Rapid diagnosis of medulloblastoma molecular subgroups

Ed Schwalbe, Janet Lindsey, Debbie Straughton, Twala Hogg, Michael Cole, Hisham Megahed, Sarra Ryan, Meryl Lusher, Michael Taylor, Richard Gilbertson, David Ellison, Simon Bailey, Steven Clifford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Microarray studies indicate medulloblastoma comprises distinct molecular disease subgroups, which offer potential for improved clinical management. 
Experimental Design: Minimal mRNA expression signatures diagnostic for the Wnt/Wingless (WNT) and Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) subgroups were developed, validated, and used to assign subgroup affiliation in 173 tumors from four independent cohorts, alongside a systematic investigation of subgroup clinical and molecular characteristics. 
Results: WNT tumors [12% (21/173)] were diagnosed >5 years of age (peak, 10 years), displayed classic histology, CTNNB1 mutation (19/20), and associated chromosome 6 loss, and have previously been associated with favorable prognosis. SHH cases [24% (42/173)] predominated in infants (<3 years) and showed an age-dependent relationship to desmoplastic/nodular pathology; all infant desmoplastic/nodular cases (previously associated with a good outcome) were SHH-positive, but these relationships broke down in noninfants. PTCH1 mutations were common [34% (11/32)], but PTCH1 exon1c hypermethylation, chromosome 9q and REN (KCTD11) genetic loss were not SHH associated, and SMO or SUFU mutation, PTCH1 exon1a or SUFU hypermethylation did not play a role, indicating novel activating mechanisms in the majority of SHH cases. SHH tumors were associated with an absence of COL1A2 methylation. WNT/SHH-independent medulloblastomas [64% (110/173)] showed all histologies, peaked at 3 and 6 years, and were exclusively associated with chromosome 17p loss.

Conclusions: Medulloblastoma subgroups are characterized by distinct genomic, epigenomic and clinicopathologic features, and clinical outcomes. Validated array-independent gene expression assays for the rapid assessment of subgroup affiliation in small biopsies provide a basis for their routine clinical application, in strategies including molecular disease-risk stratification and delivery of targeted therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1883-1894
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Volume17
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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