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  • 1
    Keywords: CANCER ; DISTINCT ; prognosis ; PROGRESSION ; chemotherapy ; ABERRATIONS ; MUTATIONS ; CHILDREN ; ADOLESCENTS ; INTRATUMOR HETEROGENEITY
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Recurrent medulloblastoma is a therapeutic challenge because it is almost always fatal. Studies have confirmed that medulloblastoma consists of at least four distinct subgroups. We sought to delineate subgroup-specific differences in medulloblastoma recurrence patterns. METHODS: We retrospectively identified a discovery cohort of all recurrent medulloblastomas at the Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto, ON, Canada) from 1994 to 2012 (cohort 1), and established molecular subgroups using a nanoString-based assay on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues or frozen tissue. The anatomical site of recurrence (local tumour bed or leptomeningeal metastasis), time to recurrence, and survival after recurrence were assessed in a subgroup-specific manner. Two independent, non-overlapping cohorts (cohort 2: samples from patients with recurrent medulloblastomas from 13 centres worldwide, obtained between 1991 and 2012; cohort 3: samples from patients with recurrent medulloblastoma obtained at the NN Burdenko Neurosurgical Institute [Moscow, Russia] between 1994 and 2011) were analysed to confirm and validate observations. When possible, molecular subgrouping was done on tissue obtained from both the initial surgery and at recurrence. RESULTS: Cohort 1 consisted of 30 patients with recurrent medulloblastomas; nine with local recurrences, and 21 with metastatic recurrences. Cohort 2 consisted of 77 patients and cohort 3 of 96 patients with recurrent medulloblastoma. Subgroup affiliation remained stable at recurrence in all 34 cases with available matched primary and recurrent pairs (five pairs from cohort 1 and 29 pairs from cohort 2 [15 SHH, five group 3, 14 group 4]). This finding was validated in 17 pairs from cohort 3. When analysed in a subgroup-specific manner, local recurrences in cohort 1 were more frequent in SHH tumours (eight of nine [89%]) and metastatic recurrences were more common in group 3 and group 4 tumours (17 of 20 [85%] with one WNT, p=0.0014, local vs metastatic recurrence, SHH vs group 3 vs group 4). The subgroup-specific location of recurrence was confirmed in cohort 2 (p=0.0013 for local vs metastatic recurrence, SHH vs group 3 vs group 4,), and cohort 3 (p〈0.0001). Treatment with craniospinal irradiation at diagnosis was not significantly associated with the anatomical pattern of recurrence. Survival after recurrence was significantly longer in patients with group 4 tumours in cohort 1 (p=0.013) than with other subgroups, which was confirmed in cohort 2 (p=0.0075), but not cohort 3 (p=0.70). INTERPRETATION: Medulloblastoma does not change subgroup at the time of recurrence, reinforcing the stability of the four main medulloblastoma subgroups. Significant differences in the location and timing of recurrence across medulloblastoma subgroups have potential treatment ramifications. Specifically, intensified local (posterior fossa) therapy should be tested in the initial treatment of patients with SHH tumours. Refinement of therapy for patients with group 3 or group 4 tumours should focus on metastases. FUNDING: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, National Institutes of Health, Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, Garron Family Chair in Childhood Cancer Research at The Hospital for Sick Children and The University of Toronto.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24140199
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  • 2
    Keywords: CANCER ; CELLS ; DISTINCT ; CENTRAL-NERVOUS-SYSTEM ; METHYLATION ; ADULT ; BRAIN-TUMORS ; TELOMERASE ACTIVITY ; RISK STRATIFICATION ; SELF-RENEWAL
    Abstract: Telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) promoter mutations were recently shown to drive telomerase activity in various cancer types, including medulloblastoma. However, the clinical and biological implications of TERT mutations in medulloblastoma have not been described. Hence, we sought to describe these mutations and their impact in a subgroup-specific manner. We analyzed the TERT promoter by direct sequencing and genotyping in 466 medulloblastomas. The mutational distributions were determined according to subgroup affiliation, demographics, and clinical, prognostic, and molecular features. Integrated genomics approaches were used to identify specific somatic copy number alterations in TERT promoter-mutated and wild-type tumors. Overall, TERT promoter mutations were identified in 21 % of medulloblastomas. Strikingly, the highest frequencies of TERT mutations were observed in SHH (83 %; 55/66) and WNT (31 %; 4/13) medulloblastomas derived from adult patients. Group 3 and Group 4 harbored this alteration in 〈5 % of cases and showed no association with increased patient age. The prognostic implications of these mutations were highly subgroup-specific. TERT mutations identified a subset with good and poor prognosis in SHH and Group 4 tumors, respectively. Monosomy 6 was mostly restricted to WNT tumors without TERT mutations. Hallmark SHH focal copy number aberrations and chromosome 10q deletion were mutually exclusive with TERT mutations within SHH tumors. TERT promoter mutations are the most common recurrent somatic point mutation in medulloblastoma, and are very highly enriched in adult SHH and WNT tumors. TERT mutations define a subset of SHH medulloblastoma with distinct demographics, cytogenetics, and outcomes.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24174164
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  • 3
    Keywords: RECEPTOR ; CANCER ; EXPRESSION ; INHIBITION ; PATHWAY ; MIGRATION ; HEPATOCYTE GROWTH-FACTOR ; C-MET ; PEDIATRIC MEDULLOBLASTOMA ; GENETIC PROFILES
    Abstract: Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor, with metastases present at diagnosis conferring a poor prognosis. Mechanisms of dissemination are poorly understood and metastatic lesions are genetically divergent from the matched primary tumor. Effective and less toxic therapies that target both compartments have yet to be identified. Here we report that the analysis of several large non-overlapping cohorts of medulloblastoma patients reveal MET kinase as a marker of sonic hedgehog (SHH) driven medulloblastoma. Immunohistochemical analysis of phosphorylated, active MET kinase in an independent patient cohort confirmed its correlation with increased tumor relapse and poor survival, suggesting that SHH medulloblastoma patients may benefit from MET-targeted therapy. In support of this hypothesis, we found that the approved MET inhibitor foretinib could suppress MET activation, decrease tumor cell proliferation and induce apoptosis in SHH medulloblastomas in vitro and in vivo. Foretinib penetrated the blood-brain barrier and was effective in both the primary and metastatic tumor compartments. In established mouse xenograft or transgenic models of metastatic SHH medulloblastoma, foretinib administration reduced the growth of the primary tumor, decreased the incidence of metastases and increased host survival. Taken together, our results provide a strong rationale to clinically evaluate foretinib as an effective therapy for patients with SHH-driven medulloblastoma.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25391241
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  • 4
    Keywords: CANCER ; CELLS ; DISEASE ; DISTINCT ; GENE-EXPRESSION ; MESSENGER-RNA ; alternative splicing ; WNT ; BRAIN-TUMORS ; medulloblastoma ; molecular diagnostics ; SUBGROUPS ; pediatric cancer ; BIOLOGICAL NETWORKS ; SHH ; Molecular subgroup ; Group 3 ; Group 4 ; BETA-2-CHIMAERIN ; Neuronal development
    Abstract: Medulloblastoma comprises four distinct molecular variants: WNT, SHH, Group 3, and Group 4. We analyzed alternative splicing usage in 14 normal cerebellar samples and 103 medulloblastomas of known subgroup. Medulloblastoma samples have a statistically significant increase in alternative splicing as compared to normal fetal cerebella (2.3-times; P 〈 6.47E-8). Splicing patterns are distinct and specific between molecular subgroups. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering of alternative splicing events accurately assigns medulloblastomas to their correct subgroup. Subgroup-specific splicing and alternative promoter usage was most prevalent in Group 3 (19.4%) and SHH (16.2%) medulloblastomas, while observed less frequently in WNT (3.2%), and Group 4 (9.3%) tumors. Functional annotation of alternatively spliced genes reveals overrepresentation of genes important for neuronal development. Alternative splicing events in medulloblastoma may be regulated in part by the correlative expression of antisense transcripts, suggesting a possible mechanism affecting subgroup-specific alternative splicing. Our results identify additional candidate markers for medulloblastoma subgroup affiliation, further support the existence of distinct subgroups of the disease, and demonstrate an additional level of transcriptional heterogeneity between medulloblastoma subgroups.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22358458
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  • 5
    Keywords: CENTRAL-NERVOUS-SYSTEM ; C-MYC ; FAVORABLE PROGNOSIS ; MULTICENTER TRIAL ; CHILDHOOD MEDULLOBLASTOMA ; HEDGEHOG PATHWAY INHIBITOR ; BETA-CATENIN STATUS ; PEDIATRIC MEDULLOBLASTOMAS ; CLINICAL RISK-FACTORS ; EXTENSIVE NODULARITY
    Abstract: Recent efforts at stratifying medulloblastomas based on their molecular features have revolutionized our understanding of this morbidity. Collective efforts by multiple independent groups have subdivided medulloblastoma from a single disease into four distinct molecular subgroups characterized by disparate transcriptional signatures, mutational spectra, copy number profiles and, most importantly, clinical features. We present a summary of recent studies that have contributed to our understanding of the core medulloblastoma subgroups, focusing largely on clinically relevant discoveries that have already, and will continue to, shape research.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22853794
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  • 6
    Keywords: TUMOR-SUPPRESSOR GENE ; CENTRAL-NERVOUS-SYSTEM ; ACQUIRED-RESISTANCE ; HIGH-DOSE CHEMOTHERAPY ; BRAIN-TUMORS ; PEDIATRIC MEDULLOBLASTOMA ; HEDGEHOG PATHWAY INHIBITOR ; DRIVEN MEDULLOBLASTOMA ; NEWLY-DIAGNOSED MEDULLOBLASTOMA ; MOLECULARLY DISTINCT
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23839353
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  • 7
    Abstract: While medulloblastoma, a pediatric tumor of the cerebellum, is characterized by aberrations in developmental pathways, the majority of genetic determinants remain unknown. An unbiased Sleeping Beauty transposon screen revealed MyoD as a putative medulloblastoma tumor suppressor. This was unexpected, as MyoD is a muscle differentiation factor and not previously known to be expressed in cerebellum or medulloblastoma. In response to deletion of one allele of MyoD, two other Sonic hedgehog-driven mouse medulloblastoma models showed accelerated tumor formation and death, confirming MyoD as a tumor suppressor in these models. In normal cerebellum, MyoD was expressed in the proliferating granule neuron progenitors that are thought to be precursors to medulloblastoma. Similar to some other tumor suppressors that are induced in cancer, MyoD was expressed in proliferating medulloblastoma cells in three mouse models and in human medulloblastoma cases. This suggests that although expression of MyoD in a proliferating tumor is insufficient to prevent tumor progression, its expression in the cerebellum hinders medulloblastoma genesis. Cancer Res; 73(22); 6828-37. (c)2013 AACR.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24092238
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  • 8
    Keywords: MODEL ; chemotherapy ; CHILDREN ; SUBTYPES ; GLIOBLASTOMA ; INTRATUMORAL HETEROGENEITY ; RISK MEDULLOBLASTOMA
    Abstract: Medulloblastoma comprises four distinct molecular variants with distinct genetics, transcriptomes, and outcomes. Subgroup affiliation has been previously shown to remain stable at the time of recurrence, which likely reflects their distinct cells of origin. However, a therapeutically relevant question that remains unanswered is subgroup stability in the metastatic compartment. We assembled a cohort of 12-paired primary-metastatic tumors collected in the MAGIC consortium, and established their molecular subgroup affiliation by performing integrative gene expression and DNA methylation analysis. Frozen tissues were collected and profiled using Affymetrix gene expression arrays and Illumina methylation arrays. Class prediction and hierarchical clustering were performed using existing published datasets. Our molecular analysis, using consensus integrative genomic data, establishes the unequivocal maintenance of molecular subgroup affiliation in metastatic medulloblastoma. We further validated these findings by interrogating a non-overlapping cohort of 19 pairs of primary-metastatic tumors from the Burdenko Neurosurgical Institute using an orthogonal technique of immunohistochemical staining. This investigation represents the largest reported primary-metastatic paired cohort profiled to date and provides a unique opportunity to evaluate subgroup-specific molecular aberrations within the metastatic compartment. Our findings further support the hypothesis that medulloblastoma subgroups arise from distinct cells of origin, which are carried forward from ontogeny to oncology.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25689980
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  • 9
    Abstract: Resistance to the Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor ibrutinib has been attributed solely to mutations in BTK and related pathway molecules. Using whole-exome and deep-targeted sequencing, we dissect evolution of ibrutinib resistance in serial samples from five chronic lymphocytic leukaemia patients. In two patients, we detect BTK-C481S mutation or multiple PLCG2 mutations. The other three patients exhibit an expansion of clones harbouring del(8p) with additional driver mutations (EP300, MLL2 and EIF2A), with one patient developing trans-differentiation into CD19-negative histiocytic sarcoma. Using droplet-microfluidic technology and growth kinetic analyses, we demonstrate the presence of ibrutinib-resistant subclones and estimate subclone size before treatment initiation. Haploinsufficiency of TRAIL-R, a consequence of del(8p), results in TRAIL insensitivity, which may contribute to ibrutinib resistance. These findings demonstrate that the ibrutinib therapy favours selection and expansion of rare subclones already present before ibrutinib treatment, and provide insight into the heterogeneity of genetic changes associated with ibrutinib resistance.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27199251
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  • 10
    Keywords: CANCER ; GENES ; PROTEINS ; SOMATIC MUTATIONS
    Abstract: Recent sequencing efforts have described the mutational landscape of the pediatric brain tumor medulloblastoma. Although MLL2 is among the most frequent somatic single nucleotide variants (SNV), the clinical and biological significance of these mutations remains uncharacterized. Through targeted re-sequencing, we identified mutations of MLL2 in 8 % (14/175) of MBs, the majority of which were loss of function. Notably, we also report mutations affecting the MLL2-binding partner KDM6A, in 4 % (7/175) of tumors. While MLL2 mutations were independent of age, gender, histological subtype, M-stage or molecular subgroup, KDM6A mutations were most commonly identified in Group 4 MBs, and were mutually exclusive with MLL2 mutations. Immunohistochemical staining for H3K4me3 and H3K27me3, the chromatin effectors of MLL2 and KDM6A activity, respectively, demonstrated alterations of the histone code in 24 % (53/220) of MBs across all subgroups. Correlating these MLL2- and KDM6A-driven histone marks with prognosis, we identified populations of MB with improved (K4+/K27-) and dismal (K4-/K27-) outcomes, observed primarily within Group 3 and 4 MBs. Group 3 and 4 MBs demonstrate somatic copy number aberrations, and transcriptional profiles that converge on modifiers of H3K27-methylation (EZH2, KDM6A, KDM6B), leading to silencing of PRC2-target genes. As PRC2-mediated aberrant methylation of H3K27 has recently been targeted for therapy in other diseases, it represents an actionable target for a substantial percentage of medulloblastoma patients with aggressive forms of the disease.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23184418
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