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  • 1
    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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  • 2
    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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  • 3
    Keywords: PROGRESSION ; EXPERIENCE ; papilloma ; ARTICLE
    Abstract: Purpose: To investigate molecular alterations in choroid plexus tumors (CPTs) using a genome-wide high-throughput approach, in order to identify diagnostic and prognostic signatures that will refine tumor stratification and guide therapeutic options. Experimental Design: One hundred CPTs were obtained from a multi-institutional database. Copy number (CN), DNA methylation and gene expression signatures were assessed for 74, 36 and 40 samples, respectively. Molecular subgroups were correlated with clinical parameters and outcomes. Results: Unique molecular signatures distinguished choroid plexus carcinomas (CPCs) from choroid plexus papillomas (CPPs) and atypical choroid plexus papillomas (aCPPs). No significantly distinct molecular alterations between CPPs and aCPPs were observed. Allele-specific CN analysis revealed two novel subgroups: hypodiploid and hyperdiploid CPCs. Hyperdiploid CPCs exhibited recurrent acquired uniparental disomy (aUPD) events. We observed 60% of CPCs harbored TP53 mutations, and we identified a high-risk group of CPC patients carrying 2 mutant copies. These patients exhibited worse 5-year event-free (EFS) and overall survival (OS) compared to patients with CPC carrying 1 mutant copy (OS: 14.3%, 95% CI 0.71%-46.5% versus 66.7%, 28.2%-87.8%, respectively, p=0.04; EFS: 0% versus 44.4%, 13.6%-71.9%, respectively, p=0.03). CPPs and aCPPs exhibited favorable survival. Discussion: Our data demonstrates that distinct molecular signatures distinguish CPCs from CPPs and aCPPs; however molecular similarities among the papillomas suggest these two histological subgroups are indeed a single entity. A greater number of copies of mutated TP53 was significantly associated to increased tumor aggressiveness and a worse survival outcome in CPCs. Collectively, these findings will facilitate stratified approaches to the clinical management of CPTs.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25336695
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  • 4
    Keywords: GROWTH ; TUMORS ; MUTATIONS ; CENTRAL-NERVOUS-SYSTEM ; PYRUVATE-KINASE
    Abstract: PURPOSE: Myxopapillary ependymoma (MPE) is a distinct histologic variant of ependymoma arising commonly in the spinal cord. Despite an overall favorable prognosis, distant metastases, subarachnoid dissemination, and late recurrences have been reported. Currently, the only effective treatment for MPE is gross-total resection. We characterized the genomic and transcriptional landscape of spinal ependymomas in an effort to delineate the genetic basis of this disease and identify new leads for therapy. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Gene expression profiling was performed on 35 spinal ependymomas, and copy number profiling was done on an overlapping cohort of 46 spinal ependymomas. Functional validation experiments were performed on tumor lysates consisting of assays measuring pyruvate kinase M activity (PKM), hexokinase activity (HK), and lactate production. RESULTS: At a gene expression level, we demonstrate that spinal grade II and MPE are molecularly and biologically distinct. These are supported by specific copy number alterations occurring in each histologic variant. Pathway analysis revealed that MPE are characterized by increased cellular metabolism, associated with upregulation of HIF1alpha. These findings were validated by Western blot analysis demonstrating increased protein expression of HIF1alpha, HK2, PDK1, and phosphorylation of PDHE1A. Functional assays were performed on MPE lysates, which demonstrated decreased PKM activity, increased HK activity, and elevated lactate production. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that MPE may be driven by a Warburg metabolic phenotype. The key enzymes promoting the Warburg phenotype: HK2, PKM2, and PDK are targetable by small-molecule inhibitors/activators, and should be considered for evaluation in future clinical trials for MPE. Clin Cancer Res; 21(16); 3750-8. (c)2015 AACR.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25957288
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  • 5
    Abstract: TP53 mutations confer subgroup specific poor survival for children with medulloblastoma. We hypothesized that WNT activation which is associated with improved survival for such children abrogates TP53 related radioresistance and can be used to sensitize TP53 mutant tumors for radiation. We examined the subgroup-specific role of TP53 mutations in a cohort of 314 patients treated with radiation. TP53 wild-type or mutant human medulloblastoma cell-lines and normal neural stem cells were used to test radioresistance of TP53 mutations and the radiosensitizing effect of WNT activation on tumors and the developing brain. Children with WNT/TP53 mutant medulloblastoma had higher 5-year survival than those with SHH/TP53 mutant tumours (100% and 36.6%+/-8.7%, respectively (p〈0.001)). Introduction of TP53 mutation into medulloblastoma cells induced radioresistance (survival fractions at 2Gy (SF2) of 89%+/-2% vs. 57.4%+/-1.8% (p〈0.01)). In contrast, beta-catenin mutation sensitized TP53 mutant cells to radiation (p〈0.05). Lithium, an activator of the WNT pathway, sensitized TP53 mutant medulloblastoma to radiation (SF2 of 43.5%+/-1.5% in lithium treated cells vs. 56.6+/-3% (p〈0.01)) accompanied by increased number of gammaH2AX foci. Normal neural stem cells were protected from lithium induced radiation damage (SF2 of 33%+/-8% for lithium treated cells vs. 27%+/-3% for untreated controls (p=0.05). Poor survival of patients with TP53 mutant medulloblastoma may be related to radiation resistance. Since constitutive activation of the WNT pathway by lithium sensitizes TP53 mutant medulloblastoma cells and protect normal neural stem cells from radiation, this oral drug may represent an attractive novel therapy for high-risk medulloblastomas.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25539912
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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
    Keywords: EXPRESSION ; tumor ; DISTINCT ; GENE-EXPRESSION ; TUMORS ; FEATURES ; clinical trials ; medulloblastoma ; MOLECULAR CLASSIFICATION ; SUBGROUPS ; MYC ; Molecular subgroup ; NanoString
    Abstract: The diagnosis of medulloblastoma likely encompasses several distinct entities, with recent evidence for the existence of at least four unique molecular subgroups that exhibit distinct genetic, transcriptional, demographic, and clinical features. Assignment of molecular subgroup through routine profiling of high-quality RNA on expression microarrays is likely impractical in the clinical setting. The planning and execution of medulloblastoma clinical trials that stratify by subgroup, or which are targeted to a specific subgroup requires technologies that can be economically, rapidly, reliably, and reproducibly applied to formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) specimens. In the current study, we have developed an assay that accurately measures the expression level of 22 medulloblastoma subgroup-specific signature genes (CodeSet) using nanoString nCounter Technology. Comparison of the nanoString assay with Affymetrix expression array data on a training series of 101 medulloblastomas of known subgroup demonstrated a high concordance (Pearson correlation r = 0.86). The assay was validated on a second set of 130 non-overlapping medulloblastomas of known subgroup, correctly assigning 98% (127/130) of tumors to the appropriate subgroup. Reproducibility was demonstrated by repeating the assay in three independent laboratories in Canada, the United States, and Switzerland. Finally, the nanoString assay could confidently predict subgroup in 88% of recent FFPE cases, of which 100% had accurate subgroup assignment. We present an assay based on nanoString technology that is capable of rapidly, reliably, and reproducibly assigning clinical FFPE medulloblastoma samples to their molecular subgroup, and which is highly suited for future medulloblastoma clinical trials.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22057785
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  • 8
    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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  • 9
    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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  • 10
    Keywords: COLORECTAL-CANCER ; ACUTE LYMPHOBLASTIC-LEUKEMIA ; STEM-CELLS ; medulloblastoma ; GLIOBLASTOMA ; GENE-EXPRESSION SIGNATURE ; DISTINCT SUBGROUPS ; ISLAND METHYLATOR PHENOTYPE ; DRIVER MUTATIONS ; GENOMIC COMPLEXITY
    Abstract: Ependymomas are common childhood brain tumours that occur throughout the nervous system, but are most common in the paediatric hindbrain. Current standard therapy comprises surgery and radiation, but not cytotoxic chemotherapy as it does not further increase survival. Whole-genome and whole-exome sequencing of 47 hindbrain ependymomas reveals an extremely low mutation rate, and zero significant recurrent somatic single nucleotide variants. Although devoid of recurrent single nucleotide variants and focal copy number aberrations, poor-prognosis hindbrain ependymomas exhibit a CpG island methylator phenotype. Transcriptional silencing driven by CpG methylation converges exclusively on targets of the Polycomb repressive complex 2 which represses expression of differentiation genes through trimethylation of H3K27. CpG island methylator phenotype-positive hindbrain ependymomas are responsive to clinical drugs that target either DNA or H3K27 methylation both in vitro and in vivo. We conclude that epigenetic modifiers are the first rational therapeutic candidates for this deadly malignancy, which is epigenetically deregulated but genetically bland.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24553142
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