CHICAGO – For patients diagnosed with glioma, a deadly form of brain tumor, the future can be very uncertain. While gliomas are often fatal within two years of diagnosis, some patients can survive for 10 years or more.

Predicting the course of a patient’s disease at diagnosis is critical in selecting the right therapy and in helping patients and their families plan their lives. Researchers at Emory and Northwestern Universities recently developed artificial intelligence (AI) software that can predict the survival of patients diagnosed with glioma by examining data from tissue biopsies.

The approach, recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is more accurate than the predictions of doctors who undergo years of highly specialized training for the same purpose. Doctors currently use a combination of genomic tests and microscopic examination of tissues to predict how a patient’s disease will behave clinically or respond to therapy.

While genomic testing is reliable, the tests do not completely explain patient outcomes, and so microscopic examination is used to further refine prognosis. Microscopic examination, however, is subjective, with different pathologists often providing different interpretations of the same case.

These interpretations can impact critical decisions like whether a patient enrolls in an experimental clinical trial or receives radiation therapy as part of their treatment. “Genomics have significantly improved how we diagnose and treat gliomas, but microscopic examination remains subjective. Read more from news.northwestern.edu…

thumbnail courtesy of northwestern.edu