we present for the first time a biologically relevant, and clinically applicable tumor Volume, patient Age, and KPS (VAK) GBM classification that can easily and non-invasively be determined upon patient admission.


We quantitatively analyzed the volumes of 78 GBM patient MRIs present in The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA) corresponding to patients in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) with VAK annotation. The variables were then combined using a simple 3-point scoring system to form the VAK classification. A validation set (N?=?64) from both the TCGA and Rembrandt databases was used to confirm the classification. Transcription factor and genomic correlations were performed using the gene pattern suite and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis.


VAK-A and VAK-B classes showed significant median survival differences in discovery (P?=?0.007) and validation sets (P?=?0.008). VAK-A is significantly associated with P53 activation, while VAK-B shows significant P53 inhibition. Furthermore, a molecular gene signature comprised of a total of 25 genes and microRNAs was significantly associated with the classes and predicted survival in an independent validation set (P?=?0.001). A favorable MGMT promoter methylation status resulted in a 10.5 months additional survival benefit for VAK-A compared to VAK-B patients.


The non-invasively determined VAK classification with its implication of VAK-specific molecular regulatory networks, can serve as a very robust initial prognostic tool, clinical trial selection criteria, and important step toward the refinement of genomics-based personalized therapy for GBM patients.