Core Center Heidelberg

Heidelberg, Germany

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Heidelberg, Germany
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Liu K.-W.,U.S. National Cancer Institute | Pajtler K.W.,German Cancer Research Center | Pajtler K.W.,University of Heidelberg | Pajtler K.W.,Core Center Heidelberg | And 7 more authors.
Science Signaling | Year: 2017

Brain tumors are among the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in children. Although surgery, aggressive radiation, and chemotherapy have improved outcomes, many patients still die of their disease. Moreover, thosewho survive often suffer devastating long-term side effects from the therapies. A greater understanding of the molecular underpinnings of these diseases will drive the development of new therapeutic approaches. Advances in genomics and epigenomics have provided unprecedented insight into themolecular diversity of these diseases and, in several cases, have revealed key genes and signaling pathways that drive tumor growth. These not only serve as potential therapeutic targets but also have facilitated the creation of animal models that faithfully recapitulate the human disease for preclinical studies. In this Review, we discuss recent progress in understanding the molecular basis of the three most common malignant pediatric brain tumors-medulloblastoma, ependymoma, and high-grade glioma-and the implications for development of safer and more effective therapies. © 2017 The Authors, some rights reserved.


Feng W.,German Cancer Research Center | Kawauchi D.,German Cancer Research Center | Korkel-Qu H.,German Cancer Research Center | Deng H.,German Cancer Research Center | And 27 more authors.
Nature Communications | Year: 2017

Mutations in chromatin modifier genes are frequently associated with neurodevelopmental diseases. We herein demonstrate that the chromodomain helicase DNA-binding protein 7 (Chd7), frequently associated with CHARGE syndrome, is indispensable for normal cerebellar development. Genetic inactivation of Chd7 in cerebellar granule neuron progenitors leads to cerebellar hypoplasia in mice, due to the impairment of granule neuron differentiation, induction of apoptosis and abnormal localization of Purkinje cells, which closely recapitulates known clinical features in the cerebella of CHARGE patients. Combinatory molecular analyses reveal that Chd7 is required for the maintenance of open chromatin and thus activation of genes essential for granule neuron differentiation. We further demonstrate that both Chd7 and Top2b are necessary for the transcription of a set of long neuronal genes in cerebellar granule neurons. Altogether, our comprehensive analyses reveal a mechanism with chromatin remodellers governing brain development via controlling a core transcriptional programme for cell-specific differentiation. © The Author(s) 2017.


Johann P.,German Cancer Research Center | Johann P.,Core Center Heidelberg | Johann P.,University of Heidelberg | Erkek S.,German Cancer Research Center | And 73 more authors.
Cancer Cell | Year: 2016

Atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor (ATRT) is one of the most common brain tumors in infants. Although the prognosis of ATRT patients is poor, some patients respond favorably to current treatments, suggesting molecular inter-tumor heterogeneity. To investigate this further, we genetically and epigenetically analyzed 192 ATRTs. Three distinct molecular subgroups of ATRTs, associated with differences in demographics, tumor location, and type of SMARCB1 alterations, were identified. Whole-genome DNA and RNA sequencing found no recurrent mutations in addition to SMARCB1 that would explain the differences between subgroups. Whole-genome bisulfite sequencing and H3K27Ac chromatin-immunoprecipitation sequencing of primary tumors, however, revealed clear differences, leading to the identification of subgroup-specific regulatory networks and potential therapeutic targets. SMARCB1 is the sole highly recurrently mutated gene in atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors (ATRTs). Johann et al. show that ATRTs are composed of three epigenetic subgroups that have different clinical characteristics, and identify subgroup-specific regulatory networks that suggest potential therapeutic targets. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.


Korshunov A.,German Cancer Research Center | Korshunov A.,Core Center Heidelberg | Jakobiec F.A.,Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary | Eberhart C.G.,University of Baltimore | And 24 more authors.
Neuropathology | Year: 2015

Intraocular medulloepithelioma (IO MEPL) is an uncommon embryonal neuroepithelial neoplasm of the eye. These ocular neoplasms have been compared with intracranial medulloepitheliomas or other histologic variants of CNS embryonal tumor with multilayered rosettes (CNS ETMR) due to their morphological mimicry. We performed comprehensive molecular analysis to explore the histogenetic and biologic relationships between 22 IO MEPL and 68 CNS ETMR. Routinely prepared paraffin-embedded samples were assessed for genome-wide methylation profiles using the Illumina Methylation 450k BeadChip array. We identified strong cytogenetic and epigenetic differences between ocular neoplasms and CNS ETMR. None of the IO MEPL cases displayed the ETMR-specific amplification of the C19MC locus. Instead, cytogenetic analysis of the IO MEPL showed numerous copy number aberrations which involved either whole chromosomes or chromosomal arms; recurrent aberrations in these tumors affected chromosomes 1p, 4, 8 and 16p. DNA methylation patterns were also strikingly different between these two tumor entities, suggesting that they do not share common origins and biological behaviors. Comparative cluster analysis of 198 pediatric CNS tumors and 22 IO MEPL revealed a clear demarcation of the CNS ETMR and IO MEPL profiles from other CNS entities. In conclusion, although IO MEPL shares some histopathological features with CNS ETMR, they manifest striking molecular diversity at the cytogenetic and epigenetic levels. Consequently they deserve a separate nosologic designation in future tumor classifications, where CNS MEPL could be designated as a histological variant of CNS ETMR. © 2015 Japanese Society of Neuropathology.


PubMed | Thomas Jefferson University, Russian Childrens Clinical Hospital, Charité - Medical University of Berlin, Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich and 6 more.
Type: Comparative Study | Journal: Neuropathology : official journal of the Japanese Society of Neuropathology | Year: 2015

Intraocular medulloepithelioma (IO MEPL) is an uncommon embryonal neuroepithelial neoplasm of the eye. These ocular neoplasms have been compared with intracranial medulloepitheliomas or other histologic variants of CNS embryonal tumor with multilayered rosettes (CNS ETMR) due to their morphological mimicry. We performed comprehensive molecular analysis to explore the histogenetic and biologic relationships between 22 IO MEPL and 68 CNS ETMR. Routinely prepared paraffin-embedded samples were assessed for genome-wide methylation profiles using the Illumina Methylation 450k BeadChip array. We identified strong cytogenetic and epigenetic differences between ocular neoplasms and CNS ETMR. None of the IO MEPL cases displayed the ETMR-specific amplification of the C19MC locus. Instead, cytogenetic analysis of the IO MEPL showed numerous copy number aberrations which involved either whole chromosomes or chromosomal arms; recurrent aberrations in these tumors affected chromosomes 1p, 4, 8 and 16p. DNA methylation patterns were also strikingly different between these two tumor entities, suggesting that they do not share common origins and biological behaviors. Comparative cluster analysis of 198 pediatric CNS tumors and 22 IO MEPL revealed a clear demarcation of the CNS ETMR and IO MEPL profiles from other CNS entities. In conclusion, although IO MEPL shares some histopathological features with CNS ETMR, they manifest striking molecular diversity at the cytogenetic and epigenetic levels. Consequently they deserve a separate nosologic designation in future tumor classifications, where CNS MEPL could be designated as a histological variant of CNS ETMR.


Mangum R.,Ohio State University | Varga E.,Ohio State University | Boue D.R.,Ohio State University | Capper D.,Core Center Heidelberg | And 13 more authors.
Child's Nervous System | Year: 2016

Introduction: Individuals with Down syndrome (DS) have an increased risk of acute leukemia compared to a markedly decreased incidence of solid tumors. Medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor of childhood, is particularly rare in the DS population, with only one published case. As demonstrated in a mouse model, DS is associated with cerebellar hypoplasia and a decreased number of cerebellar granule neuron progenitor cells (CGNPs) in the external granule cell layer (EGL). Treatment of these mice with sonic hedgehog signaling pathway (Shh) agonists promote normalization of CGNPs and improved cognitive functioning. Case report: We describe a 21-month-old male with DS and concurrent desmoplastic/nodular medulloblastoma (DNMB)—a tumor derived from Shh dysregulation and over-activation of CGNPs. Molecular profiling further classified the tumor into the new consensus SHH molecular subgroup. Additional testing revealed a de novo heterozygous germ line mutation in the PTCH1 gene encoding a tumor suppressor protein in the Shh pathway. Discussion: The developmental failure of CGNPs in DS patients offers a plausible explanation for the rarity of medulloblastoma in this population. Conversely, patients with PTCH1 germline mutations experience Shh overstimulation resulting in Gorlin (Nevoid Basal Cell Carcinoma) syndrome and an increased incidence of malignant transformation of CGNPs leading to medulloblastoma formation. This represents the first documented report of an individual with DS simultaneously carrying PTCH1 germline mutation. Conclusion: We have observed a highly unusual circumstance in which the PTCH1 mutation appears to “trump” the effects of DS in causation of Shh-activated medulloblastoma. © 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg


Fahiminiya S.,McGill University | Witkowski L.,McGill University | Nadaf J.,McGill University | Carrot-Zhang J.,McGill University | And 13 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2016

Small cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcemic type (SCCOHT) is the most common undifferentiated ovarian malignancy diagnosed in women under age 40. We and others recently determined that germline and/or somatic deleterious mutations in SMARCA4 characterize SCCOHT. Alterations in this gene, or the related SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling gene SMARCB1, have been previously reported in atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumors (ATRTs) and malignant rhabdoid tumors (MRTs). To further describe the somatic landscape of SCCOHT, we performed whole exome sequencing on 14 tumors and their matched normal tissues and compared their genomic alterations with those in ATRT and ovarian high grade serous carcinoma (HGSC). We confirmed that SMARCA4 is the only recurrently mutated gene in SCCOHT, and show that recurrent allelic imbalance is observed exclusively on chromosome 19p, where SMARCA4 resides. By comparing genomic alterations between SCCOHT, ATRT and HGSC, we demonstrate that SCCOHTs, like ATRTs, have a remarkably simple genome and harbor significantly fewer somatic protein-coding mutations and chromosomal alterations than HGSC. Furthermore, a comparison of global DNA methylation profiles of 45 SCCOHTs, 65 ATRTs, and 92 HGSCs demonstrates a strong epigenetic correlation between SCCOHT and ATRT. Our results further confirm that the genomic and epigenomic signatures of SCCOHT are more similar to those of ATRT than HGSC, supporting our previous hypothesis that SCCOHT is a rhabdoid tumor and should be renamed MRT of the ovary. Furthermore, we conclude that SMARCA4 inactivation is the main cause of SCCOHT, and that new distinct therapeutic approaches should be developed to specifically target this devastating tumor.


Herrlinger U.,University of Bonn | Jones D.T.W.,German Cancer Research Center | Jones D.T.W.,Core Center Heidelberg | Glas M.,University of Bonn | And 26 more authors.
Acta Neuropathologica | Year: 2016

Gliomatosis cerebri (GC) is presently considered a distinct astrocytic glioma entity according to the WHO classification for CNS tumors. It is characterized by widespread, typically bilateral infiltration of the brain involving three or more lobes. Genetic studies of GC have to date been restricted to the analysis of individual glioma-associated genes, which revealed mutations in the isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) and tumor protein p53 (TP53) genes in subsets of patients. Here, we report on a genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation and copy number aberrations in 25 GC patients. Results were compared with those obtained for 105 patients with various types of conventional, i.e., non-GC gliomas including diffuse astrocytic gliomas, oligodendrogliomas and glioblastomas. In addition, we assessed the prognostic role of methylation profiles and recurrent DNA copy number aberrations in GC patients. Our data reveal that the methylation profiles in 23 of the 25 GC tumors corresponded to either IDH mutant astrocytoma (n = 6), IDH mutant and 1p/19q codeleted oligodendroglioma (n = 5), or IDH wild-type glioblastoma including various molecular subgroups, i.e., H3F3A-G34 mutant (n = 1), receptor tyrosine kinase 1 (RTK1, n = 4), receptor tyrosine kinase 2 (classic) (RTK2, n = 2) or mesenchymal (n = 5) glioblastoma groups. Two tumors showed methylation profiles of normal brain tissue due to low tumor cell content. While histological grading (WHO grade IV vs. WHO grade II and III) was not prognostic, the molecular classification as classic/RTK2 or mesenchymal glioblastoma was associated with worse overall survival. Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed MGMT promoter methylation as a positive prognostic factor. Taken together, DNA-based large-scale molecular profiling indicates that GC comprises a genetically and epigenetically heterogeneous group of diffuse gliomas that carry DNA methylation and copy number profiles closely matching the common molecularly defined glioma entities. These data support the removal of GC as a distinct glioma entity in the upcoming revision of the WHO classification. © 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


PubMed | University of Bonn, University of Zürich, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Senckenberg Institute and 4 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Acta neuropathologica | Year: 2016

Gliomatosis cerebri (GC) is presently considered a distinct astrocytic glioma entity according to the WHO classification for CNS tumors. It is characterized by widespread, typically bilateral infiltration of the brain involving three or more lobes. Genetic studies of GC have to date been restricted to the analysis of individual glioma-associated genes, which revealed mutations in the isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) and tumor protein p53 (TP53) genes in subsets of patients. Here, we report on a genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation and copy number aberrations in 25 GC patients. Results were compared with those obtained for 105 patients with various types of conventional, i.e., non-GC gliomas including diffuse astrocytic gliomas, oligodendrogliomas and glioblastomas. In addition, we assessed the prognostic role of methylation profiles and recurrent DNA copy number aberrations in GC patients. Our data reveal that the methylation profiles in 23 of the 25 GC tumors corresponded to either IDH mutant astrocytoma (n=6), IDH mutant and 1p/19q codeleted oligodendroglioma (n=5), or IDH wild-type glioblastoma including various molecular subgroups, i.e., H3F3A-G34 mutant (n=1), receptor tyrosine kinase 1 (RTK1, n=4), receptor tyrosine kinase 2 (classic) (RTK2, n=2) or mesenchymal (n=5) glioblastoma groups. Two tumors showed methylation profiles of normal brain tissue due to low tumor cell content. While histological grading (WHO grade IV vs. WHO grade II and III) was not prognostic, the molecular classification as classic/RTK2 or mesenchymal glioblastoma was associated with worse overall survival. Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed MGMT promoter methylation as a positive prognostic factor. Taken together, DNA-based large-scale molecular profiling indicates that GC comprises a genetically and epigenetically heterogeneous group of diffuse gliomas that carry DNA methylation and copy number profiles closely matching the common molecularly defined glioma entities. These data support the removal of GC as a distinct glioma entity in the upcoming revision of the WHO classification.

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