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The Evolution of Brain Tumor Classification

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

For over a century, pathologists have classified and graded brain tumors, examining samples under a microscope and looking for telltale signs of tumor class and biological aggressiveness such as cell morphology, cell death, new blood vessels and cell proliferation. However, the advent of more affordable genetic sequencing and the discoveries from large studies such as The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) have upended this paradigm, allowing classification and grading based on more accurate — and less visible — genetic biomarkers.


Daniel Brat, MD, PhD, the Magerstadt Professor of Pathology, chair of Pathology, is a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and of the Northwestern Medicine Lou and Jean Malnati Brain Tumor Institute of the Lurie Cancer Center.


Brat has been heavily involved in the process of moving these biomarkers from the laboratory to clinical practice. Read a Q&A with Brat from Northwestern Medicine.


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