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  • 1
    Keywords: CANCER ; GENE ; TUMORS ; COMPARATIVE GENOMIC HYBRIDIZATION ; DUPLICATION ; LOW-GRADE ASTROCYTOMAS ; B-RAF ; BRAF ; medulloblastoma ; PEDIATRIC GLIOMAS
    Abstract: Activation of the MAPK signaling pathway has been shown to be a unifying molecular feature in pilocytic astrocytoma (PA). Genetically, tandem duplications at chromosome 7q34 resulting in KIAA1549-BRAF fusion genes constitute the most common mechanism identified to date. To elucidate alternative mechanisms of aberrant MAPK activation in PA, we screened 125 primary tumors for RAF fusion genes and mutations in KRAS, NRAS, HRAS, PTPN11, BRAF and RAF1. Using microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH), we identified in three cases an interstitial deletion of 2.5 Mb as a novel recurrent mechanism forming BRAF gene fusions with FAM131B, a currently uncharacterized gene on chromosome 7q34. This deletion removes the BRAF N-terminal inhibitory domains, giving a constitutively active BRAF kinase. Functional characterization of the novel FAM131B-BRAF fusion demonstrated constitutive MEK phosphorylation potential and transforming activity in vitro. In addition, our study confirmed previously reported BRAF and RAF1 fusion variants in 72% (90/125) of PA. Mutations in BRAF (8/125), KRAS (2/125) and NF1 (4/125) and the rare RAF1 gene fusions (2/125) were mutually exclusive with BRAF rearrangements, with the exception of two cases in our series that concomitantly harbored more than one hit in the MAPK pathway. In summary, our findings further underline the fundamental role of RAF kinase fusion products as a tumor-specific marker and an ideally suited drug target for PA.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 21424530
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  • 2
    Keywords: CANCER ; EXPRESSION ; SURVIVAL ; IN-VIVO ; TUMORS ; MUTATIONS ; DUPLICATION ; CENTRAL-NERVOUS-SYSTEM ; LOW-GRADE ASTROCYTOMAS ; CHILDREN ; CHILDHOOD ; PEDIATRIC GLIOMAS ; BRAF FUSION GENE ; MAMMARY TUMORIGENESIS
    Abstract: Purpose: Oncogenic BRAF/Ras or NF1 loss can potentially trigger oncogene-induced senescence (OIS) through activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. Somatic genetic abnormalities affecting this pathway occur in the majority of pilocytic astrocytomas (PA), the most prevalent brain neoplasm in children. We investigated whether OIS is induced in PA. Experimental Design: We tested expression of established senescence markers in three independent cohorts of sporadic PA. We also assessed for OIS in vitro, using forced expression of wild-type and V600E-mutant BRAF in two astrocytic cell lines: human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT)-immortalized astrocytes and fetal astrocytes. Results: Our results indicate that PAs are senescent as evidenced by marked senescence-associated acidic beta-galactosidase activity, low KI-67 index, and induction of p16(INK4a) but not p53 in the majority of 52 PA samples (46 of 52; 88.5%). Overexpression of a number of senescence-associated genes [CDKN2A (p16), CDKN1A (p21), CEBPB, GADD45A, and IGFBP7] was shown at the mRNA level in two independent PA tumor series. In vitro, sustained activation of wild-type or mutant BRAF induced OIS in both astrocytic cell lines. Loss of p16(INK4a) in immortalized astrocytes abrogated OIS, indicative of the role of this pathway in mediating this phenomenon in astrocytes. OIS is a mechanism of tumor suppression that restricts the progression of benign tumors. We show that it is triggered in PAs through p16(INK4a) pathway induction following aberrant MAPK activation. Conclusions: OIS may account for the slow growth pattern in PA, the lack of progression to higher-grade astrocytomas, and the high overall survival of affected patients.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 21610151
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