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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
    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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  • 4
    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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  • 5
    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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  • 6
    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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  • 7
    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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  • 8
    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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