Document Type


Publication Date



DOI: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-23-0131; PMCID: PMC10618742


UNLABELLED: Patients with H3K27M-mutant diffuse midline glioma (DMG) have no proven effective therapies. ONC201 has recently demonstrated efficacy in these patients, but the mechanism behind this finding remains unknown. We assessed clinical outcomes, tumor sequencing, and tissue/cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) correlate samples from patients treated in two completed multisite clinical studies. Patients treated with ONC201 following initial radiation but prior to recurrence demonstrated a median overall survival of 21.7 months, whereas those treated after recurrence had a median overall survival of 9.3 months. Radiographic response was associated with increased expression of key tricarboxylic acid cycle-related genes in baseline tumor sequencing. ONC201 treatment increased 2-hydroxyglutarate levels in cultured H3K27M-DMG cells and patient CSF samples. This corresponded with increases in repressive H3K27me3 in vitro and in human tumors accompanied by epigenetic downregulation of cell cycle regulation and neuroglial differentiation genes. Overall, ONC201 demonstrates efficacy in H3K27M-DMG by disrupting integrated metabolic and epigenetic pathways and reversing pathognomonic H3K27me3 reduction.

SIGNIFICANCE: The clinical, radiographic, and molecular analyses included in this study demonstrate the efficacy of ONC201 in H3K27M-mutant DMG and support ONC201 as the first monotherapy to improve outcomes in H3K27M-mutant DMG beyond radiation. Mechanistically, ONC201 disrupts integrated metabolic and epigenetic pathways and reverses pathognomonic H3K27me3 reduction. This article is featured in Selected Articles from This Issue, p. 2293.

Journal Title

Cancer Discov





First Page


Last Page


MeSH Keywords

Humans; Glioma; Brain Neoplasms; Histones; Treatment Outcome; Epigenesis, Genetic; Mutation


Glioma; Brain Neoplasms; Histones; Treatment Outcome; Genetic Epigenesis; Mutation


Grants and funding

This article is available under the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND license and permits non-commercial use of the work as published, without adaptation or alteration provided the work is fully attributed.

Publisher's Link:

Included in

Oncology Commons