JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma: From Diagnosis to Next-Generation Clinical Trials

Nicholas A Vitanza, Michelle Monje
Current Treatment Options in Neurology 2019 July 10, 21 (8): 37
31290035

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) provides clinical background, a systematic approach to diagnosis and initial care, and synthesizes historical, modern, and future directions for treatment. We present evidence supporting neurosurgical biopsy, early palliative care involvement, limitation of glucocorticoid use, and the leveraging of preclinical DIPG models as a pipeline to next-generation clinical trials.

RECENT FINDINGS: New molecular understanding of pediatric high-grade gliomas has led to the reclassification of DIPG as one member of a family of diffuse gliomas occurring in the midline of the central nervous system that exhibit pathognomonic mutations in genes encoding histone 3 (H3 K27M). DIPG remains a clinically relevant term, though diagnostically the 80% of DIPG cases that exhibit the H3 K27M mutation have been reclassified as diffuse midline glioma, H3 K27M-mutant. Re-irradiation has been shown to be well-tolerated and of potential benefit. Epigenetic targeting of transcriptional dependencies in preclinical models is fueling molecularly targeted clinical trials. Chimeric antigen receptor T cell immunotherapy has also demonstrated efficacy in preclinical models and provides a promising new clinical strategy. DIPG is a universally fatal, epigenetically driven tumor of the pons that is considered part of a broader class of diffuse midline gliomas sharing H3 K27M mutations. Radiation remains the standard of care, single-agent temozolomide is not recommended, and glucocorticoids should be used only sparingly. A rapid evolution of understanding in the chromatin, signaling, and immunological biology of DIPG may soon result in clinical breakthroughs.

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