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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
    Keywords: DIFFERENTIATION ; AMPLIFICATION ; FEATURES ; OF-THE-LITERATURE ; BRAIN-TUMORS ; CASE-BASED UPDATE
    Abstract: Three histological variants are known within the family of embryonal rosette-forming neuroepithelial brain tumors. These include embryonal tumor with abundant neuropil and true rosettes (ETANTR), ependymoblastoma (EBL), and medulloepithelioma (MEPL). In this study, we performed a comprehensive clinical, pathological, and molecular analysis of 97 cases of these rare brain neoplasms, including genome-wide DNA methylation and copy number profiling of 41 tumors. We identified uniform molecular signatures in all tumors irrespective of histological patterns, indicating that ETANTR, EBL, and MEPL comprise a single biological entity. As such, future WHO classification schemes should consider lumping these variants into a single diagnostic category, such as embryonal tumor with multilayered rosettes (ETMR). We recommend combined LIN28A immunohistochemistry and FISH analysis of the 19q13.42 locus for molecular diagnosis of this tumor category. Recognition of this distinct pediatric brain tumor entity based on the fact that the three histological variants are molecularly and clinically uniform will help to distinguish ETMR from other embryonal CNS tumors and to better understand the biology of these highly aggressive and therapy-resistant pediatric CNS malignancies, possibly leading to alternate treatment strategies.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24337497
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  • 3
    Keywords: APOPTOSIS ; CANCER ; GROWTH ; GENE-EXPRESSION ; STEM-CELLS ; CENTRAL-NERVOUS-SYSTEM ; neuroblastoma ; N-MYC ; BRAIN-TUMORS ; TUMOR-SUPPRESSOR
    Abstract: Previous studies have evaluated the role of miRNAs in cancer initiation and progression. MiR-34a was found to be downregulated in several tumors, including medulloblastomas. Here we employed targeted transgenesis to analyze the function of miR-34a in vivo. We generated mice with a constitutive deletion of the miR-34a gene. These mice were devoid of mir-34a expression in all analyzed tissues, but were viable and fertile. A comprehensive standardized phenotypic analysis including more than 300 single parameters revealed no apparent phenotype. Analysis of miR-34a expression in human medulloblastomas and medulloblastoma cell lines revealed significantly lower levels than in normal human cerebellum. Re-expression of miR-34a in human medulloblastoma cells reduced cell viability and proliferation, induced apoptosis and downregulated the miR-34a target genes, MYCN and SIRT1. Activation of the Shh pathway by targeting SmoA1 transgene overexpression causes medulloblastoma in mice, which is dependent on the presence and upregulation of Mycn. Analysis of miR-34a in medulloblastomas derived from ND2:SmoA1(tg) mice revealed significant suppression of miR-34a compared to normal cerebellum. Tumor incidence was significantly increased and tumor formation was significantly accelerated in mice transgenic for SmoA1 and lacking miR-34a. Interestingly, Mycn and Sirt1 were strongly expressed in medulloblastomas derived from these mice. We here demonstrate that miR-34a is dispensable for normal development, but that its loss accelerates medulloblastomagenesis. Strategies aiming to re-express miR-34a in tumors could, therefore, represent an efficient therapeutic option. (c) 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25348795
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  • 4
    Abstract: In contrast to the relative morphological uniformity of histone H3 K27-mutant high-grade gliomas, H3 G34-mutant tumors present as a histopathologically heterogeneous group of neoplasms, with microscopic characteristics typical of either glioblastoma (GBM) or central nervous system primitive neuroectodermal tumors (CNS-PNET). In the current study, we performed an integrative clinical, histopathological and molecular analysis of 81 G34-mutant CNS tumors. Routinely prepared tumor tissues were investigated for genomic and epigenomic alterations. Despite their divergent histopathological appearance, CNS tumors with H3.3 G34 mutations displayed uniform epigenetic signatures, suggesting a single biological origin. Comparative cytogenetic analysis with other GBM subtypes disclosed a high frequency and high specificity of 3q and 4q loss across G34-mutant tumors. PDGFRA amplification was more common in cases with GBM than with PNET morphology (36 vs. 5 %, respectively), while CCND2 amplifications showed the opposite trend (5 vs. 27 %). Survival analysis revealed the presence of amplified oncogene(s) and MGMT methylation as independent prognostic markers for poor and favorable outcomes, respectively. No difference in outcome was found between morphological variants (GBM vs. PNET). Thus, different histological variants of G34-mutant CNS tumors likely comprise a single biological entity (high-grade glioma with H3 G34 mutation, HGG_G34), which should be outlined in future diagnostic and therapeutic classifications. Screening for H3.3 G34 mutation should therefore be recommended as a routine diagnostic marker for supratentorial CNS tumors across a broad histological spectrum.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26482474
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  • 5
    Abstract: With the number of prognostic and predictive genetic markers in neuro-oncology steadily growing, the need for comprehensive molecular analysis of neuropathology samples has vastly increased. We therefore developed a customized enrichment/hybrid-capture-based next-generation sequencing (NGS) gene panel comprising the entire coding and selected intronic and promoter regions of 130 genes recurrently altered in brain tumors, allowing for the detection of single nucleotide variations, fusions, and copy number aberrations. Optimization of probe design, library generation and sequencing conditions on 150 samples resulted in a 5-workday routine workflow from the formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded sample to neuropathological report. This protocol was applied to 79 retrospective cases with established molecular aberrations for validation and 71 prospective cases for discovery of potential therapeutic targets. Concordance of NGS compared to established, single biomarker methods was 98.0 %, with discrepancies resulting from one case where a TERT promoter mutation was not called by NGS and three ATRX mutations not being detected by Sanger sequencing. Importantly, in samples with low tumor cell content, NGS was able to identify mutant alleles that were not detectable by traditional methods. Information derived from NGS data identified potential targets for experimental therapy in 37/47 (79 %) glioblastomas, 9/10 (90 %) pilocytic astrocytomas, and 5/14 (36 %) medulloblastomas in the prospective target discovery cohort. In conclusion, we present the settings for high-throughput, adaptive next-generation sequencing in routine neuropathology diagnostics. Such an approach will likely become highly valuable in the near future for treatment decision making, as more therapeutic targets emerge and genetic information enters the classification of brain tumors.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26671409
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  • 6
    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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  • 7
    Abstract: Atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor (ATRT) is one of the most common brain tumors in infants. Although the prognosis of ATRT patients is poor, some patients respond favorably to current treatments, suggesting molecular inter-tumor heterogeneity. To investigate this further, we genetically and epigenetically analyzed 192 ATRTs. Three distinct molecular subgroups of ATRTs, associated with differences in demographics, tumor location, and type of SMARCB1 alterations, were identified. Whole-genome DNA and RNA sequencing found no recurrent mutations in addition to SMARCB1 that would explain the differences between subgroups. Whole-genome bisulfite sequencing and H3K27Ac chromatin-immunoprecipitation sequencing of primary tumors, however, revealed clear differences, leading to the identification of subgroup-specific regulatory networks and potential therapeutic targets.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26923874
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  • 8
    Keywords: CELLS ; EXPRESSION ; tumor ; PATHWAY ; POPULATION ; DISTINCT ; TUMORS ; MICE ; MOUSE ; MARKERS ; SONIC HEDGEHOG ; PRECURSORS ; WNT ; ORIGIN ; FEATURES ; medulloblastoma ; SUBTYPES ; SUBGROUPS ; brainstem ; SHH ; Cochlear nuclei ; GRANULE NEURON PRECURSORS ; RHOMBIC LIP DERIVATIVES
    Abstract: Medulloblastoma is a malignant brain tumor of childhood that comprises at least four molecularly distinct subgroups. We have previously described that cerebellar granule neuron precursors may give rise to the subgroup with a molecular fingerprint of Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling. Other recent data indicate that precursor cells within the dorsal brain stem may serve as cellular origins for Wnt-associated medulloblastomas. To see whether Shh-associated medulloblastomas are also able to develop in the dorsal brainstem, we analyzed two lines of transgenic mice with constitutive Shh signaling in hGFAP- and Math1-positive brainstem precursor populations, respectively. Our results show that in both of these lines, medulloblastomas arise from granule neuron precursors of the cochlear nuclei, a derivative of the auditory lower rhombic lip. This region is distinct from derivatives of precerebellar lower rhombic lip where medulloblastomas arise in mice with constitutive-active Wnt signaling. With respect to their histology and the expression of appropriate markers, Shh tumors from the murine cochlear nuclei perfectly resemble human Shh-associated medulloblastomas. Moreover, we find that in a series of 63 human desmoplastic medulloblastomas, 21 (33%) have a very close contact to the cochlear nuclei on MR imaging. In conclusion, we demonstrate that precursors of the murine rhombic lip, which either develop into cerebellar or into cochlear granule neurons, may give rise to Shh-associated medulloblastoma, and this has important implications for the cellular origin of human medulloblastomas.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22349907
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  • 9
    Abstract: PURPOSE: Reports detailing the prognostic impact of TP53 mutations in medulloblastoma offer conflicting conclusions. We resolve this issue through the inclusion of molecular subgroup profiles. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We determined subgroup affiliation, TP53 mutation status, and clinical outcome in a discovery cohort of 397 medulloblastomas. We subsequently validated our results on an independent cohort of 156 medulloblastomas. RESULTS: TP53 mutations are enriched in wingless (WNT; 16%) and sonic hedgehog (SHH; 21%) medulloblastomas and are virtually absent in subgroups 3 and 4 tumors (P 〈 .001). Patients with SHH/TP53 mutant tumors are almost exclusively between ages 5 and 18 years, dramatically different from the general SHH distribution (P 〈 .001). Children with SHH/TP53 mutant tumors harbor 56% germline TP53 mutations, which are not observed in children with WNT/TP53 mutant tumors. Five-year overall survival (OS; +/- SE) was 41% +/- 9% and 81% +/- 5% for patients with SHH medulloblastomas with and without TP53 mutations, respectively (P 〈 .001). Furthermore, TP53 mutations accounted for 72% of deaths in children older than 5 years with SHH medulloblastomas. In contrast, 5-year OS rates were 90% +/- 9% and 97% +/- 3% for patients with WNT tumors with and without TP53 mutations (P = .21). Multivariate analysis revealed that TP53 status was the most important risk factor for SHH medulloblastoma. Survival rates in the validation cohort mimicked the discovery results, revealing that poor survival of TP53 mutations is restricted to patients with SHH medulloblastomas (P = .012) and not WNT tumors. CONCLUSION: Subgroup-specific analysis reconciles prior conflicting publications and confirms that TP53 mutations are enriched among SHH medulloblastomas, in which they portend poor outcome and account for a large proportion of treatment failures in these patients.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23835706
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  • 10
    Abstract: Dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor (DNET) is a benign brain tumor associated with intractable drug-resistant epilepsy. In order to identify underlying genetic alterations and molecular mechanisms, we examined three family members affected by multinodular DNETs as well as 100 sporadic tumors from 96 patients, which had been referred to us as DNETs. We performed whole-exome sequencing on 46 tumors and targeted sequencing for hotspot FGFR1 mutations and BRAF p.V600E was used on the remaining samples. FISH, copy number variation assays and Sanger sequencing were used to validate the findings. By whole-exome sequencing of the familial cases, we identified a novel germline FGFR1 mutation, p.R661P. Somatic activating FGFR1 mutations (p.N546K or p.K656E) were observed in the tumor samples and further evidence for functional relevance was obtained by in silico modeling. The FGFR1 p.K656E mutation was confirmed to be in cis with the germline p.R661P variant. In 43 sporadic cases, in which the diagnosis of DNET could be confirmed on central blinded neuropathology review, FGFR1 alterations were also frequent and mainly comprised intragenic tyrosine kinase FGFR1 duplication and multiple mutants in cis (25/43; 58.1 %) while BRAF p.V600E alterations were absent (0/43). In contrast, in 53 cases, in which the diagnosis of DNET was not confirmed, FGFR1 alterations were less common (10/53; 19 %; p 〈 0.0001) and hotspot BRAF p.V600E (12/53; 22.6 %) (p 〈 0.001) prevailed. We observed overexpression of phospho-ERK in FGFR1 p.R661P and p.N546K mutant expressing HEK293 cells as well as FGFR1 mutated tumor samples, supporting enhanced MAP kinase pathway activation under these conditions. In conclusion, constitutional and somatic FGFR1 alterations and MAP kinase pathway activation are key events in the pathogenesis of DNET. These findings point the way towards existing targeted therapies.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26920151
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