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  • 1
    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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  • 2
    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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  • 3
    Keywords: CANCER ; CLASSIFICATION ; DISTINCT ; GENE-EXPRESSION ; prognosis ; MUTATION ; CENTRAL-NERVOUS-SYSTEM ; WNT ; medulloblastoma ; CONSENSUS ; SUBGROUPS ; PATHWAY ACTIVATION ; BETA-CATENIN STATUS ; PEDIATRIC MEDULLOBLASTOMAS ; SHH ; Group 3 ; Group 4
    Abstract: Medulloblastoma, a small blue cell malignancy of the cerebellum, is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in pediatric oncology. Current mechanisms for clinical prognostication and stratification include clinical factors (age, presence of metastases, and extent of resection) as well as histological subgrouping (classic, desmoplastic, and large cell/anaplastic histology). Transcriptional profiling studies of medulloblastoma cohorts from several research groups around the globe have suggested the existence of multiple distinct molecular subgroups that differ in their demographics, transcriptomes, somatic genetic events, and clinical outcomes. Variations in the number, composition, and nature of the subgroups between studies brought about a consensus conference in Boston in the fall of 2010. Discussants at the conference came to a consensus that the evidence supported the existence of four main subgroups of medulloblastoma (Wnt, Shh, Group 3, and Group 4). Participants outlined the demographic, transcriptional, genetic, and clinical differences between the four subgroups. While it is anticipated that the molecular classification of medulloblastoma will continue to evolve and diversify in the future as larger cohorts are studied at greater depth, herein we outline the current consensus nomenclature, and the differences between the medulloblastoma subgroups.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22134537
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  • 4
    Keywords: CANCER ; CELLS ; IN-VIVO ; MODEL ; THERAPY ; GENE-EXPRESSION ; TRANSGENIC MICE ; INDUCED APOPTOSIS ; p53 ; NEURAL STEM-CELLS ; SELF-RENEWAL ; ANAPLASTIC MEDULLOBLASTOMA ; EMBRYONIC STEM ; TUMOR-SUPPRESSOR PATHWAY
    Abstract: Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant brain tumor in children. Patients whose tumors exhibit overexpression or amplification of the MYC oncogene (c-MYC) usually have an extremely poor prognosis, but there are no animal models of this subtype of the disease. Here, we show that cerebellar stem cells expressing Myc and mutant Trp53 (p53) generate aggressive tumors following orthotopic transplantation. These tumors consist of large, pleiomorphic cells and resemble human MYC-driven MB at a molecular level. Notably, antagonists of PI3K/mTOR signaling, but not Hedgehog signaling, inhibit growth of tumor cells. These findings suggest that cerebellar stem cells can give rise to MYC-driven MB and identify a novel model that can be used to test therapies for this devastating disease.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22340590
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  • 5
    Keywords: ADVANCED SOLID TUMORS ; GENE-EXPRESSION ; BREAST-CANCER ; CYCLE PROGRESSION ; BRAIN-TUMORS ; GROWTH IN-VIVO ; CANCER STEM-CELLS ; NEURONAL PRECURSORS ; SMOOTHENED ANTAGONISTS ; PATHWAY INHIBITOR
    Abstract: Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in children. Although aggressive surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy have improved outcomes, survivors suffer severe long-term side effects, and many patients still succumb to their disease. For patients whose tumors are driven by mutations in the sonic hedgehog (SHH) pathway, SHH antagonists offer some hope. However, many SHH-associated medulloblastomas do not respond to these drugs, and those that do may develop resistance. Therefore, more effective treatment strategies are needed for both SHH and non-SHH-associated medulloblastoma. One such strategy involves targeting the cells that are critical for maintaining tumor growth, known as tumor-propagating cells (TPC). We previously identified a population of TPCs in tumors from patched mutant mice, a model for SHH-dependent medulloblastoma. These cells express the surface antigen CD15/SSEA-1 and have elevated levels of genes associated with the G2-M phases of the cell cycle. Here, we show that CD15(+) cells progress more rapidly through the cell cycle than CD15(-) cells and contain an increased proportion of cells in G2-M, suggesting that they might be vulnerable to inhibitors of this phase. Indeed, exposure of tumor cells to inhibitors of Aurora kinase (Aurk) and Polo-like kinases (Plk), key regulators of G2-M, induces cell-cycle arrest, apoptosis, and enhanced sensitivity to conventional chemotherapy. Moreover, treatment of tumor-bearing mice with these agents significantly inhibits tumor progression. Importantly, cells from human patient-derived medulloblastoma xenografts are also sensitive to Aurk and Plk inhibitors. Our findings suggest that targeting G2-M regulators may represent a novel approach for treatment of human medulloblastoma. Cancer Res; 73(20); 6310-22. (c)2013 AACR.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24067506
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