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  • 1
    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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  • 2
    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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  • 3
    Abstract: Medulloblastoma (MB) is a highly malignant pediatric brain tumor. Despite aggressive therapy, many patients succumb to the disease, and survivors experience severe side effects from treatment. MYC-driven MB has a particularly poor prognosis and would greatly benefit from more effective therapies. We used an animal model of MYC-driven MB to screen for drugs that decrease viability of tumor cells. Among the most effective compounds were histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs). HDACIs potently inhibit survival of MYC-driven MB cells in vitro, in part by inducing expression of the FOXO1 tumor suppressor gene. HDACIs also synergize with phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitors to inhibit tumor growth in vivo. These studies identify an effective combination therapy for the most aggressive form of MB.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26977882
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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: 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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  • 6
    Abstract: DDX3X encodes a DEAD-box family RNA helicase (DDX3) commonly mutated in medulloblastoma, a highly aggressive cerebellar tumor affecting both children and adults. Despite being implicated in several facets of RNA metabolism, the nature and scope of DDX3's interactions with RNA remain unclear. Here, we show DDX3 collaborates extensively with the translation initiation machinery through direct binding to 5'UTRs of nearly all coding RNAs, specific sites on the 18S rRNA, and multiple components of the translation initiation complex. Impairment of translation initiation is also evident in primary medulloblastomas harboring mutations in DDX3X, further highlighting DDX3's role in this process. Arsenite-induced stress shifts DDX3 binding from the 5'UTR into the coding region of mRNAs concomitant with a general reduction of translation, and both the shift of DDX3 on mRNA and decreased translation are blunted by expression of a catalytically-impaired, medulloblastoma-associated DDX3R534H variant. Furthermore, despite the global repression of translation induced by arsenite, translation is preserved on select genes involved in chromatin organization in DDX3R534H-expressing cells. Thus, DDX3 interacts extensively with RNA and ribosomal machinery to help remodel the translation landscape in response to stress, while cancer-related DDX3 variants adapt this response to selectively preserve translation.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27058758
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  • 7
    Abstract: Spatial heterogeneity of transcriptional and genetic markers between physically isolated biopsies of a single tumor poses major barriers to the identification of biomarkers and the development of targeted therapies that will be effective against the entire tumor. We analyzed the spatial heterogeneity of multiregional biopsies from 35 patients, using a combination of transcriptomic and genomic profiles. Medulloblastomas (MBs), but not high-grade gliomas (HGGs), demonstrated spatially homogeneous transcriptomes, which allowed for accurate subgrouping of tumors from a single biopsy. Conversely, somatic mutations that affect genes suitable for targeted therapeutics demonstrated high levels of spatial heterogeneity in MB, malignant glioma, and renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Actionable targets found in a single MB biopsy were seldom clonal across the entire tumor, which brings the efficacy of monotherapies against a single target into question. Clinical trials of targeted therapies for MB should first ensure the spatially ubiquitous nature of the target mutation.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28394352
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  • 8
    Abstract: Current therapies for medulloblastoma, a highly malignant childhood brain tumour, impose debilitating effects on the developing child, and highlight the need for molecularly targeted treatments with reduced toxicity. Previous studies have been unable to identify the full spectrum of driver genes and molecular processes that operate in medulloblastoma subgroups. Here we analyse the somatic landscape across 491 sequenced medulloblastoma samples and the molecular heterogeneity among 1,256 epigenetically analysed cases, and identify subgroup-specific driver alterations that include previously undiscovered actionable targets. Driver mutations were confidently assigned to most patients belonging to Group 3 and Group 4 medulloblastoma subgroups, greatly enhancing previous knowledge. New molecular subtypes were differentially enriched for specific driver events, including hotspot in-frame insertions that target KBTBD4 and 'enhancer hijacking' events that activate PRDM6. Thus, the application of integrative genomics to an extensive cohort of clinical samples derived from a single childhood cancer entity revealed a series of cancer genes and biologically relevant subtype diversity that represent attractive therapeutic targets for the treatment of patients with medulloblastoma.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28726821
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  • 9
    Abstract: Recurrent mutations in chromatin modifiers are specifically prevalent in adolescent or adult patients with Sonic hedgehog-associated medulloblastoma (SHH MB). Here, we report that mutations in the acetyltransferase CREBBP have opposing effects during the development of the cerebellum, the primary site of origin of SHH MB. Our data reveal that loss of Crebbp in cerebellar granule neuron progenitors (GNPs) during embryonic development of mice compromises GNP development, in part by downregulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf). Interestingly, concomitant cerebellar hypoplasia was also observed in patients with Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, a congenital disorder caused by germline mutations of CREBBP. By contrast, loss of Crebbp in GNPs during postnatal development synergizes with oncogenic activation of SHH signaling to drive MB growth, thereby explaining the enrichment of somatic CREBBP mutations in SHH MB of adult patients. Together, our data provide insights into time-sensitive consequences of CREBBP mutations and corresponding associations with human diseases.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 29551561
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  • 10
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Medulloblastoma is associated with rare hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes; however, consensus medulloblastoma predisposition genes have not been defined and screening guidelines for genetic counselling and testing for paediatric patients are not available. We aimed to assess and define these genes to provide evidence for future screening guidelines. METHODS: In this international, multicentre study, we analysed patients with medulloblastoma from retrospective cohorts (International Cancer Genome Consortium [ICGC] PedBrain, Medulloblastoma Advanced Genomics International Consortium [MAGIC], and the CEFALO series) and from prospective cohorts from four clinical studies (SJMB03, SJMB12, SJYC07, and I-HIT-MED). Whole-genome sequences and exome sequences from blood and tumour samples were analysed for rare damaging germline mutations in cancer predisposition genes. DNA methylation profiling was done to determine consensus molecular subgroups: WNT (MBWNT), SHH (MBSHH), group 3 (MBGroup3), and group 4 (MBGroup4). Medulloblastoma predisposition genes were predicted on the basis of rare variant burden tests against controls without a cancer diagnosis from the Exome Aggregation Consortium (ExAC). Previously defined somatic mutational signatures were used to further classify medulloblastoma genomes into two groups, a clock-like group (signatures 1 and 5) and a homologous recombination repair deficiency-like group (signatures 3 and 8), and chromothripsis was investigated using previously established criteria. Progression-free survival and overall survival were modelled for patients with a genetic predisposition to medulloblastoma. FINDINGS: We included a total of 1022 patients with medulloblastoma from the retrospective cohorts (n=673) and the four prospective studies (n=349), from whom blood samples (n=1022) and tumour samples (n=800) were analysed for germline mutations in 110 cancer predisposition genes. In our rare variant burden analysis, we compared these against 53 105 sequenced controls from ExAC and identified APC, BRCA2, PALB2, PTCH1, SUFU, and TP53 as consensus medulloblastoma predisposition genes according to our rare variant burden analysis and estimated that germline mutations accounted for 6% of medulloblastoma diagnoses in the retrospective cohort. The prevalence of genetic predispositions differed between molecular subgroups in the retrospective cohort and was highest for patients in the MBSHH subgroup (20% in the retrospective cohort). These estimates were replicated in the prospective clinical cohort (germline mutations accounted for 5% of medulloblastoma diagnoses, with the highest prevalence [14%] in the MBSHH subgroup). Patients with germline APC mutations developed MBWNT and accounted for most (five [71%] of seven) cases of MBWNT that had no somatic CTNNB1 exon 3 mutations. Patients with germline mutations in SUFU and PTCH1 mostly developed infant MBSHH. Germline TP53 mutations presented only in childhood patients in the MBSHH subgroup and explained more than half (eight [57%] of 14) of all chromothripsis events in this subgroup. Germline mutations in PALB2 and BRCA2 were observed across the MBSHH, MBGroup3, and MBGroup4 molecular subgroups and were associated with mutational signatures typical of homologous recombination repair deficiency. In patients with a genetic predisposition to medulloblastoma, 5-year progression-free survival was 52% (95% CI 40-69) and 5-year overall survival was 65% (95% CI 52-81); these survival estimates differed significantly across patients with germline mutations in different medulloblastoma predisposition genes. INTERPRETATION: Genetic counselling and testing should be used as a standard-of-care procedure in patients with MBWNT and MBSHH because these patients have the highest prevalence of damaging germline mutations in known cancer predisposition genes. We propose criteria for routine genetic screening for patients with medulloblastoma based on clinical and mole
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 29753700
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