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  • 1
    Keywords: PROSTATE-CANCER ; ACUTE LYMPHOBLASTIC-LEUKEMIA ; SQUAMOUS-CELL CARCINOMA ; LUNG ADENOCARCINOMA ; ACUTE MYELOID-LEUKEMIA ; SOMATIC MUTATIONS ; GENETIC LANDSCAPE ; 21 BREAST CANCERS ; RECURRENT MUTATIONS ; FREQUENT MUTATION
    Abstract: All cancers are caused by somatic mutations; however, understanding of the biological processes generating these mutations is limited. The catalogue of somatic mutations from a cancer genome bears the signatures of the mutational processes that have been operative. Here we analysed 4,938,362 mutations from 7,042 cancers and extracted more than 20 distinct mutational signatures. Some are present in many cancer types, notably a signature attributed to the APOBEC family of cytidine deaminases, whereas others are confined to a single cancer class. Certain signatures are associated with age of the patient at cancer diagnosis, known mutagenic exposures or defects in DNA maintenance, but many are of cryptic origin. In addition to these genome-wide mutational signatures, hypermutation localized to small genomic regions, 'kataegis', is found in many cancer types. The results reveal the diversity of mutational processes underlying the development of cancer, with potential implications for understanding of cancer aetiology, prevention and therapy.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23945592
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  • 2
    Abstract: Childhood pilocytic astrocytomas (PA) are low grade tumours with an excellent prognosis. However, a minority, particularly those in surgically inaccessible locations, have poorer long term outcome. At present it is unclear whether anatomical location in isolation, or in combination with underlying biological variation, determines clinical behaviour. Here we have tested the utility of DNA methylation profiling to inform tumour biology and to predict behaviour in paediatric PA. Genome-wide DNA methylation profiles were generated for 117 paediatric PAs. Using a combination of analyses we identified DNA methylation variants specific to tumour location and predictive of behaviour. Receiver operating characteristic analysis was used to test the predictive utility of clinical and/or DNA methylation features to classify tumour behaviour at diagnosis. Unsupervised analysis distinguished three methylation clusters associated with tumour location (cortical, midline, and infratentorial). Differential methylation of 5,404 sites identified enrichment of genes involved in 'embryonic nervous system development'. Specific hypermethylation of NEUROG1 and NR2E1 was identified as a feature of cortical tumours. A highly accurate method to classify tumours according to behaviour, that combined three clinical features (age, location and extent of resection) and methylation level at a single site, was identified. Our findings show location-specific epigenetic profiles for PAs, potentially reflecting their cell type of origin. This may account for differences in clinical behaviour according to location independent of histopathology. We also defined an accurate method to predict tumour behaviour at diagnosis. This warrants further testing in similar patient cohorts.
    Type of Publication: Journal article epub ahead of print
    PubMed ID: 28388012
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  • 3
    Abstract: We investigated the challenging diagnostic case of a ventricular cystic glioneuronal tumor with papillary features, by RNA sequencing using the Illumina TruSight RNA Fusion panel. We did not retrieve the SLC44A1-PRKCA fusion gene specific for papillary glioneuronal tumor, but an EWSR1-PATZ1 fusion transcript. RT-PCR followed by Sanger sequencing confirmed the EWSR1-PATZ1 fusion. It matched with canonic EWSR1 fusion oncogene, juxtaposing the entire N terminal transcriptional activation domain of EWSR1 gene and the C terminal DNA binding domain of a transcription factor gene, PATZ1. PATZ1 protein belongs to the BTB-ZF (broad-complex, tramtrack and bric-a-brac -zinc finger) family. It directly regulates Pou5f1 and Nanog and is essential to maintaining stemness by inhibiting neural differentiation. EWSR1-PATZ1 fusion is a rare event in tumors: it was only reported in six round cell sarcomas and in three gliomas of three exclusively molecular studies. The first reported glioma was a BRAF(V600E) negative ganglioglioma, the second a BRAF(V600E) negative glioneuronal tumor, not otherwise specified, and the third, very recently reported, a high grade glioma, not otherwise specified. In our study, forty BRAF(V600E) negative gangliogliomas were screened by FISH using EWSR1 break-apart probes. We performed methylation profiling for the index case and for seven out of the ten FISH positive cases. The index case clustered apart from other pediatric low grade glioneuronal entities, and specifically from the well-defined ganglioglioma methylation group. An additional pediatric intraventricular ganglioglioma clustered slightly more closely with ganglioglioma, but showed differences from the main ganglioglioma group and similarities with the index case. Both cases harbored copy number variations at the PATZ1 locus. EWSR1-PATZ1 gene fusion might define a new type of glioneuronal tumors, distinct from gangliogliomas. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Type of Publication: Journal article epub ahead of print
    PubMed ID: 29679497
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  • 4
    Keywords: GENE ; TUMORS ; FREQUENCY ; FUSION ; TUMOR-SUPPRESSOR GENE ; LOW-GRADE ASTROCYTOMAS ; BRAF ; MAPK ; astrocytoma ; senescence ; NEUROFIBROMATOSIS TYPE-1 ; low grade glioma ; PROGENITOR-CELL ; TARGETED THERAPY ; neural progenitors ; BRAF FUSION GENE ; VONRECKLINGHAUSEN NEUROFIBROMATOSIS ; ERK SIGNALING PATHWAY ; LGG ; MALIGNANT ASTROCYTOMA ; OPTIC-GLIOMA FORMATION ; Pilocytic
    Abstract: Pilocytic astrocytoma (PA) is the most common tumor of the pediatric central nervous system (CNS). A body of research over recent years has demonstrated a key role for mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway signaling in the development and behavior of PAs. Several mechanisms lead to activation of this pathway in PA, mostly in a mutually exclusive manner, with constitutive BRAF kinase activation subsequent to gene fusion being the most frequent. The high specificity of this fusion to PA when compared with other CNS tumors has diagnostic utility. In addition, the frequency of alteration of this key pathway provides an opportunity for molecularly targeted therapy in this tumor. Here, we review the current knowledge on mechanisms of MAPK activation in PA and some of the downstream consequences of this activation, which are now starting to be elucidated both in vitro and in vivo, as well as clinical considerations and possible future directions.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22159586
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  • 5
    Keywords: SURVIVAL ; TP53 ; TARGETED THERAPY ; ATRX ; DIPG ; H3.3
    Abstract: Pediatric glioblastomas (GBM) including diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG) are devastating brain tumors with no effective therapy. Here, we investigated clinical and biological impacts of histone H3.3 mutations. Forty-two DIPGs were tested for H3.3 mutations. Wild-type versus mutated (K27M-H3.3) subgroups were compared for HIST1H3B, IDH, ATRX and TP53 mutations, copy number alterations and clinical outcome. K27M-H3.3 occurred in 71 %, TP53 mutations in 77 % and ATRX mutations in 9 % of DIPGs. ATRX mutations were more frequent in older children (p 〈 0.0001). No G34V/R-H3.3, IDH1/2 or H3.1 mutations were identified. K27M-H3.3 DIPGs showed specific copy number changes, including all gains/amplifications of PDGFRA and MYC/PVT1 loci. Notably, all long-term survivors were H3.3 wild type and this group of patients had better overall survival. K27M-H3.3 mutation defines clinically and biologically distinct subgroups and is prevalent in DIPG, which will impact future therapeutic trial design. K27M- and G34V-H3.3 have location-based incidence (brainstem/cortex) and potentially play distinct roles in pediatric GBM pathogenesis. K27M-H3.3 is universally associated with short survival in DIPG, while patients wild-type for H3.3 show improved survival. Based on prognostic and therapeutic implications, our findings argue for H3.3-mutation testing at diagnosis, which should be rapidly integrated into the clinical decision-making algorithm, particularly in atypical DIPG.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22661320
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  • 6
    Keywords: CANCER ; PATHWAY ; GENES ; ACTIVATION ; MUTATIONS ; SUBGROUPS ; LANDSCAPE ; TETRAPLOID TUMOR-CELLS ; TBR1
    Abstract: Medulloblastoma is an aggressively growing tumour, arising in the cerebellum or medulla/brain stem. It is the most common malignant brain tumour in children, and shows tremendous biological and clinical heterogeneity. Despite recent treatment advances, approximately 40% of children experience tumour recurrence, and 30% will die from their disease. Those who survive often have a significantly reduced quality of life. Four tumour subgroups with distinct clinical, biological and genetic profiles are currently identified. WNT tumours, showing activated wingless pathway signalling, carry a favourable prognosis under current treatment regimens. SHH tumours show hedgehog pathway activation, and have an intermediate prognosis. Group 3 and 4 tumours are molecularly less well characterized, and also present the greatest clinical challenges. The full repertoire of genetic events driving this distinction, however, remains unclear. Here we describe an integrative deep-sequencing analysis of 125 tumour-normal pairs, conducted as part of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) PedBrain Tumor Project. Tetraploidy was identified as a frequent early event in Group 3 and 4 tumours, and a positive correlation between patient age and mutation rate was observed. Several recurrent mutations were identified, both in known medulloblastoma-related genes (CTNNB1, PTCH1, MLL2, SMARCA4) and in genes not previously linked to this tumour (DDX3X, CTDNEP1, KDM6A, TBR1), often in subgroup-specific patterns. RNA sequencing confirmed these alterations, and revealed the expression of what are, to our knowledge, the first medulloblastoma fusion genes identified. Chromatin modifiers were frequently altered across all subgroups. These findings enhance our understanding of the genomic complexity and heterogeneity underlying medulloblastoma, and provide several potential targets for new therapeutics, especially for Group 3 and 4 patients.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22832583
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  • 7
    Keywords: CANCER ; transcription ; COMPLEX ; MUTATIONS ; STEM-CELLS ; MOUSE MODEL ; histone deacetylase inhibitor ; RETINOIC ACID ; DISTINCT SUBGROUPS ; DRIVEN MEDULLOBLASTOMA
    Abstract: The unexpectedly high frequency and universality of alterations to the chromatin machinery is one of the most striking themes emerging from the current deluge of cancer genomics data. Medulloblastoma (MB), a malignant pediatric brain tumor, is no exception to this trend, with a wealth of recent studies indicating multiple alterations at all levels of chromatin processing. MB is typically now regarded as being composed of four major molecular entities (WNT, SHH, Group 3 and Group 4), which vary in their clinical and biological characteristics. Similarities and differences across these subgroups are also reflected in the specific chromatin modifiers that are found to be altered in each group, and each new cancer genome sequence or microarray profile is adding to this important knowledge base. These data are fundamentally changing our understanding of tumor developmental pathways, not just for MB but also for cancer as a whole. They also provide a new class of targets for the development of rational, personalized therapeutic approaches. The mechanisms by which these chromatin remodelers are dysregulated in MB, and the consequences both for future basic research and for translation to the clinic, will be examined here.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23432644
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  • 8
    Keywords: CANCER ; EXPRESSION ; GENE ; DIFFERENTIATION ; VARIANTS ; DISCOVERY ; ALPHA ; ALIGNMENT ; ESTROGEN
    Abstract: Meningiomas are among the most frequent intracranial tumors. The secretory variant of meningioma is characterized by glandular differentiation, formation of intracellular lumina and pseudopsammoma bodies, expression of a distinct pattern of cytokeratins and clinically by pronounced perifocal brain edema. Here we describe whole-exome sequencing analysis of DNA from 16 secretory meningiomas and corresponding constitutional tissues. All secretory meningiomas invariably harbored a mutation in both KLF4 and TRAF7. Validation in an independent cohort of 14 secretory meningiomas by Sanger sequencing or derived cleaved amplified polymorphic sequence (dCAPS) assay detected the same pattern, with KLF4 mutations observed in a total of 30/30 and TRAF7 mutations in 29/30 of these tumors. All KLF4 mutations were identical, affected codon 409 and resulted in a lysine to glutamine exchange (K409Q). KLF4 mutations were not found in 89 non-secretory meningiomas, 267 other intracranial tumors including gliomas, glioneuronal tumors, pituitary adenomas and metastases, 59 peripheral nerve sheath tumors and 52 pancreatic tumors. TRAF7 mutations were restricted to the WD40 domains. While KLF4 mutations were exclusively seen in secretory meningiomas, TRAF7 mutations were also observed in 7/89 (8 %) of non-secretory meningiomas. KLF4 and TRAF7 mutations were mutually exclusive with NF2 mutations. In conclusion, our findings suggest an essential contribution of combined KLF4 K409Q and TRAF7 mutations in the genesis of secretory meningioma and demonstrate a role for TRAF7 alterations in other non-NF2 meningiomas.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23404370
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  • 9
    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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  • 10
    Keywords: EXPRESSION ; MELANOMA ; GLIOMAS ; HUMAN CANCER ; telomere length ; ASTROCYTIC TUMORS ; GIANT-CELL GLIOBLASTOMAS ; ATRX ; OCCUR
    Abstract: Hot spot mutations in the promoter region of telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) have recently been described in several human tumor entities. These mutations result in an upregulation of the telomerase complex activity and thus constitute a relevant mechanism for immortalization of tumor cells. Knowledge of the TERT promoter status in tumors is likely to be of interest for molecular classification and as a potential target for therapy. We, therefore, performed a systematic analysis of TERT promoter mutations in 1,515 tumors of the human nervous system and its coverings including 373 pediatric and 1,142 adult patients. We detected a total of 327 mutations. TERT promoter mutations were exceedingly rare in tumors typically encountered in pediatric patients. In entities typically encountered in adult patients TERT promoter mutations were strongly associated with older age (p 〈 0.0001). Highest mutation frequencies were detected in gliosarcomas (81 %), oligodendrogliomas (78 %), oligoastrocytomas (58 %), primary glioblastomas (54 %), and solitary fibrous tumors (50 %). Related to other molecular alterations, TERT promoter mutations were strongly associated with 1p/19q loss (p 〈 0.0001), but inversely associated with loss of ATRX expression (p 〈 0.0001) and IDH1/IDH2 mutations (p 〈 0.0001). TERT promoter mutations are typically found in adult patients and occur in a highly tumor type-associated distribution.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24154961
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