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J Neurol Sci. 1998 Feb 18;155(1):68-75.

BCL-2 family protein expression in human malignant glioma: a clinical-pathological correlative study.

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Institute for Brain Research, University of Tübingen, Medical School, Germany.


Malignant gliomas are rather refractory to current therapeutic approaches including surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Acquired alterations in the pathways required for apoptotic cell death are thought to be responsible to the failure of glioma to respond to therapy. Here we have examined the expression of several proteins involved in the susceptibility to apoptosis in 20 human gliomas, including the BCL-2 family proteins BCL-2, BCL-X, BAX and MCL-1, as well as p53 and RB. Most gliomas expressed several BCL-2 family proteins. There was good correlation between expression of the functional antagonists, BCL-2/BCL-X and BAX, suggesting that changes in the BCL-2+BCL-X/BAX ratio are not responsible for the differential response of glioma patients to chemotherapy. The immunochemistry data were also analysed in regard to response to therapy and clinical outcome. All patients had cytoreductive surgery and received radiotherapy and nitrosourea-based adjuvant chemotherapy. There was no prominent association of outcome with the expression patterns of p53, RB, BCL-2, BCL-X or BAX. We find, however, that expression of the MCL-1 protein is associated with early tumour recurrence and shorter survival in this group of glioma patients. This preliminary observation will have to be confirmed in a larger independent sample of glioma patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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