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Schwalbe E.C.,Northumbria University | Williamson D.,Northumbria University | Lindsey J.C.,Northumbria University | Hamilton D.,Northumbria University | And 12 more authors.
Acta Neuropathologica | Year: 2013

Molecular subclassification is rapidly informing the clinical management of medulloblastoma. However, the disease remains associated with poor outcomes and therapy-associated late effects, and the majority of patients are not characterized by a validated prognostic biomarker. Here, we investigated the potential of epigenetic DNA methylation for disease subclassification, particularly in formalin-fixed biopsies, and to identify biomarkers for improved therapeutic individualization. Tumor DNA methylation profiles were assessed, alongside molecular and clinical disease features, in 230 patients primarily from the SIOP-UKCCSG PNET3 clinical trial. We demonstrate by cross-validation in frozen training and formalin-fixed test sets that medulloblastoma comprises four robust DNA methylation subgroups (termed WNT, SHH, G3 and G4), highly related to their transcriptomic counterparts, and which display distinct molecular, clinical and pathological disease characteristics. WNT patients displayed an expected favorable prognosis, while outcomes for SHH, G3 and G4 were equivalent in our cohort. MXI1 and IL8 methylation were identified as novel independent high-risk biomarkers in cross-validated survival models of non-WNT patients, and were validated using non-array methods. Incorporation of MXI1 and IL8 into current survival models significantly improved the assignment of disease risk; 46 % of patients could be classified as 'favorable risk' (>90 % survival) compared to 13 % using current models, while the high-risk group was reduced from 30 to 16 %. DNA methylation profiling enables the robust subclassification of four disease subgroups in frozen and routinely collected/archival formalin-fixed biopsy material, and the incorporation of DNA methylation biomarkers can significantly improve disease-risk stratification. These findings have important implications for future risk-adapted clinical disease management. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Jacob K.,McGill University | Quang-Khuong D.-A.,McGill University | Jones D.T.W.,German Cancer Research Center | Jones D.T.W.,University of Cambridge | And 22 more authors.
Clinical Cancer Research | Year: 2011

Purpose: Oncogenic BRAF/Ras or NF1 loss can potentially trigger oncogene-induced senescence (OIS) through activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. Somatic genetic abnormalities affecting this pathway occur in the majority of pilocytic astrocytomas (PA), the most prevalent brain neoplasm in children. We investigated whether OIS is induced in PA. Experimental Design: We tested expression of established senescence markers in three independent cohorts of sporadic PA. We also assessed for OIS in vitro, using forced expression of wild-type and V600Emutant BRAF in two astrocytic cell lines: human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT)-immortalized astrocytes and fetal astrocytes. Results: Our results indicate that PAs are senescent as evidenced by marked senescence-associated acidic b-galactosidase activity, low KI-67 index, and induction of p16 INK4a but not p53 in the majority of 52 PA samples (46 of 52; 88.5%). Overexpression of a number of senescence-associated genes [CDKN2A (p16), CDKN1A (p21), CEBPB, GADD45A, and IGFBP7] was shown at the mRNA level in two independent PA tumor series. In vitro, sustained activation of wild-type or mutant BRAF induced OIS in both astrocytic cell lines. Loss of p16 INK4a in immortalized astrocytes abrogated OIS, indicative of the role of this pathway in mediating this phenomenon in astrocytes. OIS is a mechanism of tumor suppression that restricts the progression of benign tumors. We show that it is triggered in PAs through p16 INK4a pathway induction following aberrant MAPK activation. Conclusions: OIS may account for the slow growth pattern in PA, the lack of progression to higher-grade astrocytomas, and the high overall survival of affected patients. ©2011 AACR.

Ramaswamy V.,Hospital for Sick Children | Ramaswamy V.,Labatt Brain Tumour Research Center | Ramaswamy V.,University of Toronto | Remke M.,Hospital for Sick Children | And 59 more authors.
The Lancet Oncology | Year: 2013

Background: Recurrent medulloblastoma is a therapeutic challenge because it is almost always fatal. Studies have confirmed that medulloblastoma consists of at least four distinct subgroups. We sought to delineate subgroup-specific differences in medulloblastoma recurrence patterns. Methods: We retrospectively identified a discovery cohort of all recurrent medulloblastomas at the Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto, ON, Canada) from 1994 to 2012 (cohort 1), and established molecular subgroups using a nanoString-based assay on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues or frozen tissue. The anatomical site of recurrence (local tumour bed or leptomeningeal metastasis), time to recurrence, and survival after recurrence were assessed in a subgroup-specific manner. Two independent, non-overlapping cohorts (cohort 2: samples from patients with recurrent medulloblastomas from 13 centres worldwide, obtained between 1991 and 2012; cohort 3: samples from patients with recurrent medulloblastoma obtained at the NN Burdenko Neurosurgical Institute [Moscow, Russia] between 1994 and 2011) were analysed to confirm and validate observations. When possible, molecular subgrouping was done on tissue obtained from both the initial surgery and at recurrence. Results: Cohort 1 consisted of 30 patients with recurrent medulloblastomas; nine with local recurrences, and 21 with metastatic recurrences. Cohort 2 consisted of 77 patients and cohort 3 of 96 patients with recurrent medulloblastoma. Subgroup affiliation remained stable at recurrence in all 34 cases with available matched primary and recurrent pairs (five pairs from cohort 1 and 29 pairs from cohort 2 [15 SHH, five group 3, 14 group 4]). This finding was validated in 17 pairs from cohort 3. When analysed in a subgroup-specific manner, local recurrences in cohort 1 were more frequent in SHH tumours (eight of nine [89%]) and metastatic recurrences were more common in group 3 and group 4 tumours (17 of 20 [85%] with one WNT, p=0·0014, local vs metastatic recurrence, SHH vs group 3 vs group 4). The subgroup-specific location of recurrence was confirmed in cohort 2 (p=0·0013 for local vs metastatic recurrence, SHH vs group 3 vs group 4,), and cohort 3 (p<0·0001). Treatment with craniospinal irradiation at diagnosis was not significantly associated with the anatomical pattern of recurrence. Survival after recurrence was significantly longer in patients with group 4 tumours in cohort 1 (p=0·013) than with other subgroups, which was confirmed in cohort 2 (p=0·0075), but not cohort 3 (p=0·70). Interpretation: Medulloblastoma does not change subgroup at the time of recurrence, reinforcing the stability of the four main medulloblastoma subgroups. Significant differences in the location and timing of recurrence across medulloblastoma subgroups have potential treatment ramifications. Specifically, intensified local (posterior fossa) therapy should be tested in the initial treatment of patients with SHH tumours. Refinement of therapy for patients with group 3 or group 4 tumours should focus on metastases. Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, National Institutes of Health, Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, Garron Family Chair in Childhood Cancer Research at The Hospital for Sick Children and The University of Toronto. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Perreault S.,Stanford University | Perreault S.,University of Montreal | Ramaswamy V.,Hospital for Sick Children | Ramaswamy V.,Labatt Brain Tumour Research Center | And 19 more authors.
American Journal of Neuroradiology | Year: 2014

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Recently identified molecular subgroups of medulloblastoma have shown potential for improved risk stratification. We hypothesized that distinct MR imaging features can predict these subgroups. MATERIALS AND METHODS: All patients with a diagnosis of medulloblastoma at one institution, with both pretherapy MR imaging and surgical tissue, served as the discovery cohort (n = 47). MR imaging features were assessed by 3 blinded neuroradiologists. NanoString-based assay of tumor tissues was conducted to classify the tumors into the 4 established molecular subgroups (wingless, sonic hedgehog, group 3, and group 4). A second pediatric medulloblastoma cohort (n = 52) from an independent institution was used for validation of the MR imaging features predictive of the molecular subtypes. RESULTS: Logistic regression analysis within the discovery cohort revealed tumor location (P < .001) and enhancement pattern (P = .001) to be significant predictors of medulloblastoma subgroups. Stereospecific computational analyses confirmed that group 3 and 4 tumors predominated within the midline fourth ventricle (100%, P = .007), wingless tumors were localized to the cerebellar peduncle/cerebellopontine angle cistern with a positive predictive value of 100% (95% CI, 30%-100%), and sonic hedgehog tumors arose in the cerebellar hemispheres with a positive predictive value of 100% (95% CI, 59%-100%). Midline group 4 tumors presented with minimal/no enhancement with a positive predictive value of 91% (95% CI, 59%-98%). When we used the MR imaging feature-based regression model, 66% of medulloblastomas were correctly predicted in the discovery cohort, and 65%, in the validation cohort. CONCLUSIONS: Tumor location and enhancement pattern were predictive of molecular subgroups of pediatric medulloblastoma and may potentially serve as a surrogate for genomic testing.

MacK S.C.,Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research | MacK S.C.,University of Toronto | MacK S.C.,101 College St | Witt H.,German Cancer Research Center | And 17 more authors.
Brain Pathology | Year: 2013

Ependymoma is the third most common pediatric brain tumor, yet because of the paucity of effective therapeutic interventions, 45% of patients remain incurable. Recent transcriptional and copy number profiling of the disease has identified few driver genes and in fact points to a balanced genomic profile. Candidate gene approaches looking at hypermethylated promoters and genome-wide epigenetic arrays suggest that DNA methylation may be critical to ependymoma pathogenesis. This review attempts to highlight existing and emerging evidence implicating the ependymoma epigenome as a key player and that epigenetic modifiers may offer new targeted therapeutic avenues for patients. © 2013 International Society of Neuropathology.

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