Medulloblastoma
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Publication
Journal: Nature
December/20/2004
Abstract
The cancer stem cell (CSC) hypothesis suggests that neoplastic clones are maintained exclusively by a rare fraction of cells with stem cell properties. Although the existence of CSCs in human leukaemia is established, little evidence exists for CSCs in solid tumours, except for breast cancer. Recently, we prospectively isolated a CD133+ cell subpopulation from human brain tumours that exhibited stem cell properties in vitro. However, the true measures of CSCs are their capacity for self renewal and exact recapitulation of the original tumour. Here we report the development of a xenograft assay that identified human brain tumour initiating cells that initiate tumours in vivo. Only the CD133+ brain tumour fraction contains cells that are capable of tumour initiation in NOD-SCID (non-obese diabetic, severe combined immunodeficient) mouse brains. Injection of as few as 100 CD133+ cells produced a tumour that could be serially transplanted and was a phenocopy of the patient's original tumour, whereas injection of 10(5) CD133- cells engrafted but did not cause a tumour. Thus, the identification of brain tumour initiating cells provides insights into human brain tumour pathogenesis, giving strong support for the CSC hypothesis as the basis for many solid tumours, and establishes a previously unidentified cellular target for more effective cancer therapies.
Publication
Journal: Cancer research
December/3/2003
Abstract
Most current research on human brain tumors is focused on the molecular and cellular analysis of the bulk tumor mass. However, there is overwhelming evidence in some malignancies that the tumor clone is heterogeneous with respect to proliferation and differentiation. In human leukemia, the tumor clone is organized as a hierarchy that originates from rare leukemic stem cells that possess extensive proliferative and self-renewal potential, and are responsible for maintaining the tumor clone. We report here the identification and purification of a cancer stem cell from human brain tumors of different phenotypes that possesses a marked capacity for proliferation, self-renewal, and differentiation. The increased self-renewal capacity of the brain tumor stem cell (BTSC) was highest from the most aggressive clinical samples of medulloblastoma compared with low-grade gliomas. The BTSC was exclusively isolated with the cell fraction expressing the neural stem cell surface marker CD133. These CD133+ cells could differentiate in culture into tumor cells that phenotypically resembled the tumor from the patient. The identification of a BTSC provides a powerful tool to investigate the tumorigenic process in the central nervous system and to develop therapies targeted to the BTSC.
Publication
Journal: Science (New York, N.Y.)
September/10/1997
Abstract
The PATCHED (PTC) gene encodes a Sonic hedgehog (Shh) receptor and a tumor suppressor protein that is defective in basal cell nevus syndrome (BCNS). Functions of PTC were investigated by inactivating the mouse gene. Mice homozygous for the ptc mutation died during embryogenesis and were found to have open and overgrown neural tubes. Two Shh target genes, ptc itself and Gli, were derepressed in the ectoderm and mesoderm but not in the endoderm. Shh targets that are, under normal conditions, transcribed ventrally were aberrantly expressed in dorsal and lateral neural tube cells. Thus Ptc appears to be essential for repression of genes that are locally activated by Shh. Mice heterozygous for the ptc mutation were larger than normal, and a subset of them developed hindlimb defects or cerebellar medulloblastomas, abnormalities also seen in BCNS patients.
Publication
Journal: Nature
March/14/2002
Abstract
Embryonal tumours of the central nervous system (CNS) represent a heterogeneous group of tumours about which little is known biologically, and whose diagnosis, on the basis of morphologic appearance alone, is controversial. Medulloblastomas, for example, are the most common malignant brain tumour of childhood, but their pathogenesis is unknown, their relationship to other embryonal CNS tumours is debated, and patients' response to therapy is difficult to predict. We approached these problems by developing a classification system based on DNA microarray gene expression data derived from 99 patient samples. Here we demonstrate that medulloblastomas are molecularly distinct from other brain tumours including primitive neuroectodermal tumours (PNETs), atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumours (AT/RTs) and malignant gliomas. Previously unrecognized evidence supporting the derivation of medulloblastomas from cerebellar granule cells through activation of the Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) pathway was also revealed. We show further that the clinical outcome of children with medulloblastomas is highly predictable on the basis of the gene expression profiles of their tumours at diagnosis.
Publication
Journal: Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology
June/27/2011
Abstract
OBJECTIVE
Recent genomic approaches have suggested the existence of multiple distinct subtypes of medulloblastoma. We studied a large cohort of medulloblastomas to determine how many subgroups of the disease exist, how they differ, and the extent of overlap between subgroups.
METHODS
We determined gene expression profiles and DNA copy number aberrations for 103 primary medulloblastomas. Bioinformatic tools were used for class discovery of medulloblastoma subgroups based on the most informative genes in the data set. Immunohistochemistry for subgroup-specific signature genes was used to determine subgroup affiliation for 294 nonoverlapping medulloblastomas on two independent tissue microarrays.
RESULTS
Multiple unsupervised analyses of transcriptional profiles identified the following four distinct, nonoverlapping molecular variants: WNT, SHH, group C, and group D. Supervised analysis of these four subgroups revealed significant subgroup-specific demographics, histology, metastatic status, and DNA copy number aberrations. Immunohistochemistry for DKK1 (WNT), SFRP1 (SHH), NPR3 (group C), and KCNA1 (group D) could reliably and uniquely classify formalin-fixed medulloblastomas in approximately 98% of patients. Group C patients (NPR3-positive tumors) exhibited a significantly diminished progression-free and overall survival irrespective of their metastatic status.
CONCLUSIONS
Our integrative genomics approach to a large cohort of medulloblastomas has identified four disparate subgroups with distinct demographics, clinical presentation, transcriptional profiles, genetic abnormalities, and clinical outcome. Medulloblastomas can be reliably assigned to subgroups through immunohistochemistry, thereby making medulloblastoma subclassification widely available. Future research on medulloblastoma and the development of clinical trials should take into consideration these four distinct types of medulloblastoma.
Publication
Journal: Acta neuropathologica
July/10/2012
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.
Publication
Journal: The New England journal of medicine
January/21/2007
Abstract
BACKGROUND
Breast cancers contain a minority population of cancer cells characterized by CD44 expression but low or undetectable levels of CD24 (CD44+CD24-/low) that have higher tumorigenic capacity than other subtypes of cancer cells.
METHODS
We compared the gene-expression profile of CD44+CD24-/low tumorigenic breast-cancer cells with that of normal breast epithelium. Differentially expressed genes were used to generate a 186-gene "invasiveness" gene signature (IGS), which was evaluated for its association with overall survival and metastasis-free survival in patients with breast cancer or other types of cancer.
RESULTS
There was a significant association between the IGS and both overall and metastasis-free survival (P<0.001, for both) in patients with breast cancer, which was independent of established clinical and pathological variables. When combined with the prognostic criteria of the National Institutes of Health, the IGS was used to stratify patients with high-risk early breast cancer into prognostic categories (good or poor); among patients with a good prognosis, the 10-year rate of metastasis-free survival was 81%, and among those with a poor prognosis, it was 57%. The IGS was also associated with the prognosis in medulloblastoma (P=0.004), lung cancer (P=0.03), and prostate cancer (P=0.01). The prognostic power of the IGS was increased when combined with the wound-response (WR) signature.
CONCLUSIONS
The IGS is strongly associated with metastasis-free survival and overall survival for four different types of tumors. This genetic signature of tumorigenic breast-cancer cells was even more strongly associated with clinical outcomes when combined with the WR signature in breast cancer.
Publication
Journal: Science (New York, N.Y.)
February/10/2011
Abstract
Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant brain tumor of children. To identify the genetic alterations in this tumor type, we searched for copy number alterations using high-density microarrays and sequenced all known protein-coding genes and microRNA genes using Sanger sequencing in a set of 22 MBs. We found that, on average, each tumor had 11 gene alterations, fewer by a factor of 5 to 10 than in the adult solid tumors that have been sequenced to date. In addition to alterations in the Hedgehog and Wnt pathways, our analysis led to the discovery of genes not previously known to be altered in MBs. Most notably, inactivating mutations of the histone-lysine N-methyltransferase genes MLL2 or MLL3 were identified in 16% of MB patients. These results demonstrate key differences between the genetic landscapes of adult and childhood cancers, highlight dysregulation of developmental pathways as an important mechanism underlying MBs, and identify a role for a specific type of histone methylation in human tumorigenesis.
Publication
Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
May/9/2004
Abstract
We describe here the use of nonnegative matrix factorization (NMF), an algorithm based on decomposition by parts that can reduce the dimension of expression data from thousands of genes to a handful of metagenes. Coupled with a model selection mechanism, adapted to work for any stochastic clustering algorithm, NMF is an efficient method for identification of distinct molecular patterns and provides a powerful method for class discovery. We demonstrate the ability of NMF to recover meaningful biological information from cancer-related microarray data. NMF appears to have advantages over other methods such as hierarchical clustering or self-organizing maps. We found it less sensitive to a priori selection of genes or initial conditions and able to detect alternative or context-dependent patterns of gene expression in complex biological systems. This ability, similar to semantic polysemy in text, provides a general method for robust molecular pattern discovery.
Publication
Journal: Nature
September/3/2012
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.
Publication
Journal: Nature
September/3/2012
Abstract
Medulloblastoma is a malignant childhood brain tumour comprising four discrete subgroups. Here, to identify mutations that drive medulloblastoma, we sequenced the entire genomes of 37 tumours and matched normal blood. One-hundred and thirty-six genes harbouring somatic mutations in this discovery set were sequenced in an additional 56 medulloblastomas. Recurrent mutations were detected in 41 genes not yet implicated in medulloblastoma; several target distinct components of the epigenetic machinery in different disease subgroups, such as regulators of H3K27 and H3K4 trimethylation in subgroups 3 and 4 (for example, KDM6A and ZMYM3), and CTNNB1-associated chromatin re-modellers in WNT-subgroup tumours (for example, SMARCA4 and CREBBP). Modelling of mutations in mouse lower rhombic lip progenitors that generate WNT-subgroup tumours identified genes that maintain this cell lineage (DDX3X), as well as mutated genes that initiate (CDH1) or cooperate (PIK3CA) in tumorigenesis. These data provide important new insights into the pathogenesis of medulloblastoma subgroups and highlight targets for therapeutic development.
Publication
Journal: PloS one
December/17/2008
Abstract
BACKGROUND
Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in children. Despite recent improvements in cure rates, prediction of disease outcome remains a major challenge and survivors suffer from serious therapy-related side-effects. Recent data showed that patients with WNT-activated tumors have a favorable prognosis, suggesting that these patients could be treated less intensively, thereby reducing the side-effects. This illustrates the potential benefits of a robust classification of medulloblastoma patients and a detailed knowledge of associated biological mechanisms.
RESULTS
To get a better insight into the molecular biology of medulloblastoma we established mRNA expression profiles of 62 medulloblastomas and analyzed 52 of them also by comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) arrays. Five molecular subtypes were identified, characterized by WNT signaling (A; 9 cases), SHH signaling (B; 15 cases), expression of neuronal differentiation genes (C and D; 16 and 11 cases, respectively) or photoreceptor genes (D and E; both 11 cases). Mutations in beta-catenin were identified in all 9 type A tumors, but not in any other tumor. PTCH1 mutations were exclusively identified in type B tumors. CGH analysis identified several fully or partly subtype-specific chromosomal aberrations. Monosomy of chromosome 6 occurred only in type A tumors, loss of 9q mostly occurred in type B tumors, whereas chromosome 17 aberrations, most common in medulloblastoma, were strongly associated with type C or D tumors. Loss of the inactivated X-chromosome was highly specific for female cases of type C, D and E tumors. Gene expression levels faithfully reflected the chromosomal copy number changes. Clinicopathological features significantly different between the 5 subtypes included metastatic disease and age at diagnosis and histology. Metastatic disease at diagnosis was significantly associated with subtypes C and D and most strongly with subtype E. Patients below 3 yrs of age had type B, D, or E tumors. Type B included most desmoplastic cases. We validated and confirmed the molecular subtypes and their associated clinicopathological features with expression data from a second independent series of 46 medulloblastomas.
CONCLUSIONS
The new medulloblastoma classification presented in this study will greatly enhance the understanding of this heterogeneous disease. It will enable a better selection and evaluation of patients in clinical trials, and it will support the development of new molecular targeted therapies. Ultimately, our results may lead to more individualized therapies with improved cure rates and a better quality of life.
Publication
Journal: Science (New York, N.Y.)
September/12/2002
Abstract
Constitutive Hedgehog (Hh) pathway activity is associated with initiation of neoplasia, but its role in the continued growth of established tumors is unclear. Here, we investigate the therapeutic efficacy of the Hh pathway antagonist cyclopamine in preclinical models of medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor in children. Cyclopamine treatment of murine medulloblastoma cells blocked proliferation in vitro and induced changes in gene expression consistent with initiation of neuronal differentiation and loss of neuronal stem cell-like character. This compound also caused regression of murine tumor allografts in vivo and induced rapid death of cells from freshly resected human medulloblastomas, but not from other brain tumors, thus establishing a specific role for Hh pathway activity in medulloblastoma growth.
Publication
Journal: Nature
September/3/2012
Abstract
Medulloblastomas are the most common malignant brain tumours in children. Identifying and understanding the genetic events that drive these tumours is critical for the development of more effective diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic strategies. Recently, our group and others described distinct molecular subtypes of medulloblastoma on the basis of transcriptional and copy number profiles. Here we use whole-exome hybrid capture and deep sequencing to identify somatic mutations across the coding regions of 92 primary medulloblastoma/normal pairs. Overall, medulloblastomas have low mutation rates consistent with other paediatric tumours, with a median of 0.35 non-silent mutations per megabase. We identified twelve genes mutated at statistically significant frequencies, including previously known mutated genes in medulloblastoma such as CTNNB1, PTCH1, MLL2, SMARCA4 and TP53. Recurrent somatic mutations were newly identified in an RNA helicase gene, DDX3X, often concurrent with CTNNB1 mutations, and in the nuclear co-repressor (N-CoR) complex genes GPS2, BCOR and LDB1. We show that mutant DDX3X potentiates transactivation of a TCF promoter and enhances cell viability in combination with mutant, but not wild-type, β-catenin. Together, our study reveals the alteration of WNT, hedgehog, histone methyltransferase and now N-CoR pathways across medulloblastomas and within specific subtypes of this disease, and nominates the RNA helicase DDX3X as a component of pathogenic β-catenin signalling in medulloblastoma.
Publication
Journal: Cancer research
September/27/2006
Abstract
The Notch signaling pathway is required in both nonneoplastic neural stem cells and embryonal brain tumors, such as medulloblastoma, which are derived from such cells. We investigated the effects of Notch pathway inhibition on medulloblastoma growth using pharmacologic inhibitors of gamma-secretase. Notch blockade suppressed expression of the pathway target Hes1 and caused cell cycle exit, apoptosis, and differentiation in medulloblastoma cell lines. Interestingly, viable populations of better-differentiated cells continued to grow when Notch activation was inhibited but were unable to efficiently form soft-agar colonies or tumor xenografts, suggesting that a cell fraction required for tumor propagation had been depleted. It has recently been hypothesized that a small population of stem-like cells within brain tumors is required for the long-term propagation of neoplastic growth and that CD133 expression and Hoechst dye exclusion (side population) can be used to prospectively identify such tumor-forming cells. We found that Notch blockade reduced the CD133-positive cell fraction almost 5-fold and totally abolished the side population, suggesting that the loss of tumor-forming capacity could be due to the depletion of stem-like cells. Notch signaling levels were higher in the stem-like cell fraction, providing a potential mechanism for their increased sensitivity to inhibition of this pathway. We also observed that apoptotic rates following Notch blockade were almost 10-fold higher in primitive nestin-positive cells as compared with nestin-negative ones. Stem-like cells in brain tumors thus seem to be selectively vulnerable to agents inhibiting the Notch pathway.
Publication
Journal: Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology
May/8/2006
Abstract
OBJECTIVE
Traditional genetic approaches to identify gene mutations in cancer are expensive and laborious. Nonetheless, if we are to avoid rejecting effective molecular targeted therapies, we must test these drugs in patients whose tumors harbor mutations in the drug target. We hypothesized that gene expression profiling might be a more rapid and cost-effective method of identifying tumors that contain specific genetic abnormalities.
METHODS
Gene expression profiles of 46 samples of medulloblastoma were generated using the U133av2 Affymetrix oligonucleotide array and validated using real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry. Genetic abnormalities were confirmed using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and direct sequencing.
RESULTS
Unsupervised analysis of gene expression profiles partitioned medulloblastomas into five distinct subgroups (subgroups A to E). Gene expression signatures that distinguished these subgroups predicted the presence of key molecular alterations that we subsequently confirmed by gene sequence analysis and FISH. Subgroup-specific abnormalities included mutations in the Wingless (WNT) pathway and deletion of chromosome 6 (subgroup B) and mutations in the Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) pathway (subgroup D). Real-time RT-PCR analysis of gene expression profiles was then used to predict accurately the presence of mutations in the WNT and SHH pathways in a separate group of 31 medulloblastomas.
CONCLUSIONS
Genome-wide expression profiles can partition large tumor cohorts into subgroups that are enriched for specific genetic alterations. This approach may assist ultimately in the selection of patients for future clinical trials of molecular targeted therapies.
Publication
Journal: Genes & development
May/30/2000
Abstract
Medulloblastomas are among the most common malignancies in childhood, and they are associated with substantial mortality and morbidity. The molecular pathogenesis as well as the ontogeny of these neoplasms is still poorly understood. We have generated a mouse model for medulloblastoma by Cre-LoxP-mediated inactivation of Rb and p53 tumor suppressor genes in the cerebellar external granular layer (EGL) cells. GFAP-Cre-mediated recombination was found both in astrocytes and in immature precursor cells of the EGL in the developing cerebellum. GFAP-Cre;Rb(LoxP/LoxP);p53(-/- or LoxP/LoxP) mice developed highly aggressive embryonal tumors of the cerebellum with typical features of medulloblastoma. These tumors were identified as early as 7 weeks of age on the outer surface of the molecular layer, corresponding to the location of the EGL cells during development. Our results demonstrate that loss of function of RB is essential for medulloblastoma development in the mouse and strongly support the hypothesis that medulloblastomas arise from multipotent precursor cells located in the EGL.
Publication
Journal: Nature
January/3/2011
Abstract
Medulloblastoma encompasses a collection of clinically and molecularly diverse tumour subtypes that together comprise the most common malignant childhood brain tumour. These tumours are thought to arise within the cerebellum, with approximately 25% originating from granule neuron precursor cells (GNPCs) after aberrant activation of the Sonic Hedgehog pathway (hereafter, SHH subtype). The pathological processes that drive heterogeneity among the other medulloblastoma subtypes are not known, hindering the development of much needed new therapies. Here we provide evidence that a discrete subtype of medulloblastoma that contains activating mutations in the WNT pathway effector CTNNB1 (hereafter, WNT subtype) arises outside the cerebellum from cells of the dorsal brainstem. We found that genes marking human WNT-subtype medulloblastomas are more frequently expressed in the lower rhombic lip (LRL) and embryonic dorsal brainstem than in the upper rhombic lip (URL) and developing cerebellum. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and intra-operative reports showed that human WNT-subtype tumours infiltrate the dorsal brainstem, whereas SHH-subtype tumours are located within the cerebellar hemispheres. Activating mutations in Ctnnb1 had little impact on progenitor cell populations in the cerebellum, but caused the abnormal accumulation of cells on the embryonic dorsal brainstem which included aberrantly proliferating Zic1(+) precursor cells. These lesions persisted in all mutant adult mice; moreover, in 15% of cases in which Tp53 was concurrently deleted, they progressed to form medulloblastomas that recapitulated the anatomy and gene expression profiles of human WNT-subtype medulloblastoma. We provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, that subtypes of medulloblastoma have distinct cellular origins. Our data provide an explanation for the marked molecular and clinical differences between SHH- and WNT-subtype medulloblastomas and have profound implications for future research and treatment of this important childhood cancer.
Publication
Journal: Cell
March/15/2012
Abstract
Genomic rearrangements are thought to occur progressively during tumor development. Recent findings, however, suggest an alternative mechanism, involving massive chromosome rearrangements in a one-step catastrophic event termed chromothripsis. We report the whole-genome sequencing-based analysis of a Sonic-Hedgehog medulloblastoma (SHH-MB) brain tumor from a patient with a germline TP53 mutation (Li-Fraumeni syndrome), uncovering massive, complex chromosome rearrangements. Integrating TP53 status with microarray and deep sequencing-based DNA rearrangement data in additional patients reveals a striking association between TP53 mutation and chromothripsis in SHH-MBs. Analysis of additional tumor entities substantiates a link between TP53 mutation and chromothripsis, and indicates a context-specific role for p53 in catastrophic DNA rearrangements. Among these, we observed a strong association between somatic TP53 mutations and chromothripsis in acute myeloid leukemia. These findings connect p53 status and chromothripsis in specific tumor types, providing a genetic basis for understanding particularly aggressive subtypes of cancer.
Publication
Journal: Cancer cell
August/27/2008
Abstract
Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in children, but the cells from which it arises remain unclear. Here we examine the origin of medulloblastoma resulting from mutations in the Sonic hedgehog (Shh) pathway. We show that activation of Shh signaling in neuronal progenitors causes medulloblastoma by 3 months of age. Shh pathway activation in stem cells promotes stem cell proliferation but only causes tumors after commitment to-and expansion of-the neuronal lineage. Notably, tumors initiated in stem cells develop more rapidly than those initiated in progenitors, with all animals succumbing by 3-4 weeks. These studies suggest that medulloblastoma can be initiated in progenitors or stem cells but that Shh-induced tumorigenesis is associated with neuronal lineage commitment.
Publication
Journal: Nature reviews. Cancer
May/10/2010
Abstract
Malignant brain tumours continue to be the cause of a disproportionate level of morbidity and mortality across a wide range of individuals. The most common variants in the adult and paediatric populations - malignant glioma and medulloblastoma, respectively - have been the subject of increasingly intensive research over the past two decades that has led to considerable advances in the understanding of their basic biology and pathogenesis. This Review summarizes these developments in the context of the evolving notion of molecular pathology and discusses the implications that this work has on the design of new treatment regimens.
Publication
Journal: Nature
September/3/2012
Abstract
Medulloblastoma, the most common malignant paediatric brain tumour, is currently treated with nonspecific cytotoxic therapies including surgery, whole-brain radiation, and aggressive chemotherapy. As medulloblastoma exhibits marked intertumoural heterogeneity, with at least four distinct molecular variants, previous attempts to identify targets for therapy have been underpowered because of small samples sizes. Here we report somatic copy number aberrations (SCNAs) in 1,087 unique medulloblastomas. SCNAs are common in medulloblastoma, and are predominantly subgroup-enriched. The most common region of focal copy number gain is a tandem duplication of SNCAIP, a gene associated with Parkinson's disease, which is exquisitely restricted to Group 4α. Recurrent translocations of PVT1, including PVT1-MYC and PVT1-NDRG1, that arise through chromothripsis are restricted to Group 3. Numerous targetable SCNAs, including recurrent events targeting TGF-β signalling in Group 3, and NF-κB signalling in Group 4, suggest future avenues for rational, targeted therapy.
Publication
Journal: Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology
June/27/2011
Abstract
OBJECTIVE
Medulloblastomas are heterogeneous tumors that collectively represent the most common malignant brain tumor in children. To understand the molecular characteristics underlying their heterogeneity and to identify whether such characteristics represent risk factors for patients with this disease, we performed an integrated genomic analysis of a large series of primary tumors.
METHODS
We profiled the mRNA transcriptome of 194 medulloblastomas and performed high-density single nucleotide polymorphism array and miRNA analysis on 115 and 98 of these, respectively. Non-negative matrix factorization-based clustering of mRNA expression data was used to identify molecular subgroups of medulloblastoma; DNA copy number, miRNA profiles, and clinical outcomes were analyzed for each. We additionally validated our findings in three previously published independent medulloblastoma data sets.
RESULTS
Identified are six molecular subgroups of medulloblastoma, each with a unique combination of numerical and structural chromosomal aberrations that globally influence mRNA and miRNA expression. We reveal the relative contribution of each subgroup to clinical outcome as a whole and show that a previously unidentified molecular subgroup, characterized genetically by c-MYC copy number gains and transcriptionally by enrichment of photoreceptor pathways and increased miR-183∼96∼182 expression, is associated with significantly lower rates of event-free and overall survivals.
CONCLUSIONS
Our results detail the complex genomic heterogeneity of medulloblastomas and identify a previously unrecognized molecular subgroup with poor clinical outcome for which more effective therapeutic strategies should be developed.
Publication
Journal: The Lancet. Oncology
November/13/2006
Abstract
BACKGROUND
Current treatment for medulloblastoma, which includes postoperative radiotherapy and 1 year of chemotherapy, does not cure many children with high-risk disease. We aimed to investigate the effectiveness of risk-adapted radiotherapy followed by a shortened period of dose-intense chemotherapy in children with medulloblastoma.
METHODS
After resection, patients were classified as having average-risk medulloblastoma (< or = 1.5 cm2 residual tumour and no metastatic disease) or high-risk medulloblastoma (> 1.5 cm2 residual disease or metastatic disease localised to neuraxis) medulloblastoma. All patients received risk-adapted craniospinal radiotherapy (23.4 Gy for average-risk disease and 36.0-39.6 Gy for high-risk disease) followed by four cycles of cyclophosphamide-based, dose-intensive chemotherapy. Patients were assessed regularly for disease status and treatment side-effects. The primary endpoint was 5-year event-free survival; we also measured overall survival. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00003211.
RESULTS
Of 134 children with medulloblastoma who underwent treatment (86 average-risk, 48 high-risk), 119 (89%) completed the planned protocol. No treatment-related deaths occurred. 5-year overall survival was 85% (95% CI 75-94) in patients in the average-risk group and 70% (54-84) in those in the high-risk group (p=0.04); 5-year event-free survival was 83% (73-93) and 70% (55-85), respectively (p=0.046). For the 116 patients whose histology was reviewed centrally, histological subtype correlated with 5-year event-free survival (p=0.04): 84% (74-95) for classic histology, 77% (49-100) for desmoplastic tumours, and 57% (33-80) for large-cell anaplastic tumours.
CONCLUSIONS
Risk-adapted radiotherapy followed by a shortened schedule of dose-intensive chemotherapy can be used to improve the outcome of patients with high-risk medulloblastoma.
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