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  • 1
    Abstract: Ependymoma is a malignant pediatric brain tumor, often incurable under the current treatment regimen. We aimed to evaluate the expression of microRNAs (miRs) in pediatric ependymoma tumors in an attempt to identify prognostic molecular markers which would lead to potential therapeutic targets. Following miR-array expression analysis, we focused on 9 miRs that correlated with relapse which were further validated by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) in a cohort of 67 patients. Western blotting and immunohistochemistry were used to measure target protein expression in 20 and 34 tumor samples, respectively. High expression of miR-124-3p significantly correlated with the lower progression-free survival (PFS) of 16% compared to 67% in those expressing low levels (P = .002). Interestingly, in the group of patients with local disease (n = 56) expression levels of this miR distinguished 2 subgroups with a significantly different outcome (P = .001). miR-124-3p was identified as an independent prognostic factor of relapse in the multivariate analysis performed in the whole cohort and in the group with localized disease. In the localized group, a patient expressing high levels of miR-124-3p had a 4.1-fold increased risk for relapse (P = .005). We demonstrated the direct binding of miR-124-3p to its target TP53INP1. Negative TP53INP1 protein levels correlated with a poor outcome (P = .034). We propose miR-124-3p and TP53INP1 as new biomarkers for prognostic stratification that may be possible therapeutic targets for ependymoma.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28437838
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    Keywords: CANCER ; GENOME ; PATHWAYS ; THERAPY ; GENE ; BREAST-CANCER ; prognosis ; MUTATION ; DATABASE ; MUTATIONS ; SOMATIC MUTATIONS ; tumours ; Type ; LANDSCAPES ; MYELOID-LEUKEMIA GENOME ; PROJECT ; CANCER-THERAPY ; MANAGEMENT ; SUBTYPES ; REPERTOIRE ; SCIENCE ; development
    Abstract: The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) was launched to coordinate large-scale cancer genome studies in tumours from 50 different cancer types and/or subtypes that are of clinical and societal importance across the globe. Systematic studies of more than 25,000 cancer genomes at the genomic, epigenomic and transcriptomic levels will reveal the repertoire of oncogenic mutations, uncover traces of the mutagenic influences, define clinically relevant subtypes for prognosis and therapeutic management, and enable the development of new cancer therapies
    Type of Publication: Miscellaneous publication
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  • 4
    Abstract: The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) was launched to coordinate large-scale cancer genome studies in tumours from 50 different cancer types and/or subtypes that are of clinical and societal importance across the globe. Systematic studies of more than 25,000 cancer genomes at the genomic, epigenomic and transcriptomic levels will reveal the repertoire of oncogenic mutations, uncover traces of the mutagenic influences, define clinically relevant subtypes for prognosis and therapeutic management, and enable the development of new cancer therapies.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 20393554
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  • 5
    Keywords: brain ; SONIC HEDGEHOG ; CENTRAL-NERVOUS-SYSTEM ; N-MYC ; BRAIN-TUMORS ; SUPPRESSOR GENE ; PRIMITIVE NEUROECTODERMAL TUMORS ; prospective ; CHILDHOOD MEDULLOBLASTOMA ; RISK STRATIFICATION ; EMBRYONAL TUMOR ; TRUE ROSETTES ETANTR
    Abstract: Medulloblastoma, the most common malignant paediatric brain tumour, is currently diagnosed and stratified using a combination of clinical and demographic variables. Recent transcriptomic approaches have demonstrated that the histological entity known as medulloblastoma is comprised of multiple clinically and molecularly distinct subgroups. The current consensus is that four defined subgroups of medulloblastoma exist: WNT, SHH, Group 3, and Group 4. Each subgroup probably contains at least one additional level of hierarchy, with some evidence for multiple subtypes within each subgroup. The demographic and clinical differences between the subgroups present immediate and pressing questions to be addressed in the next round of clinical trials for patients with medulloblastoma. Many of the genetically defined targets for rational medulloblastoma therapies are unique to a given subgroup, suggesting the need for subgroup-specific trials of novel therapies. The development of practical, robust and widely accepted subgroup biomarkers that are amenable to the conditions of a prospective clinical trial is, therefore, an urgent need for the paediatric neuro-oncology community. In this Review, we discuss the clinical implications of molecular subgrouping in medulloblastoma, highlighting how these subgroups are transitioning from a research topic in the laboratory to a clinically relevant topic with important implications for patient care.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22565209
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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: proliferation ; TUMORS ; METHYLATION ; CELL-GROWTH ; medulloblastoma ; GLIOBLASTOMA ; MULTIPLE GENES ; DISTINCT SUBGROUPS ; INTRACRANIAL EPENDYMOMA ; DRIVER MUTATIONS
    Abstract: Ependymoma is the third most common pediatric brain tumor, yet because of the paucity of effective therapeutic interventions, 45% of patients remain incurable. Recent transcriptional and copy number profiling of the disease has identified few driver genes and in fact points to a balanced genomic profile. Candidate gene approaches looking at hypermethylated promoters and genome-wide epigenetic arrays suggest that DNA methylation may be critical to ependymoma pathogenesis. This review attempts to highlight existing and emerging evidence implicating the ependymoma epigenome as a key player and that epigenetic modifiers may offer new targeted therapeutic avenues for patients.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23432646
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  • 8
    Keywords: CANCER ; DIAGNOSIS ; GENE-EXPRESSION ; MUTATIONS ; CENTRAL-NERVOUS-SYSTEM ; CHILDREN ; DIFFERENTIAL EXPRESSION ; NEUROENDOCRINE TUMORS ; EARLY-CHILDHOOD MEDULLOBLASTOMA ; POSTOPERATIVE CHEMOTHERAPY
    Abstract: INTRODUCTION: Neuroectodermal tumors in general demonstrate high and dense expression of the somatostatin receptor subtype 2 (sst2). It controls proliferation of both normal and neoplastic cells. sst2 has thus been suggested as a therapeutic target and prognostic marker for certain malignancies. METHODS: To assess global expression patterns of sst 2 mRNA, we evaluated normal (n = 353) and tumor tissues (n = 340) derived from previously published gene expression profiling studies. These analyses demonstrated specific upregulation of sst 2 mRNA in medulloblastoma (p 〈 0.001). sst2 protein was investigated by immunohistochemistry in two independent cohorts. RESULTS: Correlation of sst2 protein expression with clinicopathological variables revealed significantly higher levels in medulloblastoma (p 〈 0.05) compared with CNS-PNET, ependymoma, or pilocytic astrocytoma. The non-SHH medulloblastoma subgroup tumors showed particularly high expression of sst2, when compared to other tumors and normal tissues. Furthermore, we detected a significant survival benefit in children with tumors exhibiting high sst2 expression (p = 0.02) in this screening set. A similar trend was observed in a validation cohort including 240 independent medulloblastoma samples. CONCLUSION: sst2 is highly expressed in medulloblastoma and deserves further evaluation in the setting of prospective trials, given its potential utility as a prognostic marker and a therapeutic target.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23677175
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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: 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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