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  • 1
    Keywords: EXPRESSION ; SURVIVAL ; PATHWAY ; CLASSIFICATION ; DISEASE ; DISTINCT ; TUMORS ; IMPACT ; prognosis ; BIOMARKERS ; NERVOUS-SYSTEM ; C-MYC ; MYCN ; medulloblastoma ; CHILDHOOD MEDULLOBLASTOMA ; SUBGROUPS ; MYC ; STRATIFICATION ; Molecular subgroup
    Abstract: The MYC oncogenes are the most commonly amplified loci in medulloblastoma, and have previously been proposed as biomarkers of adverse disease prognosis by us and others. Here, we report focussed and comprehensive investigations of MYCC, MYCN and MYCL in an extensive medulloblastoma cohort (n = 292), aimed to define more precisely their biological significance and optimal clinical application to direct improved disease risk-stratification and individualisation of therapy. MYCC and MYCN expression elevations were multifactorial, associated with high-risk (gene amplification, large-cell/anaplastic pathology (LCA)) and favourable-risk (WNT/SHH molecular subgroups) disease features. Highly variable cellular gene amplification patterns underlay overall MYC copy number elevations observed in tumour biopsies; we used these alternative measures together to define quantitative methodologies and thresholds for amplification detection in routinely collected tumour material. MYCC and MYCN amplification, but not gain, each had independent prognostic significance in non-infants (〉/=3.0-16.0 years), but MYCC conferred a greater hazard to survival than MYCN when considered across this treatment group. MYCN's weaker group-wide survival relationship may be explained by its pleiotropic behaviour between clinical disease-risk groups; MYCN predicted poor prognosis in clinical high-risk (metastatic (M+) or LCA), but not standard-risk, patients. Extending these findings, survival decreased in proportion to the total number of independently significant high-risk features present (LCA, M+ or MYCC/MYCN amplification). This cumulative-risk model defines a patient group characterised by 〉/=2 independent risk-factors and an extremely poor prognosis (〈15% survival), which can be identified straightforwardly using the reported MYC amplification detection methodologies alongside clinical assessments, enabling targeting for novel/intensified therapies in future clinical studies.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22139329
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  • 2
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    Abstract: The development of targeted anti-cancer therapies through the study of cancer genomes is intended to increase survival rates and decrease treatment-related toxicity. We treated a transposon-driven, functional genomic mouse model of medulloblastoma with 'humanized' in vivo therapy (microneurosurgical tumour resection followed by multi-fractionated, image-guided radiotherapy). Genetic events in recurrent murine medulloblastoma exhibit a very poor overlap with those in matched murine diagnostic samples (〈5%). Whole-genome sequencing of 33 pairs of human diagnostic and post-therapy medulloblastomas demonstrated substantial genetic divergence of the dominant clone after therapy (〈12% diagnostic events were retained at recurrence). In both mice and humans, the dominant clone at recurrence arose through clonal selection of a pre-existing minor clone present at diagnosis. Targeted therapy is unlikely to be effective in the absence of the target, therefore our results offer a simple, proximal, and remediable explanation for the failure of prior clinical trials of targeted therapy.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26760213
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  • 4
    Keywords: HIGH-DOSE CHEMOTHERAPY ; ADJUVANT CHEMOTHERAPY ; CHILDHOOD MEDULLOBLASTOMA ; PEDIATRIC-ONCOLOGY-GROUP ; outcome prediction ; CHILDRENS CANCER GROUP ; BETA-CATENIN STATUS ; CRANIOSPINAL RADIATION-THERAPY ; STEM-CELL RESCUE ; RISK MEDULLOBLASTOMA
    Abstract: Medulloblastoma is curable in approximately 70 % of patients. Over the past decade, progress in improving survival using conventional therapies has stalled, resulting in reduced quality of life due to treatment-related side effects, which are a major concern in survivors. The vast amount of genomic and molecular data generated over the last 5-10 years encourages optimism that improved risk stratification and new molecular targets will improve outcomes. It is now clear that medulloblastoma is not a single-disease entity, but instead consists of at least four distinct molecular subgroups: WNT/Wingless, Sonic Hedgehog, Group 3, and Group 4. The Medulloblastoma Down Under 2013 meeting, which convened at Bunker Bay, Australia, brought together 50 leading clinicians and scientists. The 2-day agenda included focused sessions on pathology and molecular stratification, genomics and mouse models, high-throughput drug screening, and clinical trial design. The meeting established a global action plan to translate novel biologic insights and drug targeting into treatment regimens to improve outcomes. A consensus was reached in several key areas, with the most important being that a novel classification scheme for medulloblastoma based on the four molecular subgroups, as well as histopathologic features, should be presented for consideration in the upcoming fifth edition of the World Health Organization's classification of tumours of the central nervous system. Three other notable areas of agreement were as follows: (1) to establish a central repository of annotated mouse models that are readily accessible and freely available to the international research community; (2) to institute common eligibility criteria between the Children's Oncology Group and the International Society of Paediatric Oncology Europe and initiate joint or parallel clinical trials; (3) to share preliminary high-throughput screening data across discovery labs to hasten the development of novel therapeutics. Medulloblastoma Down Under 2013 was an effective forum for meaningful discussion, which resulted in enhancing international collaborative clinical and translational research of this rare disease. This template could be applied to other fields to devise global action plans addressing all aspects of a disease, from improved disease classification, treatment stratification, and drug targeting to superior treatment regimens to be assessed in cooperative international clinical trials.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24264598
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  • 5
    Abstract: PURPOSE: Reports detailing the prognostic impact of TP53 mutations in medulloblastoma offer conflicting conclusions. We resolve this issue through the inclusion of molecular subgroup profiles. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We determined subgroup affiliation, TP53 mutation status, and clinical outcome in a discovery cohort of 397 medulloblastomas. We subsequently validated our results on an independent cohort of 156 medulloblastomas. RESULTS: TP53 mutations are enriched in wingless (WNT; 16%) and sonic hedgehog (SHH; 21%) medulloblastomas and are virtually absent in subgroups 3 and 4 tumors (P 〈 .001). Patients with SHH/TP53 mutant tumors are almost exclusively between ages 5 and 18 years, dramatically different from the general SHH distribution (P 〈 .001). Children with SHH/TP53 mutant tumors harbor 56% germline TP53 mutations, which are not observed in children with WNT/TP53 mutant tumors. Five-year overall survival (OS; +/- SE) was 41% +/- 9% and 81% +/- 5% for patients with SHH medulloblastomas with and without TP53 mutations, respectively (P 〈 .001). Furthermore, TP53 mutations accounted for 72% of deaths in children older than 5 years with SHH medulloblastomas. In contrast, 5-year OS rates were 90% +/- 9% and 97% +/- 3% for patients with WNT tumors with and without TP53 mutations (P = .21). Multivariate analysis revealed that TP53 status was the most important risk factor for SHH medulloblastoma. Survival rates in the validation cohort mimicked the discovery results, revealing that poor survival of TP53 mutations is restricted to patients with SHH medulloblastomas (P = .012) and not WNT tumors. CONCLUSION: Subgroup-specific analysis reconciles prior conflicting publications and confirms that TP53 mutations are enriched among SHH medulloblastomas, in which they portend poor outcome and account for a large proportion of treatment failures in these patients.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23835706
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  • 6
    Abstract: Molecular subclassification is rapidly informing the clinical management of medulloblastoma. However, the disease remains associated with poor outcomes and therapy-associated late effects, and the majority of patients are not characterized by a validated prognostic biomarker. Here, we investigated the potential of epigenetic DNA methylation for disease subclassification, particularly in formalin-fixed biopsies, and to identify biomarkers for improved therapeutic individualization. Tumor DNA methylation profiles were assessed, alongside molecular and clinical disease features, in 230 patients primarily from the SIOP-UKCCSG PNET3 clinical trial. We demonstrate by cross-validation in frozen training and formalin-fixed test sets that medulloblastoma comprises four robust DNA methylation subgroups (termed WNT, SHH, G3 and G4), highly related to their transcriptomic counterparts, and which display distinct molecular, clinical and pathological disease characteristics. WNT patients displayed an expected favorable prognosis, while outcomes for SHH, G3 and G4 were equivalent in our cohort. MXI1 and IL8 methylation were identified as novel independent high-risk biomarkers in cross-validated survival models of non-WNT patients, and were validated using non-array methods. Incorporation of MXI1 and IL8 into current survival models significantly improved the assignment of disease risk; 46 % of patients could be classified as 'favorable risk' (〉90 % survival) compared to 13 % using current models, while the high-risk group was reduced from 30 to 16 %. DNA methylation profiling enables the robust subclassification of four disease subgroups in frozen and routinely collected/archival formalin-fixed biopsy material, and the incorporation of DNA methylation biomarkers can significantly improve disease-risk stratification. These findings have important implications for future risk-adapted clinical disease management.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23291781
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  • 7
    Keywords: POOR-PROGNOSIS ; BRAIN-TUMORS ; CHILDHOOD MEDULLOBLASTOMA ; RISK STRATIFICATION ; outcome prediction ; TP53 MUTATIONS ; PATHWAY ACTIVATION ; MOLECULAR SUBGROUPS ; NEUROTROPHIN RECEPTOR TRKC ; MYCN AMPLIFICATION
    Abstract: Purpose Medulloblastoma comprises four distinct molecular subgroups: WNT, SHH, Group 3, and Group 4. Current medulloblastoma protocols stratify patients based on clinical features: patient age, metastatic stage, extent of resection, and histologic variant. Stark prognostic and genetic differences among the four subgroups suggest that subgroup-specific molecular biomarkers could improve patient prognostication. Patients and Methods Molecular biomarkers were identified from a discovery set of 673 medulloblastomas from 43 cities around the world. Combined risk stratification models were designed based on clinical and cytogenetic biomarkers identified by multivariable Cox proportional hazards analyses. Identified biomarkers were tested using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) on a nonoverlapping medulloblastoma tissue microarray (n = 453), with subsequent validation of the risk stratification models. Results Subgroup information improves the predictive accuracy of a multivariable survival model compared with clinical biomarkers alone. Most previously published cytogenetic biomarkers are only prognostic within a single medulloblastoma subgroup. Profiling six FISH biomarkers (GLI2, MYC, chromosome 11 [chr11], chr14, 17p, and 17q) on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues, we can reliably and reproducibly identify very low-risk and very high-risk patients within SHH, Group 3, and Group 4 medulloblastomas. Conclusion Combining subgroup and cytogenetic biomarkers with established clinical biomarkers substantially improves patient prognostication, even in the context of heterogeneous clinical therapies. The prognostic significance of most molecular biomarkers is restricted to a specific subgroup. We have identified a small panel of cytogenetic biomarkers that reliably identifies very high-risk and very low-risk groups of patients, making it an excellent tool for selecting patients for therapy intensification and therapy de-escalation in future clinical trials.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
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  • 8
    Abstract: Historical risk stratification criteria for medulloblastoma rely primarily on clinicopathological variables pertaining to age, presence of metastases, extent of resection, histological subtypes and in some instances individual genetic aberrations such as MYC and MYCN amplification. In 2010, an international panel of experts established consensus defining four main subgroups of medulloblastoma (WNT, SHH, Group 3 and Group 4) delineated by transcriptional profiling. This has led to the current generation of biomarker-driven clinical trials assigning WNT tumors to a favorable prognosis group in addition to clinicopathological criteria including MYC and MYCN gene amplifications. However, outcome prediction of non-WNT subgroups is a challenge due to inconsistent survival reports. In 2015, a consensus conference was convened in Heidelberg with the objective to further refine the risk stratification in the context of subgroups and agree on a definition of risk groups of non-infant, childhood medulloblastoma (ages 3-17). Published and unpublished data over the past 5 years were reviewed, and a consensus was reached regarding the level of evidence for currently available biomarkers. The following risk groups were defined based on current survival rates: low risk (〉90 % survival), average (standard) risk (75-90 % survival), high risk (50-75 % survival) and very high risk (〈50 % survival) disease. The WNT subgroup and non-metastatic Group 4 tumors with whole chromosome 11 loss or whole chromosome 17 gain were recognized as low-risk tumors that may qualify for reduced therapy. High-risk strata were defined as patients with metastatic SHH or Group 4 tumors, or MYCN-amplified SHH medulloblastomas. Very high-risk patients are Group 3 with metastases or SHH with TP53 mutation. In addition, a number of consensus points were reached that should be standardized across future clinical trials. Although we anticipate new data will emerge from currently ongoing and recently completed clinical trials, this consensus can serve as an outline for prioritization of certain molecular subsets of tumors to define and validate risk groups as a basis for future clinical trials.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27040285
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  • 9
    Abstract: Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a rare and deadly childhood malignancy. After 40 years of mostly single-center, often non-randomized trials with variable patient inclusions, there has been no improvement in survival. It is therefore time for international collaboration in DIPG research, to provide new hope for children, parents and medical professionals fighting DIPG. In a first step towards collaboration, in 2011, a network of biologists and clinicians working in the field of DIPG was established within the European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOPE) Brain Tumour Group: the SIOPE DIPG Network. By bringing together biomedical professionals and parents as patient representatives, several collaborative DIPG-related projects have been realized. With help from experts in the fields of information technology, and legal advisors, an international, web-based comprehensive database was developed, The SIOPE DIPG Registry and Imaging Repository, to centrally collect data of DIPG patients. As for April 2016, clinical data as well as MR-scans of 694 patients have been entered into the SIOPE DIPG Registry/Imaging Repository. The median progression free survival is 6.0 months (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 5.6-6.4 months) and the median overall survival is 11.0 months (95% CI 10.5-11.5 months). At two and five years post-diagnosis, 10 and 2% of patients are alive, respectively. The establishment of the SIOPE DIPG Network and SIOPE DIPG Registry means a paradigm shift towards collaborative research into DIPG. This is seen as an essential first step towards understanding the disease, improving care and (ultimately) cure for children with DIPG.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28110411
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  • 10
    Keywords: PROTEIN ; CHILDHOOD ; HUMAN CANCERS ; MYC ; HEDGEHOG PATHWAY INHIBITOR ; ALPHA-SYNUCLEIN ; PARKINSONS-DISEASE ; COPY-NUMBER ALTERATION ; BETA FAMILY ; SYNPHILIN-1
    Abstract: Medulloblastoma, the most common malignant paediatric brain tumour, is currently treated with nonspecific cytotoxic therapies including surgery, whole-brain radiation, and aggressive chemotherapy. As medulloblastoma exhibits marked intertumoural heterogeneity, with at least four distinct molecular variants, previous attempts to identify targets for therapy have been underpowered because of small samples sizes. Here we report somatic copy number aberrations (SCNAs) in 1,087 unique medulloblastomas. SCNAs are common in medulloblastoma, and are predominantly subgroup-enriched. The most common region of focal copy number gain is a tandem duplication of SNCAIP, a gene associated with Parkinson's disease, which is exquisitely restricted to Group 4alpha. Recurrent translocations of PVT1, including PVT1-MYC and PVT1-NDRG1, that arise through chromothripsis are restricted to Group 3. Numerous targetable SCNAs, including recurrent events targeting TGF-beta signalling in Group 3, and NF-kappaB signalling in Group 4, suggest future avenues for rational, targeted therapy.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22832581
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