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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
    Keywords: EXPRESSION ; TUMORS ; ABERRATIONS ; METHYLATION ; EMBRYONIC STEM-CELLS ; MULTIFORME ; HIGH-GRADE GLIOMAS ; TELOMERES ; INTEGRATED GENOMIC ANALYSIS ; ATRX
    Abstract: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a lethal brain tumour in adults and children. However, DNA copy number and gene expression signatures indicate differences between adult and paediatric cases(1-4). To explore the genetic events underlying this distinction, we sequenced the exomes of 48 paediatric GBM samples. Somatic mutations in the H3.3-ATRX-DAXX chromatin remodelling pathway were identified in 44% of tumours (21/48). Recurrent mutations in H3F3A, which encodes the replication-independent histone 3 variant H3.3, were observed in 31% of tumours, and led to amino acid substitutions at two critical positions within the histone tail (K27M, G34R/G34V) involved in key regulatory post-translational modifications. Mutations in ATRX (alpha-thalassaemia/mental retardation syndrome X-linked)(5) and DAXX (death-domain associated protein), encoding two subunits of a chromatin remodelling complex required for H3.3 incorporation at pericentric heterochromatin and telomeres(6,7), were identified in 31% of samples overall, and in 100% of tumours harbouring a G34R or G34V H3.3 mutation. Somatic TP53 mutations were identified in 54% of all cases, and in 86% of samples with H3F3A and/or ATRX mutations. Screening of a large cohort of gliomas of various grades and histologies (n = 784) showed H3F3A mutations to be specific to GBM and highly prevalent in children and young adults. Furthermore, the presence of H3F3A/ATRX-DAXX/TP53 mutations was strongly associated with alternative lengthening of telomeres and specific gene expression profiles. This is, to our knowledge, the first report to highlight recurrent mutations in a regulatory histone in humans, and our data suggest that defects of the chromatin architecture underlie paediatric and young adult GBM pathogenesis
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22286061
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  • 3
    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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  • 4
    Keywords: EXPRESSION ; CELL ; HEPATOCELLULAR-CARCINOMA ; COMPLEX ; inactivation ; RENAL-CARCINOMA ; GLIOBLASTOMA ; IDH1 ; ONCOMETABOLITE 2-HYDROXYGLUTARATE ; FREQUENT ATRX
    Abstract: Recurrent mutations affecting the histone H3.3 residues Lys27 or indirectly Lys36 are frequent drivers of pediatric high-grade gliomas (over 30 % of HGGs). To identify additional driver mutations in HGGs, we investigated a cohort of 60 pediatric HGGs using whole-exome sequencing (WES) and compared them to 543 exomes from non-cancer control samples. We identified mutations in SETD2, a H3K36 trimethyltransferase, in 15 % of pediatric HGGs, a result that was genome-wide significant (FDR = 0.029). Most SETD2 alterations were truncating mutations. Sequencing the gene in this cohort and another validation cohort (123 gliomas from all ages and grades) showed SETD2 mutations to be specific to high-grade tumors affecting 15 % of pediatric HGGs (11/73) and 8 % of adult HGGs (5/65) while no SETD2 mutations were identified in low-grade diffuse gliomas (0/45). Furthermore, SETD2 mutations were mutually exclusive with H3F3A mutations in HGGs (P = 0.0492) while they partly overlapped with IDH1 mutations (4/14), and SETD2-mutant tumors were found exclusively in the cerebral hemispheres (P = 0.0055). SETD2 is the only H3K36 trimethyltransferase in humans, and SETD2-mutant tumors showed a substantial decrease in H3K36me3 levels (P 〈 0.001), indicating that the mutations are loss-of-function. These data suggest that loss-of-function SETD2 mutations occur in older children and young adults and are specific to HGG of the cerebral cortex, similar to the H3.3 G34R/V and IDH mutations. Taken together, our results suggest that mutations disrupting the histone code at H3K36, including H3.3 G34R/V, IDH1 and/or SETD2 mutations, are central to the genesis of hemispheric HGGs in older children and young adults.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23417712
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  • 5
    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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  • 6
    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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  • 7
    Keywords: GENES ; MOUSE ; SUBGROUPS ; GLIOBLASTOMA ; INTRINSIC PONTINE GLIOMAS ; HISTONE H3.3 ; FIBRODYSPLASIA OSSIFICANS PROGRESSIVA ; BMP RECEPTOR ; I RECEPTOR ; ALK2
    Abstract: Pediatric midline high-grade astrocytomas (mHGAs) are incurable with few treatment targets identified. Most tumors harbor mutations encoding p.Lys27Met in histone H3 variants. In 40 treatment-naive mHGAs, 39 analyzed by whole-exome sequencing, we find additional somatic mutations specific to tumor location. Gain-of-function mutations in ACVR1 occur in tumors of the pons in conjunction with histone H3.1 p.Lys27Met substitution, whereas FGFR1 mutations or fusions occur in thalamic tumors associated with histone H3.3 p.Lys27Met substitution. Hyperactivation of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-ACVR1 developmental pathway in mHGAs harboring ACVR1 mutations led to increased levels of phosphorylated SMAD1, SMAD5 and SMAD8 and upregulation of BMP downstream early-response genes in tumor cells. Global DNA methylation profiles were significantly associated with the p.Lys27Met alteration, regardless of the mutant histone H3 variant and irrespective of tumor location, supporting the role of this substitution in driving the epigenetic phenotype. This work considerably expands the number of potential treatment targets and further justifies pretreatment biopsy in pediatric mHGA as a means to orient therapeutic efforts in this disease.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24705250
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  • 8
    Keywords: CELLS ; GENE-EXPRESSION ; MOUSE-BRAIN ; CENTRAL-NERVOUS-SYSTEM ; TUMOR-SUPPRESSOR ; CHROMOSOMAL INSTABILITY ; MAPK PATHWAY ; CENTRIOLE DUPLICATION ; GRADE GLIOMAS ; ELEVATED MDM2 EXPRESSION
    Abstract: Pilocytic astrocytoma (PA) is the most common brain tumor in children but is rare in adults, and hence poorly studied in this age group. We investigated 222 PA and report increased aneuploidy in older patients. Aneuploid genomes were identified in 45% of adult compared with 17% of pediatric PA. Gains were non-random, favoring chromosomes 5, 7, 6 and 11 in order of frequency, and preferentially affecting non-cerebellar PA and tumors with BRAF V600E mutations and not with KIAA1549-BRAF fusions or FGFR1 mutations. Aneuploid PA differentially expressed genes involved in CNS development, the unfolded protein response, and regulators of genomic stability and the cell cycle (MDM2, PLK2),whose correlated programs were overexpressed specifically in aneuploid PA compared to other glial tumors. Thus, convergence of pathways affecting the cell cycle and genomic stability may favor aneuploidy in PA, possibly representing an additional molecular driver in older patients with this brain tumor.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26378811
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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
    Abstract: Background.: Pineoblastoma is a rare pineal region brain tumor. Treatment strategies have reflected those for other malignant embryonal brain tumors. Patients and Methods.: Original prospective treatment and outcome data from international trial groups were pooled. Cox regression models were developed considering treatment elements as time-dependent covariates. Results.: Data on 135 patients with pineoblastoma aged 0.01-20.7 (median 4.9) years were analyzed. Median observation time was 7.3 years. Favorable prognostic factors were age 〉/=4 years (hazard ratio [HR] for progression-free survival [PFS] 0.270, P 〈 .001) and administration of radiotherapy (HR for PFS 0.282, P 〈 .001). Metastatic disease (HR for PFS 2.015, P = .006), but not postoperative residual tumor, was associated with unfavorable prognosis. In 57 patients 〈4 years old, 5-year PFS/overall survival (OS) were 11 +/- 4%/12 +/- 4%. Two patients survived after chemotherapy only, while 3 of 16 treated with craniospinal irradiation (CSI) with boost, and 3 of 5 treated with high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) and local radiotherapy survived. In 78 patients aged 〉/=4 years, PFS/OS were 72 +/- 7%/73 +/- 7% for patients without metastases, and 50 +/- 10%/55 +/- 10% with metastases. Seventy-three patients received radiotherapy (48 conventionally fractionated CSI, median dose 35.0 [18.0-45.0] Gy, 19 hyperfractionated CSI, 6 local radiotherapy), with (n = 68) or without (n = 6) chemotherapy. The treatment sequence had no impact; application of HDCT had weak impact on survival in older patients. Conclusion.: Survival is poor in young children treated without radiotherapy. In these patients, combination of HDCT and local radiotherapy may warrant further evaluation in the absence of more specific or targeted treatments. CSI combined with chemotherapy is effective for older non-metastatic patients.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28011926
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