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  • 1
    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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  • 2
    Keywords: RECEPTOR ; CANCER ; EXPRESSION ; INHIBITION ; PATHWAY ; MIGRATION ; HEPATOCYTE GROWTH-FACTOR ; C-MET ; PEDIATRIC MEDULLOBLASTOMA ; GENETIC PROFILES
    Abstract: Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor, with metastases present at diagnosis conferring a poor prognosis. Mechanisms of dissemination are poorly understood and metastatic lesions are genetically divergent from the matched primary tumor. Effective and less toxic therapies that target both compartments have yet to be identified. Here we report that the analysis of several large non-overlapping cohorts of medulloblastoma patients reveal MET kinase as a marker of sonic hedgehog (SHH) driven medulloblastoma. Immunohistochemical analysis of phosphorylated, active MET kinase in an independent patient cohort confirmed its correlation with increased tumor relapse and poor survival, suggesting that SHH medulloblastoma patients may benefit from MET-targeted therapy. In support of this hypothesis, we found that the approved MET inhibitor foretinib could suppress MET activation, decrease tumor cell proliferation and induce apoptosis in SHH medulloblastomas in vitro and in vivo. Foretinib penetrated the blood-brain barrier and was effective in both the primary and metastatic tumor compartments. In established mouse xenograft or transgenic models of metastatic SHH medulloblastoma, foretinib administration reduced the growth of the primary tumor, decreased the incidence of metastases and increased host survival. Taken together, our results provide a strong rationale to clinically evaluate foretinib as an effective therapy for patients with SHH-driven medulloblastoma.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25391241
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  • 3
    Keywords: CANCER ; PATHWAY ; ACTIVATION ; DNA-DAMAGE ; MULTICENTER TRIAL ; PHOSPHATASE ; PPM1D ; CHEMOKINE RECEPTOR CXCR4 ; P53 FUNCTION ; CHK2 KINASE
    Abstract: Recent studies suggest that medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor of childhood, is comprised of four disease variants. The WIP1 oncogene is overexpressed in Group 3 and 4 tumors, which contain medulloblastomas with the most aggressive clinical behavior. Our data demonstrate increased WIP1 expression in metastatic medulloblastomas, and inferior progression-free and overall survival of patients with WIP1 high-expressing medulloblastoma. Microarray analysis identified upregulation of genes involved in tumor metastasis, including the G protein-coupled receptor CXCR4, in medulloblastoma cells with high WIP1 expression. Stimulation with the CXCR4 ligand SDF1alpha activated PI-3 kinase signaling, and promoted growth and invasion of WIP1 high-expressing medulloblastoma cells in a p53-dependent manner. When xenografted into the cerebellum of immunodeficient mice, medulloblastoma cells with stable or endogenous high WIP1 expression exhibited strong expression of CXCR4 and activated AKT in primary and invasive tumor cells. WIP1 or CXCR4 knockdown inhibited medulloblastoma growth and invasion. WIP1 knockdown also improved the survival of mice xenografted with WIP1 high-expressing medulloblastoma cells. WIP1 knockdown inhibited cell surface localization of CXCR4 by suppressing expression of the G protein receptor kinase 5, GRK5. Restoration of wild-type GRK5 promoted Ser339 phosphorylation of CXCR4 and inhibited the growth of WIP1-stable medulloblastoma cells. Conversely, GRK5 knockdown inhibited Ser339 phosphorylation of CXCR4, increased cell surface localization of CXCR4 and promoted the growth of medulloblastoma cells with low WIP1 expression. These results demonstrate crosstalk among WIP1, CXCR4 and GRK5, which may be important for the aggressive phenotype of a subclass of medulloblastomas in children.Oncogene advance online publication, 17 march 2014; doi:10.1038/onc.2014.37.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24632620
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  • 4
    Keywords: CELLS ; GROWTH ; proliferation ; PATHWAY ; SONIC HEDGEHOG ; N-MYC ; TUMORIGENESIS ; NEURONAL PRECURSORS ; PATCHED HETEROZYGOUS MICE ; CDO
    Abstract: During cerebellar development, Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling drives the proliferation of granule cell precursors (GCPs). Aberrant activation of Shh signaling causes overproliferation of GCPs, leading to medulloblastoma. Although the Shh-binding protein Boc associates with the Shh receptor Ptch1 to mediate Shh signaling, whether Boc plays a role in medulloblastoma is unknown. Here, we show that BOC is upregulated in medulloblastomas and induces GCP proliferation. Conversely, Boc inactivation reduces proliferation and progression of early medulloblastomas to advanced tumors. Mechanistically, we find that Boc, through elevated Shh signaling, promotes high levels of DNA damage, an effect mediated by CyclinD1. High DNA damage in the presence of Boc increases the incidence of Ptch1 loss of heterozygosity, an important event in the progression from early to advanced medulloblastoma. Together, our results indicate that DNA damage promoted by Boc leads to the demise of its own coreceptor, Ptch1, and consequently medulloblastoma progression.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25263791
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  • 5
    Keywords: GROWTH ; PATHWAY ; MESSENGER-RNA ; STRESS ; CAENORHABDITIS-ELEGANS ; MAMMALIAN-CELLS ; PROTEIN-SYNTHESIS ; ETV6-NTRK3 GENE FUSION ; TUMOR-CELL SURVIVAL ; FACTOR-II
    Abstract: Metabolic adaptation is essential for cell survival during nutrient deprivation. We report that eukaryotic elongation factor 2 kinase (eEF2K), which is activated by AMP-kinase (AMPK), confers cell survival under acute nutrient depletion by blocking translation elongation. Tumor cells exploit this pathway to adapt to nutrient deprivation by reactivating the AMPK-eEF2K axis. Adaptation of transformed cells to nutrient withdrawal is severely compromised in cells lacking eEF2K. Moreover, eEF2K knockdown restored sensitivity to acute nutrient deprivation in highly resistant human tumor cell lines. In vivo, overexpression of eEF2K rendered murine tumors remarkably resistant to caloric restriction. Expression of eEF2K strongly correlated with overall survival in human medulloblastoma and glioblastoma multiforme. Finally, C. elegans strains deficient in efk-1, the eEF2K ortholog, were severely compromised in their response to nutrient depletion. Our data highlight a conserved role for eEF2K in protecting cells from nutrient deprivation and in conferring tumor cell adaptation to metabolic stress. PAPERCLIP:
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23706743
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  • 6
    Keywords: CANCER ; PATHWAY ; SAMPLES ; TISSUES ; SUBGROUPS ; miRNAs ; SIGNATURES ; RNA ISOLATION
    Abstract: Background Medulloblastoma has recently been found to consist of 4 molecularly and clinically distinct subgroups: WNT, Sonce hedgehog (SHH), Group 3, and Group 4. Deregulated microRNA expression is known to contribute to pathogenesis and has been shown to have diagnostic and prognostic potential in the classification of various cancers. Methods Molecular subgrouping and microRNA expression analysis of 44 frozen and 59 formalin-fixed paraffin embedded medulloblastomas from an Indian cohort were carried out by real-time RT-PCR assay. Results The differential expression of 9 microRNAs in the 4 molecular subgroups was validated in a set of 101 medulloblastomas. The tumors in the WNT subgroup showed significant (P 〈 .0001) overexpression of miR-193a-3p, miR-224, miR-148a, miR-23b, and miR-365. Reliable classification of medulloblastomas into the 4 molecular subgroups was obtained using a set of 12 protein-coding genes and 9 microRNAs as markers in a real-time RT-PCR assay with an accuracy of 97% as judged by the Prediction Analysis of Microarrays. Age at diagnosis, histology, gender-related incidence, and the relative survival rates of the 4 molecular subgroups in the present Indian cohort were found to be similar to those reported for medulloblastomas from the American and European subcontinent. Non-WNT, non-SHH medulloblastomas underexpressing miR-592 or overexpressing miR-182 were found to have significantly inferior survival rates, indicating utility of these miRNAs as markers for risk stratification. Conclusions The microRNA based real-time PCR assay is rapid, simple, inexpensive, and useful for molecular classification and risk stratification of medulloblastomas, in particular formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissues, wherein the expression profile of protein-coding genes is often less reliable due to RNA fragmentation.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24203893
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  • 7
    Keywords: EXPRESSION ; tumor ; INHIBITION ; PATHWAY ; TUMORS ; prognosis ; CLUSTER ; medulloblastoma ; SUBTYPES ; PROFILES ; hsa-miR-182 ; Metastatic dissemination ; POLYCISTRON ; SHH pathway
    Abstract: The contribution of microRNAs to the initiation, progression, and metastasis of medulloblastoma (MB) remains poorly understood. Metastatic dissemination at diagnosis is present in about 30% of MB patients, and is associated with a dismal prognosis. Using microRNA expression profiling, we demonstrate that the retinal miR-183-96-182 cluster on chromosome 7q32 is highly overexpressed in non-sonic hedgehog MBs (non-SHH-MBs). Expression of miR-182 and miR-183 is associated with cerebellar midline localization, and miR-182 is significantly overexpressed in metastatic MB as compared to non-metastatic tumors. Overexpression of miR-182 in non-SHH-MB increases and knockdown of miR-182 decreases cell migration in vitro. Xenografts overexpressing miR-182 invaded adjacent normal tissue and spread to the leptomeninges, phenotypically reminiscent of clinically highly aggressive large cell anaplastic MB. Hence, our study provides strong in vitro and in vivo evidence that miR-182 contributes to leptomeningeal metastatic dissemination in non-SHH-MB. We therefore reason that targeted inhibition of miR-182 may prevent leptomeningeal spread in patients with non-SHH-MB.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22134538
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