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 displays tremendous biological and clinical heterogeneity1. 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 discriminated2,3. WNT tumours, displaying activated wingless pathway signalling, carry a favourable prognosis under current treatment regimens4. SHH tumours show hedgehog pathway activation, and have an intermediate prognosis2. Group 3 & 4 tumours are molecularly less well-characterised, and also present the greatest clinical challenges2,3,5. 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. Tetraploidy was identified as a frequent early event in Group 3 & 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 the first medulloblastoma fusion genes. 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 & 4 patients.
The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) is a collaborative effort to characterize genomic abnormalities in 50 different cancer types. To make this data available, the ICGC has created the ICGC Data Portal. Powered by the BioMart software, the Data Portal allows each ICGC member institution to manage and maintain its own databases locally, while seamlessly presenting all the data in a single access point for users. The Data Portal currently contains data from 24 cancer projects, including ICGC, The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), Johns Hopkins University, and the Tumor Sequencing Project. It consists of 3478 genomes and 13 cancer types and subtypes. Available open access data types include simple somatic mutations, copy number alterations, structural rearrangements, gene expression, microRNAs, DNA methylation and exon junctions. Additionally, simple germline variations are available as controlled access data. The Data Portal uses a web-based graphical user interface (GUI) to offer researchers multiple ways to quickly and easily search and analyze the available data. The web interface can assist in constructing complicated queries across multiple data sets. Several application programming interfaces are also available for programmatic access. Here we describe the organization, functionality, and capabilities of the ICGC Data Portal.
Database URL: http://dcc.icgc.org
In recent years, the development of structural genomics has generated a growing interest in obtaining haploid plants. The use of homozygous lines presents a significant advantage for the accomplishment of sequencing projects. Commercial citrus species are characterized by high heterozygosity, making it difficult to assemble large genome sequences. Thus, the International Citrus Genomic Consortium (ICGC) decided to establish a reference whole citrus genome sequence from a homozygous plant. Due to the existence of important molecular resources and previous success in obtaining haploid clementine plants, haploid clementine was selected as the target for the implementation of the reference whole genome citrus sequence.
To obtain haploid clementine lines we used the technique of in situ gynogenesis induced by irradiated pollen. Flow cytometry, chromosome counts and SSR marker (Simple Sequence Repeats) analysis facilitated the identification of six different haploid lines (2n = x = 9), one aneuploid line (2n = 2x+4 = 22) and one doubled haploid plant (2n = 2x = 18) of 'Clemenules' clementine. One of the haploids, obtained directly from an original haploid embryo, grew vigorously and produced flowers after four years. This is the first haploid plant of clementine that has bloomed and we have, for the first time, characterized the histology of haploid and diploid flowers of clementine. Additionally a double haploid plant was obtained spontaneously from this haploid line.
The first haploid plant of 'Clemenules' clementine produced directly by germination of a haploid embryo, which grew vigorously and produced flowers, has been obtained in this work. This haploid line has been selected and it is being used by the ICGC to establish the reference sequence of the nuclear genome of citrus.
Medulloblastoma is a heterogeneous pediatric brain tumor with significant therapy-related morbidity, its five-year survival rates ranging from 30% to 70%. Improvement in diagnosis and therapy requires better understanding of medulloblastoma pathology. We used whole-genome microarray analysis to identify putative tumor suppressor genes silenced by epigenetic mechanisms in medulloblastoma. This analysis yielded 714 up-regulated genes in immortalized medulloblastoma cell line D283 on treatment with histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA). Dickkopf-1 (DKK1), a Wnt antagonist, was found to be up-regulated on HDAC inhibition. We examined DKK1 expression in primary medulloblastoma cells and patient samples by reverse transcriptase PCR and found it to be significantly down-regulated relative to normal cerebellum. Transfection of a DKK1 gene construct into D283 cell lines suppressed medulloblastoma tumor growth in colony focus assays by 60% (P < 0.001). In addition, adenoviral vector– mediated expression of DKK1 in medulloblastoma cells increased apoptosis fourfold (P < 0.001). These data reveal that inappropriate histone modifications might deregulate DKK1 expression in medulloblastoma tumorigenesis and block its tumor-suppressive activity.
Dickkopf-1; epigenetic; histone deacetylation; medulloblastoma; tumor suppressor
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.
Although medulloblastoma is the most common pediatric malignant brain tumor, its molecular underpinnings are largely unknown. We have identified rare, recurrent homozygous deletions of Kruppel-like Factor 4 (KLF4) in medulloblastoma using high-resolution single nucleotide polymorphism arrays, digital karyotyping, and genomic real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Furthermore, we show that there is loss of physiological KLF4 expression in more than 40% of primary medulloblastomas both at the RNA and protein levels. Medulloblastoma cell lines drastically increase the expression of KLF4 in response to the demethylating agent 5-azacytidine and demonstrate dense methylation of the promoter CpG island by bisulfite sequencing. Methylation-specific PCR targeting the KLF4 promoter demonstrates CpG methylation in approximately 16% of primary medulloblastomas. Reexpression of KLF4 in the D283 medulloblastoma cell line results in significant growth suppression both in vitro and in vivo. We conclude that KLF4 is inactivated by either genetic or epigenetic mechanisms in a large subset of medulloblastomas and that it likely functions as a tumor suppressor gene in the pathogenesis of medulloblastoma.
Medulloblastomas are the most common malignant brain tumors in children1. Identifying and understanding the genetic events that drive these tumors is critical for the development of more effective diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic strategies. Recently, our group and others described distinct molecular subtypes of medulloblastoma based on transcriptional and copy number profiles2–5. Here, we utilized whole exome hybrid capture and deep sequencing to identify somatic mutations across the coding regions of 92 primary medulloblastoma/normal pairs. Overall, medulloblastomas exhibit low mutation rates consistent with other pediatric tumors, 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 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, novel findings in medulloblastoma. We show that mutant DDX3X potentiates transactivation of a TCF promoter and enhances cell viability in combination with mutant but not wild type beta-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 beta-catenin signaling in medulloblastoma.
Paroxysmal exercise-induced dyskinesia (PED) can occur in isolation or in association with epilepsy, but the genetic causes and pathophysiological mechanisms are still poorly understood. We performed a clinical evaluation and genetic analysis in a five-generation family with co-occurrence of PED and epilepsy (n = 39), suggesting that this combination represents a clinical entity. Based on a whole genome linkage analysis we screened SLC2A1, encoding the glucose transporter of the blood-brain-barrier, GLUT1 and identified heterozygous missense and frameshift mutations segregating in this and three other nuclear families with a similar phenotype. PED was characterized by choreoathetosis, dystonia or both, affecting mainly the legs. Predominant epileptic seizure types were primary generalized. A median CSF/blood glucose ratio of 0.52 (normal >0.60) in the patients and a reduced glucose uptake by mutated transporters compared with the wild-type as determined in Xenopus oocytes confirmed a pathogenic role of these mutations. Functional imaging studies implicated alterations in glucose metabolism in the corticostriate pathways in the pathophysiology of PED and in the frontal lobe cortex in the pathophysiology of epileptic seizures. Three patients were successfully treated with a ketogenic diet. In conclusion, co-occurring PED and epilepsy can be due to autosomal dominant heterozygous SLC2A1 mutations, expanding the phenotypic spectrum associated with GLUT1 deficiency and providing a potential new treatment option for this clinical syndrome.
GLUT1; paroxysmal dyskinesia; exercise-induced; GLUT1 deficiency syndrome; ketogenic diet
Subgrouping of medulloblastoma by microarray expression profiling has dramatically changed our perspective of this malignant childhood brain tumour. Now, the availability of next-generation sequencing and complementary high-density genomic technologies has unmasked novel driver mutations in each medulloblastoma subgroup. The implications of these findings for the management of patients are readily apparent, pinpointing previously unappreciated diagnostic and therapeutic targets. Here, we summarize the ’explosion’ of data emerging from the application of modern genomics to medulloblastoma, and in particular the recurrent targets of mutation in medulloblastoma subgroups. These data are making their way into contemporary clinical trials as we seek to integrate conventional and molecularly targeted therapies.
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.
Patients and 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.
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.
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.
Medulloblastoma is a malignant childhood brain tumour comprising four discrete subgroups. 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, e.g., regulators of H3K27 and H3K4 trimethylation in subgroup-3 and 4 (e.g., KDM6A and ZMYM3), and CTNNB1-associated chromatin remodellers in WNT-subgroup tumours (e.g., 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 tumourigenesis. These data provide important new insights into the pathogenesis of medulloblastoma subgroups and highlight targets for therapeutic development.
Enhancer of zeste homologue 2 (EZH2) is the catalytic subunit of Polycomb repressive complex 2 that catalyzes the trimethylation of histone H3 on Lys 27, and represses gene transcription. EZH2 enhances cancer-cell proliferation and regulates stem cell maintenance and differentiation. Here, we demonstrate that EZH2 is highly expressed in medulloblastoma, a highly malignant brain tumor of childhood, and this altered expression is correlated with genomic gain of chromosome 7 in a subset of medulloblastoma. Inhibition of EZH2 by RNAi suppresses medulloblastoma tumor cell growth. We show that 3-deazaneplanocin A, a chemical inhibitor of EZH2, can suppress medulloblastoma cell growth partially by inducing apoptosis. Suppression of EZH2 expression diminishes the ability of tumor cells to form spheres in culture and strongly represses the ability of known oncogenes to transform neural stem cells. These findings establish a role of EZH2 in medulloblastoma and identify EZH2 as a potential therapeutic target especially in high-risk tumors.
EZH2; Medulloblastoma; Polycomb repressive complex 2; histone lysine methylation; DZNEP
Medulloblastomas and supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumours are aggressive childhood tumours. We report our findings using array comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH) on a whole-genome BAC/PAC/cosmid array with a median clone separation of 0.97Mb to study 34 medulloblastomas and 7 supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumours. Array CGH allowed identification and mapping of numerous novel small regions of copy number change to genomic sequence, in addition to the large regions already known from previous studies. Novel amplifications were identified, some encompassing oncogenes, MYCL1, PDGFRA, KIT and MYB, not previously reported to show amplification in these tumours. In addition, one supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumour had lost both copies of the tumour suppressor genes CDKN2A & CDKN2B. Ten medulloblastomas had findings suggestive of isochromosome 17q. In contrast to previous reports using conventional CGH, array CGH identified three distinct breakpoints in these cases: Ch 17: 17940393-19251679 (17p11.2, n=6), Ch 17: 20111990-23308272 (17p11.2-17q11.2, n=4) and Ch 17: 38425359-39091575 (17q21.31, n=1). Significant differences were found in the patterns of copy number change between medulloblastomas and supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumours, providing further evidence that these tumours are genetically distinct despite their morphological and behavioural similarities.
Medulloblastoma; supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumour; array-CGH; genomic copy number
Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant pediatric brain tumour and mechanisms underlying its development are poorly understood. We identified recurrent amplification of the miR-17/92 polycistron proto-oncogene in 6% of pediatric medulloblastomas by high-resolution SNP genotyping arrays and subsequent interphase FISH on a human medulloblastoma tissue microarray. Profiling the expression of 427 mature microRNAs in a series of 90 primary human medulloblastomas revealed that components of the miR-17/92 polycistron are the most highly up-regulated microRNAs in medulloblastoma. Expression of miR-17/92 was highest in the subgroup of medulloblastomas associated with activation of the Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathway as compared to other subgroups of medulloblastoma. Medulloblastomas in which miR-17/92 was up-regulated also had elevated levels of MYC/MYCN expression. Consistent with its regulation by Shh, we observed that Shh treatment of primary cerebellar granule neuron precursors (CGNPs), proposed cells-of-origin for the Shh-associated medulloblastomas, resulted in increased miR-17/92 expression. In CGNPs, the Shh effector N-myc, but not Gli1, induced miR-17/92 expression. Ectopic miR-17/92 expression in CGNPs synergized with exogenous Shh to increase proliferation and also enabled them to proliferate in the absence of Shh. We conclude that miR-17/92 is a positive effector of Shh-mediated proliferation, and that aberrant expression/amplification of this miR confers a growth advantage to medulloblastomas.
medulloblastoma; miR-17/92; microRNA; sonic hedgehog; cerebellar neural precursor; N-myc
Medulloblastomas are malignant brain tumors that arise in the cerebellum in children and disseminate via the cerebrospinal fluid to the leptomeningeal spaces of the brain and spinal cord. Challenged by the poor prognosis for patients with metastatic dissemination, pediatric oncologists have developed aggressive treatment protocols, combining surgery, craniospinal radiation, and high-dose chemotherapy that often cause disabling neurotoxic effects in long-term survivors. Insights into the genetic control of medulloblastoma dissemination have come from transposon insertion mutagenesis studies. Mobilizing the Sleeping Beauty transposon in cerebellar neural progenitor cells caused widespread dissemination of typically nonmetastatic medulloblastomas in Patched+/− mice, in which Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) signaling is hyperactive. Candidate metastasis genes were identified by sequencing the insertion sites and then mapping these sequences back to the mouse genome. To determine whether genes located at transposon insertion sites directly caused medulloblastomas to disseminate, we overexpressed candidate genes in Nestin+ neural progenitors in the cerebella of mice by retroviral transfer in combination with Shh. We show here that ectopic expression of Eras, Lhx1, Ccrk, and Akt shifted the in vivo growth characteristics of Shh-induced medulloblastomas from a localized pattern to a disseminated pattern in which tumor cells seeded the leptomeningeal spaces of the brain and spinal cord.
medulloblastoma; metastasis; leptomeningeal dissemination
To address the hypothesis that medulloblastoma or supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor (sPNET) can arise through infection by polyomaviruses, we examined genomic DNA isolated from 15 primary medulloblastoma and 5 sPNET biopsy specimens and from 2 medulloblastoma cell lines for the presence of DNA sequences from the polyomaviruses simian virus 40 (SV40), JC virus, and BK virus. These polyomaviruses have oncogenic potential in animals, and their DNA sequences have been detected in other surveys of various solid tumors, including childhood brain tumors. The tumor DNA samples were analyzed by Southern blot hybridization of polymerase chain reaction products that employed probes designed to detect specific polyomavirus sequences. Neither JC virus nor BK virus DNA sequences were detected in any of the specimens. None of the primary medulloblastoma or sPNET specimens contained SV40 sequences. However, SV40 DNA coding and noncoding sequences were detected in the D283-Med (medulloblastoma) cell line. Immunocytochemical studies of D283-Med revealed nuclear expression of SV40 large T antigen. In contrast to childhood ependymomas and choroid plexus tumors, medulloblastomas and sPNETs infrequently express evidence of polyomavirus infection.
Medulloblastomas, the most common malignant pediatric brain tumors, are comprised of four molecularly distinct subtypes. However, treatment has yet to exploit these molecular vulnerabilities. Three recent studies sequenced a total of 310 primary tumors and identified that two of the four medulloblastoma subtypes are concomitantly associated with subtype-specific mutations as previously characterized. In contrast, the overwhelming majority of mutations occurred only once in the entire cohort and just 12 genes were recurrently mutated with statistical significance. Perturbations in epigenetic regulation are emerging as a unifying theme in cancer and similarly recurring mutations in epigenetic mechanisms were distributed across all subtypes in medulloblastoma. Designing targeted therapies to such a molecularly diverse disease in the post-genomic era presents new challenges. This will require novel methods to link these nonrecurrent mutations into pathways, and preclinical models that faithfully recapitulate patient driver events. Presently, medulloblastoma reinforces epigenetic mechanisms as a tantalizing therapeutic target in cancers.
cerebellum; chromatin; epigenetics; epigenomics; medulloblastoma; Swi/Snf; systems biology
Cancer genomics projects employ high-throughput technologies to identify the complete catalog of somatic alterations that characterize the genome, transcriptome and epigenome of cohorts of tumor samples. Examples include projects carried out by the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). A crucial step in the extraction of knowledge from the data is the exploration by experts of the different alterations, as well as the multiple relationships between them. To that end, the use of intuitive visualization tools that can integrate different types of alterations with clinical data is essential to the field of cancer genomics. Here, we review effective and common visualization techniques for exploring oncogenomics data and discuss a selection of tools that allow researchers to effectively visualize multidimensional oncogenomics datasets. The review covers visualization methods employed by tools such as Circos, Gitools, the Integrative Genomics Viewer, Cytoscape, Savant Genome Browser, StratomeX and platforms such as cBio Cancer Genomics Portal, IntOGen, the UCSC Cancer Genomics Browser, the Regulome Explorer and the Cancer Genome Workbench.
Central nervous system primitive neuroectodermal tumor (CNS PNET) and pineoblastoma are highly malignant embryonal brain tumors with poor prognoses. Current therapies are based on the treatment of pediatric medulloblastoma, even though these tumors are distinct at both the anatomical and molecular level. CNS PNET and pineoblastoma have a worse clinical outcome than medulloblastoma; thus, improved therapies based on an understanding of the underlying biology of CNS PNET and pineoblastoma are needed. To this end, we characterized the genomic alterations of 36 pediatric CNS PNETs and 8 pineoblastomas using Affymetrix single nucleotide polymorphism arrays. Overall, the majority of CNS PNETs contained a greater degree of genomic imbalance than pineoblastomas, with gain of 19p (8 [27.6%] of 29), 2p (7 [24.1%] of 29), and 1q (6 [20.7%] of 29) common events in primary CNS PNETs. Novel gene copy number alterations were identified and corroborated by Genomic Identification of Significant Targets In Cancer (GISTIC) analysis: gain of PCDHGA3, 5q31.3 in 62.1% of primary CNS PNETs and all primary pineoblastomas and FAM129A, 1q25 in 55.2% of primary CNS PNETs and 50% of primary pineoblastomas. Comparison of our GISTIC data with publically available data for medulloblastoma confirmed these CNS PNET–specific copy number alterations. With use of the collection of 5 primary and recurrent CNS PNET pairs, we found that gain of 2p21 was maintained at relapse in 80% of cases. Novel gene copy number losses included OR4C12, 11p11.12 in 48.2% of primary CNS PNETs and 50% of primary pineoblastomas. Loss of CDKN2A/B (9p21.3) was identified in 14% of primary CNS PNETs and was significantly associated with older age among children (P = .05). CADPS, 3p14.2 was lost in 27.6% of primary CNS PNETs and was associated with poor prognosis (P = .043). This genome-wide analysis revealed the marked molecular heterogeneity of CNS PNETs and enabled the identification of novel genes and clinical associations potentially involved in the pathogenesis of these tumors.
CDKN2A/CDKN2B; CNS PNET; copy number imbalance; pineoblastoma; SNP array
The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) was launched to coordinate large-scale cancer genome studies in tumors from 50 different cancer types and/or subtypes that are of clinical and societal importance across the globe. Systematic studies of over 25,000 cancer genomes at the genomic, epigenomic, and transcriptomic levels will reveal the repertoire of oncogenic mutations, uncover traces of the mutagenic influences, define clinically-relevant subtypes for prognosis and therapeutic management, and enable the development of new cancer therapies.
Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in children. A subset of medulloblastoma originates from granule cell precursors (GCPs) of the developing cerebellum and demonstrates aberrant hedgehog signaling, typically due to inactivating mutations in the receptor PTCH1, a pathomechanism recapitulated in Ptch1+/− mice. As nitric oxide may regulate GCP proliferation and differentiation, we crossed Ptch1+/− mice with mice lacking inducible nitric oxide synthase (Nos2) to investigate a possible influence on tumorigenesis. We observed a two-fold higher medulloblastoma rate in Ptch1+/− Nos2−/− mice compared to Ptch1+/− Nos2+/+ mice. To identify the molecular mechanisms underlying this finding, we performed gene expression profiling of medulloblastomas from both genotypes, as well as normal cerebellar tissue samples of different developmental stages and genotypes. Downregulation of hedgehog target genes was observed in postnatal cerebellum from Ptch1+/+ Nos2−/− mice but not from Ptch1+/− Nos2−/− mice. The most consistent effect of Nos2 deficiency was downregulation of growth-associated protein 43 (Gap43). Functional studies in neuronal progenitor cells demonstrated nitric oxide dependence of Gap43 expression and impaired migration upon Gap43 knock-down. Both effects were confirmed in situ by immunofluorescence analyses on tissue sections of the developing cerebellum. Finally, the number of proliferating GCPs at the cerebellar periphery was decreased in Ptch1+/+ Nos2−/− mice but increased in Ptch1+/− Nos2−/− mice relative to Ptch1+/− Nos2+/+ mice. Taken together, these results indicate that Nos2 deficiency promotes medulloblastoma development in Ptch1+/− mice through retention of proliferating GCPs in the external granular layer due to reduced Gap43 expression. This study illustrates a new role of nitric oxide signaling in cerebellar development and demonstrates that the localization of pre-neoplastic cells during morphogenesis is crucial for their malignant progression.
Medulloblastoma is a common pediatric brain tumor, a subtype of which is driven by aberrant hedgehog pathway activation in cerebellar granule cell precursors. Although this tumor etiology has been intensively investigated in the well-established Ptch1+/− mouse model, knowledge is still lacking about the molecular interactions between neoplastic transformation and other developmental processes. Nitric oxide (NO) has been reported to be involved in controlling proliferation and differentiation of these cells. Therefore, inactivation of the NO–producing enzyme Nos2 in combination with the mutated Ptch1 gene should provide insight into how developmental regulation influences pathogenesis. Here, we describe a new role for NO in developing neuronal precursors of the cerebellum facilitating physiologically accurate migration via regulation of Gap43. We further demonstrate that disturbance of these processes leads to retention of granule precursor cells to the cerebellar periphery. Together with the sustained proliferation of these cells in combined Ptch1+/− Nos2−/− mice, this effect results in an increased medulloblastoma incidence relative to Ptch1+/− mice and demonstrates a new disease-promoting mechanism in this tumor entity.
Telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) promoter mutations were recently shown to drive telomerase activity in various cancer types, including medulloblastoma. However, the clinical and biological implications of TERT mutations in medulloblastoma have not been described. Hence, we sought to describe these mutations and their impact in a subgroup-specific manner. We analyzed the TERT promoter by direct sequencing and genotyping in 466 medulloblastomas. The mutational distributions were determined according to subgroup affiliation, demographics, and clinical, prognostic, and molecular features. Integrated genomics approaches were used to identify specific somatic copy number alterations in TERT promoter-mutated and wild-type tumors. Overall, TERT promoter mutations were identified in 21 % of medulloblastomas. Strikingly, the highest frequencies of TERT mutations were observed in SHH (83 %; 55/66) and WNT (31 %; 4/13) medulloblastomas derived from adult patients. Group 3 and Group 4 harbored this alteration in <5 % of cases and showed no association with increased patient age. The prognostic implications of these mutations were highly subgroup-specific. TERT mutations identified a subset with good and poor prognosis in SHH and Group 4 tumors, respectively. Monosomy 6 was mostly restricted to WNT tumors without TERT mutations. Hallmark SHH focal copy number aberrations and chromosome 10q deletion were mutually exclusive with TERT mutations within SHH tumors. TERT promoter mutations are the most common recurrent somatic point mutation in medulloblastoma, and are very highly enriched in adult SHH and WNT tumors. TERT mutations define a subset of SHH medulloblastoma with distinct demographics, cytogenetics, and outcomes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00401-013-1198-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
TERT promoter mutations; SHH pathway; Adult; Medulloblastoma
Desmoplasia in medulloblastoma is often diagnosed in adult patients and was repeatedly associated with improved results. Today, all medulloblastoma patients receive intensive multimodal treatment including surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. This study was set up to investigate treatment outcome and prognostic factors after radiation therapy in patients with desmoplastic medulloblastomas.
Twenty patients treated for desmoplastic medulloblastoma in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Heidelberg between 1984 and 2007 were included. Data were collected retrospectively. Tumor resection was performed in all patients. All patients underwent postsurgical radiotherapy (RT). Two patients underwent whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT), and 18 patients received craniospinal irradiation (CSI). In all patients, an additional boost was delivered to the posterior fossa. The median dose to the whole brain and the craniospinal axis was 35.2 Gray (Gy), and 54.4 Gy to the posterior fossa. Fourteen patients received chemotherapy, including seven who were treated with combined radiochemotherapy and twelve who received adjuvant chemotherapy. Statistical analysis was performed using the log-rank test and the Kaplan-Meier method.
Median follow-up was 59 months. Overall (OS), local (LPFS) and distant progression-free survival (DPFS) was 80%, 71.2%, and 83.3% at 60 months. Patients who suffered from local or distant relapses had significantly worse outcome. Five patients died from recurrent medulloblastoma. Treatment-associated toxicity was acceptable.
Multimodal approaches with surgical resection followed by chemoirradiation achieved high response rates with long OS in desmoplastic medulloblastoma patients. Staging parameters expected to predict for poor prognosis did not significantly influence outcome. However, success of any first line regimen had strong impact on disease control, and remission was achieved in no patient with relapsing disease. Multimodal concepts must be evaluated in further clinical trials.
p53 mutations are relatively uncommon in medulloblastoma, but abnormalities in this cell cycle pathway have been associated with anaplasia and worse clinical outcomes. We correlated p53 protein expression with pathological subtype and clinical outcome in 75 embryonal brain tumors. The presence of JC virus, which results in p53 protein accumulation, was also examined.
p53 protein levels were evaluated semi-quantitatively in 64 medulloblastomas, 3 atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors (ATRT), and 8 supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumors (sPNET) using immunohistochemistry. JC viral sequences were analyzed in DNA extracted from 33 frozen medulloblastoma and PNET samples using quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
p53 expression was detected in 18% of non-anaplastic medulloblastomas, 45% of anaplastic medulloblastomas, 67% of ATRT, and 88% of sPNET. The increased p53 immunoreactivity in anaplastic medulloblastoma, ATRT, and sPNET was statistically significant. Log rank analysis of clinical outcome revealed significantly shorter survival in patients with p53 immunopositive embryonal tumors. No JC virus was identified in the embryonal brain tumor samples, while an endogenous human retrovirus (ERV-3) was readily detected.
Immunoreactivity for p53 protein is more common in anaplastic medulloblastomas, ATRT and sPNET than in non-anaplastic tumors, and is associated with worse clinical outcomes. However, JC virus infection is not responsible for increased levels of p53 protein.
Outbreak of V. parahaemolyticus infections occurred since 1996 was linked to a proposed clonal complex, the pandemic group. The whole genome sequence provides an unprecedented opportunity for dissecting genome plasticity and phylogeny of the populations of V. parahaemolyticus. In the present work, a whole-genome cDNA microarray was constructed to compare the genomic contents of a collection of 174 strains of V. parahaemolyticus.
Genes that present variably in the genome accounted for about 22% of the whole gene pool on the genome. The phylogenetic analysis of microarray data generated a minimum spanning tree that depicted the phylogenetic structure of the 174 strains. Strains were assigned into five complexes (C1 to C5), and those in each complex were related genetically and phylogenetically. C3 and C4 represented highly virulent clinical clones. C2 and C3 constituted two different clonal complexes 'old-O3:K6 clone' and 'pandemic clone', respectively. C3 included all the 39 pandemic strains tested (trh-, tdh+ and GS-PCR+), while C2 contained 12 pre-1996 'old' O3:K6 strains (trh+, tdh- and GS-PCR-) tested herein. The pandemic clone (post-1996 'new' O3:K6 and its derivates O4:K68, O1:K25, O1:KUT and O6:K18) might be emerged from the old-O3:K6 clone, which was promoted by acquisition of toxRS/new sequence and genomic islands. A phylogenetic intermediate O3:K6 clade (trh-, tdh- and GS-PCR+) was identified between the pandemic and old-O3:K6 clones.
A comprehensive overview of genomic contents in a large collection of global isolates from the microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization data enabled us to construct a phylogenetic structure of V. parahaemolyticus and an evolutionary history of the pandemic group (clone) of this pathogen.