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  • 1
    Keywords: EXPRESSION ; SURVIVAL ; PATHWAY ; CLASSIFICATION ; DISEASE ; DISTINCT ; TUMORS ; IMPACT ; prognosis ; BIOMARKERS ; NERVOUS-SYSTEM ; C-MYC ; MYCN ; medulloblastoma ; CHILDHOOD MEDULLOBLASTOMA ; SUBGROUPS ; MYC ; STRATIFICATION ; Molecular subgroup
    Abstract: The MYC oncogenes are the most commonly amplified loci in medulloblastoma, and have previously been proposed as biomarkers of adverse disease prognosis by us and others. Here, we report focussed and comprehensive investigations of MYCC, MYCN and MYCL in an extensive medulloblastoma cohort (n = 292), aimed to define more precisely their biological significance and optimal clinical application to direct improved disease risk-stratification and individualisation of therapy. MYCC and MYCN expression elevations were multifactorial, associated with high-risk (gene amplification, large-cell/anaplastic pathology (LCA)) and favourable-risk (WNT/SHH molecular subgroups) disease features. Highly variable cellular gene amplification patterns underlay overall MYC copy number elevations observed in tumour biopsies; we used these alternative measures together to define quantitative methodologies and thresholds for amplification detection in routinely collected tumour material. MYCC and MYCN amplification, but not gain, each had independent prognostic significance in non-infants (〉/=3.0-16.0 years), but MYCC conferred a greater hazard to survival than MYCN when considered across this treatment group. MYCN's weaker group-wide survival relationship may be explained by its pleiotropic behaviour between clinical disease-risk groups; MYCN predicted poor prognosis in clinical high-risk (metastatic (M+) or LCA), but not standard-risk, patients. Extending these findings, survival decreased in proportion to the total number of independently significant high-risk features present (LCA, M+ or MYCC/MYCN amplification). This cumulative-risk model defines a patient group characterised by 〉/=2 independent risk-factors and an extremely poor prognosis (〈15% survival), which can be identified straightforwardly using the reported MYC amplification detection methodologies alongside clinical assessments, enabling targeting for novel/intensified therapies in future clinical studies.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 22139329
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  • 2
    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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