Gene amplification at chromosome 4q12 is a common alteration in human high grade gliomas including glioblastoma, a CNS tumour with consistently poor prognosis. This locus harbours the known oncogenes encoding the receptor tyrosine kinases PDGFRA, KIT, and VEGFR2. These receptors are potential targets for novel therapeutic intervention in these diseases, with expression noted in tumour cells and/or associated vasculature. Despite this, a detailed assessment of their relative contributions to different high grade glioma histologies and the underlying heterogeneity within glioblastoma has been lacking. We studied 342 primary high grade gliomas for individual gene amplification using specific FISH probes, as well as receptor expression in the tumour and endothelial cells by immunohistochemistry, and correlated our findings with specific tumour cell morphological types and patterns of vasculature. We identified amplicons which encompassed PDGFRA only, PDGFRA/KIT, and PDGFRA/KIT/VEGFR2, with distinct phenotypic correlates. Within glioblastoma specimens, PDGFRA amplification alone was linked to oligodendroglial, small cell and sarcomatous tumour cell morphologies, and rare MGMT promoter methylation. A younger age at diagnosis and better clinical outcome in glioblastoma patients is only seen when PDGFRA and KIT are co-amplified. IDH1 mutation was only found when all three genes are amplified; this is a subgroup which also harbours extensive MGMT promoter methylation. Whilst PDGFRA amplification was tightly linked to tumour expression of the receptor, this was not the case for KIT or VEGFR2. Thus we have identified differential patterns of gene amplification and expression of RTKs at the 4q12 locus to be associated with specific phenotypes which may reflect their distinct underlying mechanisms.
Western clover (Trifolium occidentale) is a perennial herb with characteristics compatible for its development as an attractive model species for genomics studies relating to the forage legume, white clover (Trifolium repens). Its characteristics such as a small diploid genome, self-fertility and ancestral contribution of one of the genomes of T. repens, facilitates its use as a model for genetic analysis of plants transformed with legume or novel genes.
In this study, a reproducible transformation protocol was established following screening of T. occidentale accessions originating from England, Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal. The protocol is based upon infection of cotyledonary explants dissected from mature seed with the Agrobacterium tumefaciens strain GV3101 carrying vectors which contain the bar selection marker gene. Transformation frequencies of up to 7.5% were achieved in 9 of the 17 accessions tested. Transformed plants were verified by PCR and expression of the gusA reporter gene, while integration of the T-DNA was confirmed by Southern blot hybridisation and segregation of progeny in the T1 generation.
Development of this protocol provides a valuable contribution toward establishing T. occidentale as a model species for white clover. This presents opportunities for further improvement in white clover through the application of biotechnology.
Agrobacterium-mediated transformation; Trifolium occidentale; Genetic transformation; Organogenic regeneration; Accession
White clover (Trifolium repens L.) is a temperate forage legume with an allotetraploid genome (2n=4×=32) estimated at 1093 Mb. Several linkage maps of various sizes, marker sources and completeness are available, however, no integrated map and marker set has explored consistency of linkage analysis among unrelated mapping populations. Such integrative analysis requires tools for homoeologue matching among populations. Development of these tools provides for a consistent framework map of the white clover genome, and facilitates in silico alignment with the model forage legume, Medicago truncatula.
This is the first report of integration of independent linkage maps in white clover, and adds to the literature on methyl filtered GeneThresher®-derived microsatellite (simple sequence repeat; SSR) markers for linkage mapping. Gene-targeted SSR markers were discovered in a GeneThresher® (TrGT) methyl-filtered database of 364,539 sequences, which yielded 15,647 SSR arrays. Primers were designed for 4,038 arrays and of these, 465 TrGT-SSR markers were used for parental consensus genetic linkage analysis in an F1 mapping population (MP2). This was merged with an EST-SSR consensus genetic map of an independent population (MP1), using markers to match homoeologues and develop a multi-population integrated map of the white clover genome. This integrated map (IM) includes 1109 loci based on 804 SSRs over 1274 cM, covering 97% of the genome at a moderate density of one locus per 1.2 cM. Eighteen candidate genes and one morphological marker were also placed on the IM. Despite being derived from disparate populations and marker sources, the component maps and the derived IM had consistent representations of the white clover genome for marker order and genetic length. In silico analysis at an E-value threshold of 1e-20 revealed substantial co-linearity with the Medicago truncatula genome, and indicates a translocation between T. repens groups 2 and 6 relative to M. truncatula.
This integrated genetic linkage analysis provides a consistent and comprehensive linkage analysis of the white clover genome, with alignment to a model forage legume. Associated marker locus information, particularly the homoeologue-specific markers, offers a new resource for forage legume research to enable genetic analysis and improvement of this forage and grassland species.
Legume; Trifolium repens; Linkage; Microsatellite; SSR; GeneThresher®; Allotetraploid; Homoeologue; Medicago truncatula; Synteny
Tumor vasculature is a promising therapeutic target in glioblastoma. Imaging tumor blood flow may help assess the efficacy of anti-angiogenic treatments. We determined the clinical usefulness of stable xenon CT performed preoperatively in patients with glioblastoma. This is a prospective cohort study. We determined absolute tumor blood flow before surgery in 38 patients with glioblastoma using stable xenon CT. We also histologically examined tumor specimens obtained from surgery and quantified their vascularity (by CD31 and CD105 immunostain), necrosis (by hematoxylin and eosin stain), and the presence of neuronal processes (by neurofilament immunostain). According to the xenon CT blood flow map, there are 3 types of glioblastoma. Type I glioblastomas have unimodal high blood flow histograms; histologically there is little necrosis and vascular proliferation. Type II glioblastomas have unimodal low blood flow histograms; histologically there is prominent necrosis and vascular proliferation. We propose that in type II glioblastoma, the abnormal vessels induced by hypoxia are inefficient at promoting blood flow. Type III glioblastomas have multimodal blood flow histograms. Histologically there is significant neuronal tissue within the tumor. Patients with type III glioblastomas were more likely to develop a post-surgical deficit, consistent with the inclusion of normal tissue within the tumor. Preoperative measurement of absolute blood flow with stable xenon CT in patients with glioblastoma predicts key biological features of the tumor and may aid surgical planning.
cerebral blood flow; glioblastoma; microvessel density; necrosis; xenon CT
♦ Background: For the treatment of peritoneal dialysis–associated peritonitis (PDP), it has been suggested that serum concentrations of vancomycin be kept above 12 mg/L – 15 mg/L. However, studies correlating vancomycin concentrations in serum and peritoneal dialysate effluent (PDE) during active infection are sparse. We undertook the present study to investigate this issue and to determine whether achieving the recommended serum level of vancomycin results in therapeutic levels intraperitoneally.
♦ Methods: We studied patients treated with intraperitoneal (IP) vancomycin for non-gram-negative PDP. We gave a single dose (approximately 30 mg/kg) at presentation, and we subsequently measured vancomycin levels in PDE on day 5; we wanted to determine if efflux of vancomycin from serum to PDE during a 4-hour dwell was consistent and resulted in therapeutic levels.
♦ Results: Of the 48 episodes of PDP studied, serum vancomycin concentrations exceeding 12 mg/L were achieved in 98% of patients, but in 11 patients (23%), a PDE vancomycin level below 4 mg/L—the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of many gram-positive organisms—was observed at the end of a 4-hour dwell on day 5. The correlation between the concentrations of vancomycin in serum and PDE (from efflux of antibiotic over 4 hours) was statistically significant, but poor (R2 = 0.18).
♦ Conclusions: Our data support the International Society for Peritoneal Dialysis statement that adequate serum vancomycin concentrations can be achieved with intermittent dosing (single dose every 5 days), but cannot guarantee therapeutic PDE levels in the treatment of PDP. Intermittent dosing of vancomycin may not consistently result in PDE concentrations markedly greater than MIC of many important pathogens. Although the clinical significance of this finding remains to be determined, it may be preferable to give smaller but more frequent doses of PDE vancomycin (continuous dosing) for adults with PDP (as is currently recommended for children).
Peritonitis; pharmacokinetics; vancomycin
Childhood Central Nervous System Primitive Neuro-Ectodermal brain Tumours (CNS-PNETs) are highly aggressive brain tumours for which molecular features and best therapeutic strategy remains unknown. We interrogated a large cohort of these rare tumours in order to identify molecular markers that will enhance clinical management of CNS-PNET.
Transcriptional and copy number profiles from primary hemispheric CNS-PNETs were examined using clustering, gene and pathways enrichment analyses to discover tumour sub-groups and group-specific molecular markers. Immuno-histochemical and/or gene expression analyses were used to validate and examine the clinical significance of novel sub-group markers in 123 primary CNS-PNETs.
Three molecular sub-groups of CNS-PNETs distinguished by primitive neural (Group 1), oligo-neural (Group 2) and mesenchymal lineage (Group 3) gene expression signature were identified. Tumour sub-groups exhibited differential expression of cell lineage markers, LIN28 and OLIG2, and correlated with distinct demographics, survival and metastatic incidence. Group 1 tumours affected primarily younger females; male: female ratios were respectively 0.61 (median age 2.9 years; 95% CI: 2.4–5.2; p≤ 0.005), 1.25 (median age 7.9 years; 95% CI: 6–9.7) and 1.63 (median age 5.9 years; 95% CI: 4.9–7.8) for group 1, 2 and 3 patients. Overall outcome was poorest in group 1 patients which had a median survival of 0.8 years (95% CI: 0.47–1.2; p=0.019) as compared to 1.8 years (95% CI: 1.4–2.3) and 4.3 years; (95% CI: 0.82–7.8) respectively for group 2 and 3 patients. Group 3 tumours had the highest incidence of metastases at diagnosis; M0: M+ ratio were respectively 0.9 and 3.9 for group 3, versus group 1 and 2 tumours combined (p=0.037).
LIN28 and OLIG2 represent highly promising, novel diagnostic and prognostic molecular markers for CNS PNET that warrants further evaluation in prospective clinical trials.
Glioblastoma is a highly aggressive tumour with marked heterogeneity at the morphological level in both the tumour cells and the associated highly prominent vasculature. As we begin to develop an increased biological insight into the underlying processes driving the disease, fewer attempts have thus far been made to understand these phenotypic differences. We sought to address this by carefully assessing the morphological characteristics of both the tumour cells and the associated vasculature, relating these observations to the IDH1/MGMT status, with a particular focus on the early onset population of young adults who develop primary glioblastoma. 276 primary glioblastoma specimens were classified into their predominant cell morphological type (fibrillary, gemistocytic, giant cell, small cell, oligodendroglial, sarcomatous), and assessed for specific tumour (cellularity, necrosis, palisades) and vascular features (glomeruloid structures, arcades, pericyte proliferation). IDH1 positive glioblastomas were associated with a younger age at diagnosis, better clinical outcome, prominent oligodendroglial and small cell tumour cell morphology, pallisading necrosis and glomeruloid vascular proliferation in the absence of arcade-like structures. These features widen the phenotype of IDH1 mutation-positive primary glioblastoma in young adults and provide correlative evidence for a functional role of mutant IDH1 in the differential nature of neo-angiogenesis in different subtypes of glioblastoma.
The combination of fish oil-derived docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6, n-3) and butyrate (4:0), a fiber fermentation product, synergize to enhance colonocyte apoptosis by inducing a p53-independent, oxidation sensitive, mitochondrial Ca2+-dependent (intrinsic) pathway.
In this study, we probed the specificity of n-6 and n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid induction of Ca2+-dependent proapoptotic events in immortalized YAMC colonocytes. We also determined whether combinations of polyunsaturated fatty acid and butyrate trigger endoplasmic stress (ER) stress conditions, thereby promoting mitochondrial Ca2+ overload. Cultures were treated with 0–50 μM of DHA (22:6, n-3), EPA (20:5, n-3), AA (20:4, n-6), LA (18:2, n-6) or OA (18:1, n-9) for a total of 72 h ± RU-360, to inhibit the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter, for 30 min prior to butyrate (0 or 5 mM) co-treatment.
DHA and butyrate combination maximally induced apoptosis and mitochondrial-to-cytosolic Ca2+ levels. In comparison, EPA, a precursor to DHA, was minimally effective. Similarly, AA and OA in combination with butyrate had no effect on mitochondrial Ca2+ or apoptosis compared to butyrate alone. DHA ± butyrate co-treatment minimally altered ER stress regulated genes, CHOP and eIF2α.
These data indicate that butyrate and DHA, but not EPA, work coordinately to trigger an ER-independent, Ca2+-dependent intrinsic mitochondrial-mediated apoptotic pathway in colonocytes.
chemoprevention; ER stress; fish oil; dietary fiber; colon cancer; combination chemotherapy; Young adult mouse colon (YAMC) cells
Connexins are a widespread family of membrane proteins that assemble into hexameric hemichannels, also known as connexons. Connexons regulate membrane permeability in individual cells or couple between adjacent cells to form gap junctions and thereby provide a pathway for regulated intercellular communication. We have now examined the role of connexins in platelets, blood cells that circulate in isolation, but upon tissue injury adhere to each other and the vessel wall to prevent blood loss and facilitate wound repair.
Methods and Results
We report the presence of connexins in platelets, notably connexin37, and that the formation of gap junctions within platelet thrombi is required for the control of clot retraction. Inhibition of connexin function modulated a range of platelet functional responses prior to platelet-platelet contact, and reduced laser induced thrombosis in vivo in mice. Deletion of the Cx37 gene (Gja4) in transgenic mice reduced platelet aggregation, fibrinogen binding, granule secretion and clot retraction indicating an important role for Cx37 hemichannels and gap junctions in platelet thrombus function.
Together, these data demonstrate that platelet gap junctions and hemichannels underpin the control of haemostasis and thrombosis and represent potential therapeutic targets.
Connexin37; Gap junction; Haemostasis; Platelets; Thrombosis
Glioblastoma (GBM) is a highly malignant brain tumor with a dismal prognosis. Gene expression profiling of GBM has revealed clinically relevant tumor subtypes, and this provides exciting opportunities to better understand disease pathogenesis. Results from an increasing number of studies demonstrate a role for the immune response in cancer progression, yet it is unclear how the immune response differs across tumor subtypes and how it affects outcome. Utilizing gene expression data from The Cancer Genome Atlas Project and the Gene Expression Omnibus database, we demonstrate an enrichment of immune response-related gene expression in the mesenchymal subtype of adult GBM (n = 173) and pediatric high-grade gliomas (n = 53). In an independent cohort of pediatric astrocytomas (n = 24) from UCSF, we stratified tumors into subtypes and confirmed these findings. Using novel immune cell-specific gene signatures we demonstrate selective enrichment of microglia/macrophage-related genes in adult and pediatric GBM tumors of the mesenchymal subtype. Furthermore, immunostaining of adult GBM tumors showed significantly higher cell numbers of microglia/macrophages in mesenchymal versus non-mesenchymal tumors (p = 0.04). Interestingly, adult GBM tumors with the shortest survival had significant enrichment of microglia/macrophage-related genes but this was not true for pediatric GBMs. Consistent with an association with poor outcome, immune response-related genes were highly represented in an adult poor prognosis gene signature, with the expression of genes related to macrophage recruitment and activation being most strongly associated with survival (p<0.05) using CoxBoost multivariate modeling. Using a microglia/macrophage high gene signature derived from quantification of tumor-infiltrating cells in adult GBM, we identified enrichment of genes characteristic of CD4 T cells, granulocytes, and microglia/macrophages (n = 573). These studies support a role for the immune response, particularly the microglia/macrophage response, in the biology of an important subset of GBM. Identification of this subset may be important for future therapeutic stratification.
Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is one of the most frequent malignant pediatric brain tumor and its prognosis is universaly fatal. No significant improvement has been made in last thirty years over the standard treatment with radiotherapy. To address the paucity of understanding of DIPGs, we have carried out integrated molecular profiling of a large series of samples obtained with stereotactic biopsy at diagnosis. While chromosomal imbalances did not distinguish DIPG and supratentorial tumors on CGHarrays, gene expression profiling revealed clear differences between them, with brainstem gliomas resembling midline/thalamic tumours, indicating a closely-related origin. Two distinct subgroups of DIPG were identified. The first subgroup displayed mesenchymal and pro-angiogenic characteristics, with stem cell markers enrichment consistent with the possibility to grow tumor stem cells from these biopsies. The other subgroup displayed oligodendroglial features, and appeared largely driven by PDGFRA, in particular through amplification and/or novel missense mutations in the extracellular domain. Patients in this later group had a significantly worse outcome with an hazard ratio for early deaths, ie before 10 months, 8 fold greater that the ones in the other subgroup (p = 0.041, Cox regression model). The worse outcome of patients with the oligodendroglial type of tumors was confirmed on a series of 55 paraffin-embedded biopsy samples at diagnosis (median OS of 7.73 versus 12.37 months, p = 0.045, log-rank test). Two distinct transcriptional subclasses of DIPG with specific genomic alterations can be defined at diagnosis by oligodendroglial differentiation or mesenchymal transition, respectively. Classifying these tumors by signal transduction pathway activation and by mutation in pathway member genes may be particularily valuable for the development of targeted therapies.
Paediatric glioblastoma (pGBM), although rare, is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in children, with tumours essentially refractory to existing treatments. We have identified IGF1R to be a potential therapeutic target in pGBM due to gene amplification and high levels of IGF2 expression in some tumour samples, as well as constitutive receptor activation in pGBM cell lines. In order to evaluate the therapeutic potential of strategies targeting the receptor, we have carried out in vitro and in vivo preclinical studies using the specific IGF1R inhibitor NVP-AEW541. A modest inhibitory effect was seen in vitro, with GI50 values of 5-6μM, and concurrent inhibition of receptor phosphorylation. Specific targeting of IGF1R with siRNA decreased cell viability, diminished downstream signalling through PI3-kinase and induced G1 arrest, effects mimicked by NVP-AEW541, both in the absence and presence of IGF2. Hallmarks of PI3-kinase inhibition were observed after treatment with NVP-AEW541 by expression profiling and Western blot analysis. Phospho-RTK arrays demonstrated phosphorylation of PDGFRα/β in pGBM cells suggesting co-activation of an alternative RTK pathway. Treatment of KNS42 with the PDGFR inhibitor imatinib showed additional effects targeting the MAP-kinase pathway, and co-treatment of the PDGFR inhibitor imatinib with NVP-AEW541 resulted in a highly synergistic interaction in vitro, and increased efficacy after 14 days therapy in vivo compared with either agent alone. These data provide evidence that inhibition of IGF1R, in combination with other targeted agents, may be a useful and novel therapeutic strategy in pGBM.
IGF1R; PDGFR; PI3-kinase; MAP-kinase; paediatric glioblastoma
Malignant gliomas are highly infiltrative and invasive tumors, which precludes the few treatment options available. Therefore, there is an urgent need to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying gliomas aggressive phenotype and poor prognosis. The Raf Kinase Inhibitory protein (RKIP), besides regulating important intracellular signaling cascades, was described to be associated with progression, metastasis and prognosis in several human neoplasms. Its role in the prognosis and tumourigenesis of gliomas remains unclear.
In the present study, we found that RKIP protein is absent in a low frequency (10%, 20/193) of glioma tumors. Nevertheless, the absence of RKIP expression was an independent prognostic marker in glioma. Additionally, by in vitro downregulation of RKIP, we found that RKIP inhibition induces a higher viability and migration of the cells, having no effect on cellular proliferation and angiogenesis, as assessed by in vivo CAM assay.
In conclusion, this is the largest series studied so far evaluating the expression levels of this important cancer suppressor protein in glioma tumors. Our results suggest that in a subset of tumors, the absence of RKIP associates with highly malignant behavior and poor survival of patients, which may be a useful biomarker for tailored treatment of glioma patients.
Common germline genetic variation in the population is associated with susceptibility to epithelial ovarian cancer. Microcell-mediated chromosome transfer and expression microarray analysis identified nine genes associated with functional suppression of tumorogenicity in ovarian cancer cell lines; AIFM2, AKTIP, AXIN2, CASP5, FILIP1L, RBBP8, RGC32, RUVBL1 and STAG3. Sixty-three tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (tSNPs) in these genes were genotyped in 1,799 invasive ovarian cancer cases and 3,045 controls to look for associations with disease risk. Two SNPs in RUVBL1, rs13063604 and rs7650365, were associated with increased risk of serous ovarian cancer [HetOR = 1.42 (1.15–1.74) and the HomOR = 1.63 (1.10–1.42), p-trend = 0.0002] and [HetOR = 0.97 (0.80–1.17), HomOR = 0.74 (0.58–0.93), p-trend = 0.009], respectively. We genotyped rs13063604 and rs7650365 in an additional 4,590 cases and 6,031 controls from ten sites from the United States, Europe and Australia; however, neither SNP was significant in Stage 2. We also evaluated the potential role of tSNPs in these nine genes in ovarian cancer development by testing for allele-specific loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in 286 primary ovarian tumours. We found frequent LOH for tSNPs in AXIN2, AKTIP and RGC32 (64, 46 and 34%, respectively) and one SNP, rs1637001, in STAG3 showed significant allele-specific LOH with loss of the common allele in 94% of informative tumours (p = 0.015). Array comparative genomic hybridisation indicated that this nonrandom allelic imbalance was due to amplification of the rare allele. In conclusion, we show evidence for the involvement of a common allele of STAG3 in the development of epithelial ovarian cancer.
risk of ovarian cancer; polymorphism; association studies
Epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is the leading cause of death from gynecological malignancy in the developed world accounting for 4 percent of deaths from cancer in women1. We performed a three-phase genome-wide association study of EOC survival in 8,951 EOC cases with available survival time data, and a parallel association analysis of EOC susceptibility. Two SNPs at 19p13.11, rs8170 and rs2363956, showed evidence of association with survival (overall P=5×10−4 and 6×10−4), but did not replicate in phase 3. However, the same two SNPs demonstrated genome-wide significance for risk of serous EOC (P=3×10−9 and 4×10−11 respectively). Expression analysis of candidate genes at this locus in ovarian tumors supported a role for the BRCA1 interacting gene C19orf62, also known as MERIT40, which contains rs8170, in EOC development.
To define copy number alterations and gene expression signatures underlying pediatric high-grade glioma (HGG).
Patients and Methods
We conducted a high-resolution analysis of genomic imbalances in 78 de novo pediatric HGGs, including seven diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas, and 10 HGGs arising in children who received cranial irradiation for a previous cancer using single nucleotide polymorphism microarray analysis. Gene expression was analyzed with gene expression microarrays for 53 tumors. Results were compared with publicly available data from adult tumors.
Significant differences in copy number alterations distinguish childhood and adult glioblastoma. PDGFRA was the predominant target of focal amplification in childhood HGG, including diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas, and gene expression analyses supported an important role for deregulated PDGFRα signaling in pediatric HGG. No IDH1 hotspot mutations were found in pediatric tumors, highlighting molecular differences with adult secondary glioblastoma. Pediatric and adult glioblastomas were clearly distinguished by frequent gain of chromosome 1q (30% v 9%, respectively) and lower frequency of chromosome 7 gain (13% v 74%, respectively) and 10q loss (35% v 80%, respectively). PDGFRA amplification and 1q gain occurred at significantly higher frequency in irradiation-induced tumors, suggesting that these are initiating events in childhood gliomagenesis. A subset of pediatric HGGs showed minimal copy number changes.
Integrated molecular profiling showed substantial differences in the molecular features underlying pediatric and adult HGG, indicating that findings in adult tumors cannot be simply extrapolated to younger patients. PDGFRα may be a useful target for pediatric HGG, including diffuse pontine gliomas.
High grade gliomas (HGG) are one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in children, and there is increasing evidence that pediatric HGG may harbor distinct molecular characteristics compared to adult tumors. We have sought to clarify the role of microsatellite instability (MSI) in pediatric versus adult HGG. MSI status was determined in 144 patients (71 pediatric and 73 adults) using a well established panel of five quasimonomorphic mononucleotide repeat markers. Expression of MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 and PMS2 was determined by immunohistochemistry, MLH1 was assessed for mutations by direct sequencing and promoter methylation using MS-PCR. DNA copy number profiles were derived using array CGH, and mutations in eighteen MSI target genes studied by multiplex PCR and genotyping. MSI was found in 14/71 (19.7%) pediatric cases, significantly more than observed in adults (5/73, 6.8%; p = 0.02, Chi-square test). MLH1 expression was downregulated in 10/13 cases, however no mutations or promoter methylation were found. MSH6 was absent in one pediatric MSI-High tumor, consistent with an inherited mismatch repair deficiency associated with germline MSH6 mutation. MSI was classed as Type A, and associated with a remarkably stable genomic profile. Of the eighteen classic MSI target genes, we identified mutations only in MSH6 and DNAPKcs and described a polymorphism in MRE11 without apparent functional consequences in DNA double strand break detection and repair. This study thus provides evidence for a potential novel molecular pathway in a proportion of gliomas associated with the presence of MSI.
O6-methylguanine DNA-methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter methylation has been identified as a potential prognostic marker for glioblastoma patients. The relationship between the exact site of promoter methylation and its effect on gene silencing, and the patient's subsequent response to therapy, is still being defined. The aim of this study was to comprehensively characterize cytosine-guanine (CpG) dinucleotide methylation across the entire MGMT promoter and to correlate individual CpG site methylation patterns to mRNA expression, protein expression, and progression-free survival. To best identify the specific MGMT promoter region most predictive of gene silencing and response to therapy, we determined the methylation status of all 97 CpG sites in the MGMT promoter in tumor samples from 70 GBM patients using quantitative bisulfite sequencing. We next identified the CpG site specific and regional methylation patterns most predictive of gene silencing and improved progression-free survival. Using this data, we propose a new classification scheme utilizing methylation data from across the entire promoter and show that an analysis based on this approach, which we call 3R classification, is predictive of progression-free survival (HR = 5.23, 95% CI [2.089–13.097], p<0.0001). To adapt this approach to the clinical setting, we used a methylation-specific multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MS-MLPA) test based on the 3R classification and show that this test is both feasible in the clinical setting and predictive of progression free survival (HR = 3.076, 95% CI [1.301–7.27], p = 0.007). We discuss the potential advantages of a test based on this promoter-wide analysis and compare it to the commonly used methylation-specific PCR test. Further prospective validation of these two methods in a large independent patient cohort will be needed to confirm the added value of promoter wide analysis of MGMT methylation in the clinical setting.
As genome-scale technologies begin to unravel the complexity of the equivalent tumours in adults, detailed characterisation of high grade gliomas in children have until recently been lacking. We have sought to validate and extend investigations of the differences between paediatric and adult tumours.
We carried out copy number profiling by array CGH using a 32K BAC platform on 63 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) cases of high grade glioma arising in children and young people (<23 yrs).
The genomic profiles of these tumours could be subclassified into four categories – those with stable genomes, which was associated with a better prognosis; those with aneuploid or highly rearranged genomes; and those with an amplifier genotype, which had a significantly worse clinical outcome. Independent of this was a clear segregation of cases with 1q gain (more common in children) from those with concurrent 7 gain / 10q loss (a defining feature of adults). Detailed mapping of all the amplification and deletion events revealed numerous low frequency amplifications including IGF1R, PDGFRB, PIK3CA, CDK6, CCND1, CCNE1; and novel homozygous deletions encompassing unknown genes including those at 5q35, 10q25, and 22q13. Despite this, aberrations targeting the “core signalling pathways” in adult glioblastomas are significantly under-represented in the paediatric setting.
These data highlight that whilst there are overlaps in the genomic events driving gliomagenesis of all ages, the paediatric disease harbours a distinct spectrum of copy number aberrations compared to adults.
paediatric; glioblastoma; PDGFRA; amplification; deletion; array CGH
Gene amplification is thought to promote over-expression of genes favouring tumour development. Because amplified regions are usually megabase-long, amplification often concerns numerous syntenic or non-syntenic genes, among which only a subset is over-expressed. The rationale for these differences remains poorly understood.
To address this question, we used quantitative RT-PCR to determine the expression level of a series of co-amplified genes in five xenografted and one fresh human gliomas. These gliomas were chosen because we have previously characterised in detail the genetic content of their amplicons. In all the cases, the amplified sequences lie on extra-chromosomal DNA molecules, as commonly observed in gliomas. We show here that genes transcribed in non-amplified gliomas are over-expressed when amplified, roughly in proportion to their copy number, while non-expressed genes remain inactive. When specific antibodies were available, we also compared protein expression in amplified and non-amplified tumours. We found that protein accumulation barely correlates with the level of mRNA expression in some of these tumours.
Here we show that the tissue-specific pattern of gene expression is maintained upon amplification in gliomas. Our study relies on a single type of tumour and a limited number of cases. However, it strongly suggests that, even when amplified, genes that are normally silent in a given cell type play no role in tumour progression. The loose relationships between mRNA level and protein accumulation and/or activity indicate that translational or post-translational events play a key role in fine-tuning the final outcome of amplification in gliomas.
To investigate the presence and prognostic relevance of KIT expression in paediatric renal tumours, and to determine whether receptor overexpression is associated with gene amplification and/or mutation.
Immunohistochemistry without antigen retrieval for CD117 was carried out on tissue microarrays consisting of 274 Wilms' tumours, 13 clear cell sarcomas of the kidney (CCSK), 10 mesoblastic nephromas (MN), and 7 rhabdoid tumours of the kidney (RTK). In addition, gene copy number was investigated by chromogenic in situ hybridisation (CISH), and overexpressing tumours were sequenced for KIT mutations in exons 9, 11, 13 and 17.
Only 8/200 (4.0%) Wilms' tumours exhibited any degree of moderate–strong KIT staining in any of their assessable cell types. This small group of KIT‐positive tumours had a shorter time to relapse (p = 0.0044, log‐rank test). There were no positive MNs or RTKs; however 3/11 (27.3%) CCSKs were strongly positive, with an additional two cases weakly reactive. No cases exhibited gene amplification or mutation.
KIT overexpression in rare in Wilms' tumours, although does appear to confer a worse prognosis, in particular for patients primarily treated with preoperative chemotherapy. CCSKs are associated with an increased expression of KIT, however, in the absence of gene amplification and/or activating mutation. The potential of anti‐KIT therapeutic strategies in the treatment of paediatric renal tumours appears to be limited.
To improve understanding of how families living in adverse conditions perceive their encounters with public services and how past experiences influence current and future attempts to seek help.
Qualitative interviews with adult members of households living in poverty in deprived areas, plus observations conducted in the surrounding neighbourhoods and service settings.
Purposive sample of 25 adults living in a deprived area, on welfare benefits.
Eight sites in disadvantaged areas in Merseyside, North Wales, London and Greater Manchester in 2004/05.
Participants generally perceived public services as a source of distrust and a potential risk to well‐being. Encounters with a range of services were perceived as risky in terms of losing resources, being misunderstood or harshly judged, and carrying the ultimate threat of losing custody of their children. Participants perceived that they were subjected to increasing levels of surveillance, with fear of “being told on” by neighbours, in addition to service providers, adding to anxiety. Adverse consequences included avoiding child health and social services, anxiety and self‐imposed isolation.
Approaching services was perceived as akin to taking a gamble that might or might not result in their needs being met. Faced with this “choice”, participants employed strategies to minimise the risks that on the surface may appear risky to health. If public services are to succeed in providing support to disadvantaged families, greater efforts are needed to build trust and demonstrate understanding for the strategies these families use to maintain their well‐being against formidable odds.
perception of public services; poverty; public health; qualitative research; strategies for health
The dismal prognosis of glioblastoma (GB) indicates the urgent need for new therapies for these tumors. Heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) inhibitors induce proteasome-mediated degradation of many oncogenic client proteins involved in all of the hallmark characteristics of cancer. Here, we explored the mechanistic potential of the potent synthetic diarylisoxazole amide resorcinol HSP90 inhibitor, NVP-AUY922, in adult and pediatric GB. In vitro antiproliferative potency (nanomolar range) was seen in both adult and pediatric human GB cell lines with different molecular pathologies. A cytostatic effect was observed in all GB lines; more apoptosis was observed at lower concentrations in SF188 pediatric GB line and at 144hrs in the slower growing KNS42 pediatric GB line, as compared to the adult GB lines, U87MG and SF268. In vitro combination studies with inhibitors of PI3 kinase/mTOR (PI-103) or MEK (PD-0325901) supported the hypothesis that sustained inhibition of ERK up to 72hrs and at least temporary inhibition of AKT were necessary to induce apoptosis in GB lines. In athymic mice bearing established subcutaneous U87MG glioblastoma xenografts, NVP-AUY922 (50mg/kg i.p x 3 days) caused inhibition of ERK1/2 and AKT phosphorylation and induced apoptosis, while 17-AAG used at MTD was less effective. NVP-AUY922 antitumor activity with objective tumor regression resulted from antiproliferative, pro-apoptotic and anti-angiogenic effects, the latter shown by decreased microvessel density and HIF1α levels. Our results have established mechanistic proof of concept for the potential of novel synthetic HSP90 inhibitors in adult and pediatric GB, alone or in combination with PI3 kinase/mTOR and MEK inhibitors.
adult glioblastoma; pediatric glioblastoma; HSP90 inhibitors; NVP-AUY922; PD-0325901; PI-103; apoptosis
Children with ependymoma may experience a relapse in up to 50% of cases depending on the extent of resection. Key biological events associated with recurrence are unknown.
To discover the biology behind the recurrence of ependymomas, we performed CGHarray and a dual-color gene expression microarray analysis of 17 tumors at diagnosis co-hybridized with the corresponding 27 first or subsequent relapses from the same patient. As treatment and location had only limited influence on specific gene expression changes at relapse, we established a common signature for relapse. Eighty-seven genes showed an absolute fold change ≥2 in at least 50% of relapses and were defined as the gene expression signature of ependymoma recurrence. The most frequently upregulated genes are involved in the kinetochore (ASPM, KIF11) or in neural development (CD133, Wnt and Notch pathways). Metallothionein (MT) genes were downregulated in up to 80% of the recurrences. Quantitative PCR for ASPM, KIF11 and MT3 plus immunohistochemistry for ASPM and MT3 confirmed the microarray results. Immunohistochemistry on an independent series of 24 tumor pairs at diagnosis and at relapse confirmed the decrease of MT3 expression at recurrence in 17/24 tumor pairs (p = 0.002). Conversely, ASPM expression was more frequently positive at relapse (87.5% vs 37.5%, p = 0.03). Loss or deletion of the MT genes cluster was never observed at relapse. Promoter sequencing after bisulfite treatment of DNA from primary tumors and recurrences as well as treatment of short-term ependymoma cells cultures with a demethylating agent showed that methylation was not involved in MT3 downregulation. However, in vitro treatment with a histone deacetylase inhibitor or zinc restored MT3 expression.
The most frequent molecular events associated with ependymoma recurrence were over-expression of kinetochore proteins and down-regulation of metallothioneins. Metallothionein-3 expression is epigenetically controlled and can be restored in vitro by histone deacetylase inhibitors.
Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST) are highly aggressive tumors which originate from Schwann cells and develop in about 10% of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) patients. The five year survival rate is poor and more effective therapies are needed. Sunitinib is a drug targeting receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) like PDGFRα, c-Kit and VEGFR-2. These genes are structurally related and cluster on chromosomal segment 4q12.
Here we characterize this region by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) in MPNST. Our probe set encompasses the 3 adjacent RTK genes (PDGFRA, KIT, KDR) and 6 flanking genes. We found amplification of several genes within this region in a subset of MPNST and MPNST cell lines. Transcript and protein expression of PDGFRA matched well with its increased copy number suggesting a central role of PDGFRA within the amplicon. Studying the effect of sunitinib on 5 MPNST cell lines revealed that cell line S462 harboring the 4q12 amplicon was extremely sensitive to the drug with an IC50 below 1.0µM. Moreover, sunitinib induced apoptosis and prevented PDGF-AA induced signaling via PDGFRα as determined by western blotting. Co-expression of VEGF and its receptor VEGFR-2 (KDR) was present in MPNST cell lines suggesting an autocrine loop. We show that VEGF triggered signal transduction via the MAPK pathway, which could be blocked by sunitinib.
Since multiple receptors targeted by sunitinib are expressed or over-expressed by MPNST cells sunitinib appears as an attractive drug for treatment of MPNST patients. Presence of the 4q12 amplicon and subsequent over-expression of PDGFRA might serve as predictive markers for efficacy of sunitinib.