Publications by authors named "Daniel Schrimpf"

73 Publications

Clinically Tractable Outcome Prediction of Non-WNT/Non-SHH Medulloblastoma Based on TPD52 IHC in a Multicohort Study.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Oct 26. Epub 2021 Oct 26.

Department of Molecular Oncology, British Columbia Cancer Research Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Purpose: International consensus and the 2021 WHO classification recognize eight molecular subgroups among non-WNT/non-SHH (Group 3/4) medulloblastoma, representing approximately 60% of tumors. However, very few clinical centers worldwide possess the technical capabilities to determine DNA methylation profiles or other molecular parameters of high risk for group 3/4 tumors. As a result, biomarker-driven risk stratification and therapy assignment constitutes a major challenge in medulloblastoma research. Here, we identify an IHC marker as a clinically tractable method for improved medulloblastoma risk stratification.

Experimental Design: We bioinformatically analyzed published medulloblastoma transcriptomes and proteomes identifying as a potential biomarker TPD52, whose IHC prognostic value was validated across three group 3/4 medulloblastoma clinical cohorts ( = 387) treated with conventional therapies.

Results: TPD52 IHC positivity represented a significant independent predictor of early relapse and death for group 3/4 medulloblastoma [HRs between 3.67 and 26.7; 95% confidence interval (CI) between 1.00 and 706.23; = 0.05, 0.017, and 0.0058]. Cross-validated survival models incorporating TPD52 IHC with clinical features outperformed existing state-of-the-art risk stratification schemes, and reclassified approximately 50% of patients into more appropriate risk categories. Finally, TPD52 immunopositivity was a predictive indicator of poor response to chemotherapy [HR, 12.66; 95% CI, 3.53-45.40; < 0.0001], suggesting important implication for therapeutic choices.

Conclusions: This study redefines the approach to risk stratification in group 3/4 medulloblastoma in global practice. Because integration of TPD52 IHC in classification algorithms significantly improved outcome prediction, this test could be rapidly adopted for risk stratification on a global scale, independently of advanced but technically challenging molecular profiling techniques.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-21-2057DOI Listing
October 2021

Integrated Molecular-Morphologic Meningioma Classification: A Multicenter Retrospective Analysis, Retrospectively and Prospectively Validated.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Dec 7;39(34):3839-3852. Epub 2021 Oct 7.

Department of Neurosurgery, NYU Langone Hospital, New York, NY.

Purpose: Meningiomas are the most frequent primary intracranial tumors. Patient outcome varies widely from benign to highly aggressive, ultimately fatal courses. Reliable identification of risk of progression for individual patients is of pivotal importance. However, only biomarkers for highly aggressive tumors are established ( and ), whereas no molecularly based stratification exists for the broad spectrum of patients with low- and intermediate-risk meningioma.

Methods: DNA methylation data and copy-number information were generated for 3,031 meningiomas (2,868 patients), and mutation data for 858 samples. DNA methylation subgroups, copy-number variations (CNVs), mutations, and WHO grading were analyzed. Prediction power for outcome was assessed in a retrospective cohort of 514 patients, validated on a retrospective cohort of 184, and on a prospective cohort of 287 multicenter cases.

Results: Both CNV- and methylation family-based subgrouping independently resulted in increased prediction accuracy of risk of recurrence compared with the WHO classification (c-indexes WHO 2016, CNV, and methylation family 0.699, 0.706, and 0.721, respectively). Merging all risk stratification approaches into an integrated molecular-morphologic score resulted in further substantial increase in accuracy (c-index 0.744). This integrated score consistently provided superior accuracy in all three cohorts, significantly outperforming WHO grading (c-index difference = .005). Besides the overall stratification advantage, the integrated score separates more precisely for risk of progression at the diagnostically challenging interface of WHO grade 1 and grade 2 tumors (hazard ratio 4.34 [2.48-7.57] and 3.34 [1.28-8.72] retrospective and prospective validation cohorts, respectively).

Conclusion: Merging these layers of histologic and molecular data into an integrated, three-tiered score significantly improves the precision in meningioma stratification. Implementation into diagnostic routine informs clinical decision making for patients with meningioma on the basis of robust outcome prediction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.21.00784DOI Listing
December 2021

Molecular profiling of pediatric meningiomas shows tumor characteristics distinct from adult meningiomas.

Acta Neuropathol 2021 11 8;142(5):873-886. Epub 2021 Sep 8.

Department of Neuropathology, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany.

In contrast to adults, meningiomas are uncommon tumors in childhood and adolescence. Whether adult and pediatric meningiomas differ on a molecular level is unclear. Here we report detailed genomic analyses of 37 pediatric meningiomas by sequencing and DNA methylation profiling. Histologically, the series was dominated by meningioma subtypes with aggressive behavior, with 70% of patients suffering from WHO grade II or III meningiomas. The most frequent cytogenetic aberrations were loss of chromosomes 22 (23/37 [62%]), 1 (9/37 [24%]), 18 (7/37 [19%]), and 14 (5/37 [14%]). Tumors with NF2 alterations exhibited overall increased chromosomal instability. Unsupervised clustering of DNA methylation profiles revealed separation into three groups: designated group 1 composed of clear cell and papillary meningiomas, whereas group 2A comprised predominantly atypical meningiomas and group 2B enriched for rare high-grade subtypes (rhabdoid, chordoid). Meningiomas from NF2 patients clustered exclusively within groups 1 and 2A. When compared with a dataset of 105 adult meningiomas, the pediatric meningiomas largely grouped separately. Targeted panel DNA sequencing of 34 tumors revealed frequent NF2 alterations, while other typical alterations found in adult non-NF2 tumors were absent. These data demonstrate that pediatric meningiomas are characterized by molecular features distinct from adult tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-021-02351-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8500891PMC
November 2021

Recurrent fusions in PLAGL1 define a distinct subset of pediatric-type supratentorial neuroepithelial tumors.

Acta Neuropathol 2021 11 5;142(5):827-839. Epub 2021 Aug 5.

Institute of Neuropathology, University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany.

Ependymomas encompass a heterogeneous group of central nervous system (CNS) neoplasms that occur along the entire neuroaxis. In recent years, extensive (epi-)genomic profiling efforts have identified several molecular groups of ependymoma that are characterized by distinct molecular alterations and/or patterns. Based on unsupervised visualization of a large cohort of genome-wide DNA methylation data, we identified a highly distinct group of pediatric-type tumors (n = 40) forming a cluster separate from all established CNS tumor types, of which a high proportion were histopathologically diagnosed as ependymoma. RNA sequencing revealed recurrent fusions involving the pleomorphic adenoma gene-like 1 (PLAGL1) gene in 19 of 20 of the samples analyzed, with the most common fusion being EWSR1:PLAGL1 (n = 13). Five tumors showed a PLAGL1:FOXO1 fusion and one a PLAGL1:EP300 fusion. High transcript levels of PLAGL1 were noted in these tumors, with concurrent overexpression of the imprinted genes H19 and IGF2, which are regulated by PLAGL1. Histopathological review of cases with sufficient material (n = 16) demonstrated a broad morphological spectrum of tumors with predominant ependymoma-like features. Immunohistochemically, tumors were GFAP positive and OLIG2- and SOX10 negative. In 3/16 of the cases, a dot-like positivity for EMA was detected. All tumors in our series were located in the supratentorial compartment. Median age of the patients at the time of diagnosis was 6.2 years. Median progression-free survival was 35 months (for 11 patients with data available). In summary, our findings suggest the existence of a novel group of supratentorial neuroepithelial tumors that are characterized by recurrent PLAGL1 fusions and enriched for pediatric patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-021-02356-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8500895PMC
November 2021

DNA methylation-based profiling of bone and soft tissue tumours: a validation study of the 'DKFZ Sarcoma Classifier'.

J Pathol Clin Res 2021 Jul 5;7(4):350-360. Epub 2021 May 5.

Research Department of Pathology, University College London, UCL Cancer Institute, London, UK.

Diagnosing bone and soft tissue neoplasms remains challenging because of the large number of subtypes, many of which lack diagnostic biomarkers. DNA methylation profiles have proven to be a reliable basis for the classification of brain tumours and, following this success, a DNA methylation-based sarcoma classification tool from the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ) in Heidelberg has been developed. In this study, we assessed the performance of their classifier on DNA methylation profiles of an independent data set of 986 bone and soft tissue tumours and controls. We found that the 'DKFZ Sarcoma Classifier' was able to produce a diagnostic prediction for 55% of the 986 samples, with 83% of these predictions concordant with the histological diagnosis. On limiting the validation to the 820 cases with histological diagnoses for which the DKFZ Classifier was trained, 61% of cases received a prediction, and the histological diagnosis was concordant with the predicted methylation class in 88% of these cases, findings comparable to those reported in the DKFZ Classifier paper. The classifier performed best when diagnosing mesenchymal chondrosarcomas (CHSs, 88% sensitivity), chordomas (85% sensitivity), and fibrous dysplasia (83% sensitivity). Amongst the subtypes least often classified correctly were clear cell CHSs (14% sensitivity), malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours (27% sensitivity), and pleomorphic liposarcomas (29% sensitivity). The classifier predictions resulted in revision of the histological diagnosis in six of our cases. We observed that, although a higher tumour purity resulted in a greater likelihood of a prediction being made, it did not correlate with classifier accuracy. Our results show that the DKFZ Classifier represents a powerful research tool for exploring the pathogenesis of sarcoma; with refinement, it has the potential to be a valuable diagnostic tool.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cjp2.215DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8185366PMC
July 2021

DNA Methylation Profiling Discriminates between Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma and Neoplastic or Reactive Histologic Mimics.

J Mol Diagn 2021 07 20;23(7):834-846. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

Department of Neuropathology, Institute of Pathology, University Hospital of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany; Clinical Cooperation Unit Neuropathology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.

The diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is challenging because of its potential overlap with other neoplasms or even with reactive conditions. DNA methylation analysis is effective in diagnosing tumors. In the present study, this approach was tested for use in MPM diagnosis. The DNA methylation patterns of a discovery cohort and an independent-validation cohort of MPMs were compared to those of 202 cases representing malignant and benign diagnostic mimics (angiosarcoma, desmoid-type fibromatosis, epithelioid sarcoma, leiomyosarcoma, lung adenocarcinoma, lung squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, nodular fasciitis, reactive mesothelial hyperplasia, sclerosing fibrous pleuritis, solitary fibrous tumor, and synovial sarcoma). By both unsupervised hierarchical clustering and t-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding analysis, MPM samples in the discovery cohort exhibited a DNA methylation profile different from those of other neoplastic and reactive mimics. These results were confirmed in the independent validation cohort and by in silico analysis of the MPM-The Cancer Genome Atlas data set. Copy number variation profiles were also inferred to identify molecular hallmarks of MPM, including CDKN2A and NF2 deletions. Methylation profiling was effective in the diagnosis of MPM, although caution is advised in samples with low tumor cell content.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmoldx.2021.04.002DOI Listing
July 2021

Glioblastomas with primitive neuronal component harbor a distinct methylation and copy-number profile with inactivation of TP53, PTEN, and RB1.

Acta Neuropathol 2021 07 19;142(1):179-189. Epub 2021 Apr 19.

Division of Neuropathology, Institute of Pathology, Basel University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland.

Glioblastoma IDH-wildtype presents with a wide histological spectrum. Some features are so distinctive that they are considered as separate histological variants or patterns for the purpose of classification. However, these usually lack defined (epi-)genetic alterations or profiles correlating with this histology. Here, we describe a molecular subtype with overlap to the unique histological pattern of glioblastoma with primitive neuronal component. Our cohort consists of 63 IDH-wildtype glioblastomas that harbor a characteristic DNA methylation profile. Median age at diagnosis was 59.5 years. Copy-number variations and genetic sequencing revealed frequent alterations in TP53, RB1 and PTEN, with fewer gains of chromosome 7 and homozygous CDKN2A/B deletions than usually described for IDH-wildtype glioblastoma. Gains of chromosome 1 were detected in more than half of the cases. A poorly differentiated phenotype with frequent absence of GFAP expression, high proliferation index and strong staining for p53 and TTF1 often caused misleading histological classification as carcinoma metastasis or primitive neuroectodermal tumor. Clinically, many patients presented with leptomeningeal dissemination and spinal metastasis. Outcome was poor with a median overall survival of only 12 months. Overall, we describe a new molecular subtype of IDH-wildtype glioblastoma with a distinct histological appearance and genetic signature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-021-02302-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8217054PMC
July 2021

Integrated molecular analysis of adult sonic hedgehog (SHH)-activated medulloblastomas reveals two clinically relevant tumor subsets with VEGFA as potent prognostic indicator.

Neuro Oncol 2021 09;23(9):1576-1585

Hopp Children's Cancer Center Heidelberg (KiTZ), Heidelberg, Germany.

Background: Up to now, adult medulloblastoma (MB) patients are treated according to the protocols elaborated for pediatric MB although these tumors are different in terms of clinical outcomes and biology. Approximately 70% of adult MB disclose a sonic hedgehog (SHH) molecular signature in contrast to about 30% in pediatric cohorts. In addition, adult SHH-MB (aSHH-MB) are clinically heterogeneous but there is consensus neither on their optimal treatment nor on risk stratification. Thus, the identification of clinically relevant molecular subsets of aSHH-MB and identification of potential treatment targets remains inconclusive.

Methods: We analyzed 96 samples of institutionally diagnosed aSHH-MB through genome-wide DNA methylation profiling, targeted DNA sequencing, and RNA sequencing to identify molecular subcategories of these tumors and assess their prognostic significance.

Results: We defined two aSHH-MB numerically comparable epigenetic subsets with clinical and molecular variability. The subset "aSHH-MBI" (46%/48%) was associated with PTCH1/SMO (54%/46%) mutations, "neuronal" transcriptional signatures, and favorable outcomes after combined radio-chemotherapy (5-year PFS = 80% and OS = 92%). The clinically unfavorable "aSHH-MBII" subset (50%/52%; 5-year PFS = 24% and OS = 45%) disclosed GLI2 amplifications (8%), loss of 10q (22%), and gene expression signatures associated with angiogenesis and embryonal development. aSHH-MBII tumors revealed strong and ubiquitous expression of VEGFA both at transcript and protein levels that was correlated with unfavorable outcome.

Conclusions: (1) The histologically uniform aSHH-MB cohort exhibits clear molecular heterogeneity separating these tumors into two molecular subsets (aSHH-MBI and aSHH-MBII), which are associated with different cytogenetics, mutational landscapes, gene expression signatures, and clinical course. (2) VEGFA appears to be a promising biomarker to predict clinical course, which needs further prospective validation as its potential role in the pathogenesis of this subset.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noab031DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8408884PMC
September 2021

Molecular analysis of pediatric CNS-PNET revealed nosologic heterogeneity and potent diagnostic markers for CNS neuroblastoma with FOXR2-activation.

Acta Neuropathol Commun 2021 02 3;9(1):20. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

Clinical Cooperation Unit Neuropathology (G380), German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany.

Primitive neuroectodermal tumors of the central nervous system (CNS-PNETs) are highly malignant neoplasms posing diagnostic challenge due to a lack of defining molecular markers. CNS neuroblastoma with forkhead box R2 (FOXR2) activation (CNS_NBL) emerged as a distinct pediatric brain tumor entity from a pool previously diagnosed as primitive neuroectodermal tumors of the central nervous system (CNS-PNETs). Current standard of identifying CNS_NBL relies on molecular analysis. We set out to establish immunohistochemical markers allowing safely distinguishing CNS_NBL from morphological mimics. To this aim we analyzed a series of 84 brain tumors institutionally diagnosed as CNS-PNET. As expected, epigenetic analysis revealed different methylation groups corresponding to the (1) CNS-NBL (24%), (2) glioblastoma IDH wild-type subclass H3.3 G34 (26%), (3) glioblastoma IDH wild-type subclass MYCN (21%) and (4) ependymoma with RELA_C11orf95 fusion (29%) entities. Transcriptome analysis of this series revealed a set of differentially expressed genes distinguishing CNS_NBL from its mimics. Based on RNA-sequencing data we established SOX10 and ANKRD55 expression as genes discriminating CNS_NBL from other tumors exhibiting CNS-PNET. Immunohistochemical detection of combined expression of SOX10 and ANKRD55 clearly identifies CNS_NBL discriminating them to other hemispheric CNS neoplasms harboring "PNET-like" microscopic appearance. Owing the rarity of CNS_NBL, a confirmation of the elaborated diagnostic IHC algorithm will be necessary in prospective patient series.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40478-021-01118-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7860633PMC
February 2021

Sarcoma classification by DNA methylation profiling.

Nat Commun 2021 01 21;12(1):498. Epub 2021 Jan 21.

Department of General Pathology, Institute of Pathology, Heidelberg University Hospital, Heidelberg, Germany.

Sarcomas are malignant soft tissue and bone tumours affecting adults, adolescents and children. They represent a morphologically heterogeneous class of tumours and some entities lack defining histopathological features. Therefore, the diagnosis of sarcomas is burdened with a high inter-observer variability and misclassification rate. Here, we demonstrate classification of soft tissue and bone tumours using a machine learning classifier algorithm based on array-generated DNA methylation data. This sarcoma classifier is trained using a dataset of 1077 methylation profiles from comprehensively pre-characterized cases comprising 62 tumour methylation classes constituting a broad range of soft tissue and bone sarcoma subtypes across the entire age spectrum. The performance is validated in a cohort of 428 sarcomatous tumours, of which 322 cases were classified by the sarcoma classifier. Our results demonstrate the potential of the DNA methylation-based sarcoma classification for research and future diagnostic applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20603-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7819999PMC
January 2021

Accurate calling of KIAA1549-BRAF fusions from DNA of human brain tumours using methylation array-based copy number and gene panel sequencing data.

Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol 2021 04 17;47(3):406-414. Epub 2021 Jan 17.

Department of Neuropathology, Institute of Pathology, Heidelberg University Hospital, Heidelberg, Germany.

Aims: KIAA1549-BRAF fusions occur in certain brain tumours and provide druggable targets due to a constitutive activation of the MAP-kinase pathway. We introduce workflows for calling the KIAA1549-BRAF fusion from DNA methylation array-derived copy number as well as DNA panel sequencing data.

Methods: Copy number profiles were analysed by automated screening and visual verification of a tandem duplication on chromosome 7q34, indicative of the KIAA1549-BRAF fusion. Pilocytic astrocytomas of the ICGC cohort with known fusion status were used for validation. KIAA1549-BRAF fusions were called from DNA panel sequencing data using the fusion callers Manta, Arriba with modified filtering criteria and deFuse. We screened DNA methylation and panel sequencing data of 7790 specimens from brain tumour and sarcoma entities.

Results: We identified the fusion in 337 brain tumours with both DNA methylation and panel sequencing data. Among these, we detected the fusion from copy number data in 84% and from DNA panel sequencing data in more than 90% using Arriba with modified filters. While in 74% the KIAA1549-BRAF fusion was detected from both methylation array-derived copy number and panel sequencing data, in 9% it was detected from copy number data only and in 16% from panel data only. The fusion was almost exclusively found in pilocytic astrocytomas, diffuse leptomeningeal glioneuronal tumours and high-grade astrocytomas with piloid features.

Conclusions: The KIAA1549-BRAF fusion can be reliably detected from either DNA methylation array or DNA panel data. The use of both methods is recommended for the most sensitive detection of this diagnostically and therapeutically important marker.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nan.12683DOI Listing
April 2021

Clear cell meningiomas are defined by a highly distinct DNA methylation profile and mutations in SMARCE1.

Acta Neuropathol 2021 02 14;141(2):281-290. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Department of Pathology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA.

Clear cell meningioma represents an uncommon variant of meningioma that typically affects children and young adults. Although an enrichment of loss-of-function mutations in the SMARCE1 gene has been reported for this subtype, comprehensive molecular investigations are lacking. Here we describe a molecularly distinct subset of tumors (n = 31), initially identified through genome-wide DNA methylation screening among a cohort of 3093 meningiomas, of which most were diagnosed histologically as clear cell meningioma. This cohort was further supplemented by an additional 11 histologically diagnosed clear cell meningiomas for analysis (n = 42). Targeted DNA sequencing revealed SMARCE1 mutations in 33/34 analyzed samples, accompanied by a nuclear loss of expression determined via immunohistochemistry and a decreased SMARCE1 transcript expression in the tumor cells. Analysis of time to progression or recurrence of patients within the clear cell meningioma group (n = 14) in comparison to those with meningioma WHO grade 2 (n = 220) revealed a similar outcome and support the assignment of WHO grade 2 to these tumors. Our findings indicate the existence of a highly distinct epigenetic signature of clear cell meningiomas, separate from all other variants of meningiomas, with recurrent mutations in the SMARCE1 gene. This suggests that these tumors may arise from a different precursor cell population than the broad spectrum of the other meningioma subtypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-020-02247-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7847462PMC
February 2021

Primary mismatch repair deficient IDH-mutant astrocytoma (PMMRDIA) is a distinct type with a poor prognosis.

Acta Neuropathol 2021 01 20;141(1):85-100. Epub 2020 Nov 20.

Department of Paediatrics, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Diffuse IDH-mutant astrocytoma mostly occurs in adults and carries a favorable prognosis compared to IDH-wildtype malignant gliomas. Acquired mismatch repair deficiency is known to occur in recurrent IDH-mutant gliomas as resistance mechanism towards alkylating chemotherapy. In this multi-institutional study, we report a novel epigenetic group of 32 IDH-mutant gliomas with proven or suspected hereditary mismatch repair deficiency. None of the tumors exhibited a combined 1p/19q deletion. These primary mismatch repair-deficient IDH-mutant astrocytomas (PMMRDIA) were histologically high-grade and were mainly found in children, adolescents and young adults (median age 14 years). Mismatch repair deficiency syndromes (Lynch or Constitutional Mismatch Repair Deficiency Syndrom (CMMRD)) were clinically diagnosed and/or germline mutations in DNA mismatch repair genes (MLH1, MSH6, MSH2) were found in all cases, except one case with a family and personal history of colon cancer and another case with MSH6-deficiency available only as recurrent tumor. Loss of at least one of the mismatch repair proteins was detected via immunohistochemistry in all, but one case analyzed. Tumors displayed a hypermutant genotype and microsatellite instability was present in more than half of the sequenced cases. Integrated somatic mutational and chromosomal copy number analyses showed frequent inactivation of TP53, RB1 and activation of RTK/PI3K/AKT pathways. In contrast to the majority of IDH-mutant gliomas, more than 60% of the samples in our cohort presented with an unmethylated MGMT promoter. While the rate of immuno-histochemical ATRX loss was reduced, variants of unknown significance were more frequently detected possibly indicating a higher frequency of ATRX inactivation by protein malfunction. Compared to reference cohorts of other IDH-mutant gliomas, primary mismatch repair-deficient IDH-mutant astrocytomas have by far the worst clinical outcome with a median survival of only 15 months irrespective of histological or molecular features. The findings reveal a so far unknown entity of IDH-mutant astrocytoma with high prognostic relevance. Diagnosis can be established by aligning with the characteristic DNA methylation profile, by DNA-sequencing-based proof of mismatch repair deficiency or immunohistochemically demonstrating loss-of-mismatch repair proteins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-020-02243-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7785563PMC
January 2021

A subset of pediatric-type thalamic gliomas share a distinct DNA methylation profile, H3K27me3 loss and frequent alteration of EGFR.

Neuro Oncol 2021 01;23(1):34-43

Department of Neuropathology, Institute of Pathology, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

Background: Malignant astrocytic gliomas in children show a remarkable biological and clinical diversity. Small in-frame insertions or missense mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR) have recently been identified in a distinct subset of pediatric-type bithalamic gliomas with a unique DNA methylation pattern.

Methods: Here, we investigated an epigenetically homogeneous cohort of malignant gliomas (n = 58) distinct from other subtypes and enriched for pediatric cases and thalamic location, in comparison with this recently identified subtype of pediatric bithalamic gliomas.

Results: EGFR gene amplification was detected in 16/58 (27%) tumors, and missense mutations or small in-frame insertions in EGFR were found in 20/30 tumors with available sequencing data (67%; 5 of them co-occurring with EGFR amplification). Additionally, 8 of the 30 tumors (27%) harbored an H3.1 or H3.3 K27M mutation (6 of them with a concomitant EGFR alteration). All tumors tested showed loss of H3K27me3 staining, with evidence of overexpression of the EZH inhibitory protein (EZHIP) in the H3 wildtype cases. Although some tumors indeed showed a bithalamic growth pattern, a significant proportion of tumors occurred in the unilateral thalamus or in other (predominantly midline) locations.

Conclusions: Our findings present a distinct molecular class of pediatric-type malignant gliomas largely overlapping with the recently reported bithalamic gliomas characterized by EGFR alteration, but additionally showing a broader spectrum of EGFR alterations and tumor localization. Global H3K27me3 loss in this group appears to be mediated by either H3 K27 mutation or EZHIP overexpression. EGFR inhibition may represent a potential therapeutic strategy in these highly aggressive gliomas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noaa251DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7850075PMC
January 2021

Infratentorial IDH-mutant astrocytoma is a distinct subtype.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 10 10;140(4):569-581. Epub 2020 Aug 10.

Clinical Cooperation Unit Neuropathology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK), Heidelberg, Germany.

Diffuse IDH-mutant astrocytic tumors are rarely diagnosed in the cerebellum or brainstem. In this multi-institutional study, we characterized a series of primary infratentorial IDH-mutant astrocytic tumors with respect to clinical and molecular parameters. We report that about 80% of IDH mutations in these tumors are of non-IDH1-R132H variants which are rare in supratentorial astrocytomas. Most frequently, IDH1-R132C/G and IDH2-R172S/G mutations were present. Moreover, the frequencies of ATRX-loss and MGMT promoter methylation, which are typically associated with IDH mutations in supratentorial astrocytic tumors, were significantly lower in the infratentorial compartment. Gene panel sequencing revealed two samples with IDH1-R132C/H3F3A-K27M co-mutations. Genome-wide DNA methylation as well as chromosomal copy number profiling provided further evidence for a molecular distinctiveness of infratentorial IDH-mutant astrocytomas. Clinical outcome of patients with infratentorial IDH-mutant astrocytomas is significantly better than that of patients with diffuse midline gliomas, H3K27M-mutant (p < 0.005) and significantly worse than that of patients with supratentorial IDH-mutant astrocytomas (p = 0.028). The presented data highlight the very existence and distinctiveness of infratentorial IDH-mutant astrocytomas that have important implications for diagnostics and prognostication. They imply that molecular testing is critical for detection of these tumors, since many of these tumors cannot be identified by immunohistochemistry applied for the mutated IDH1-R132H protein or loss of ATRX.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-020-02194-yDOI Listing
October 2020

Heterogeneity of response to immune checkpoint blockade in hypermutated experimental gliomas.

Nat Commun 2020 02 18;11(1):931. Epub 2020 Feb 18.

DKTK Clinical Cooperation Unit Neuroimmunology and Brain Tumor Immunology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.

Intrinsic malignant brain tumors, such as glioblastomas are frequently resistant to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) with few hypermutated glioblastomas showing response. Modeling patient-individual resistance is challenging due to the lack of predictive biomarkers and limited accessibility of tissue for serial biopsies. Here, we investigate resistance mechanisms to anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 therapy in syngeneic hypermutated experimental gliomas and show a clear dichotomy and acquired immune heterogeneity in ICB-responder and non-responder tumors. We made use of this dichotomy to establish a radiomic signature predicting tumor regression after pseudoprogression induced by ICB therapy based on serial magnetic resonance imaging. We provide evidence that macrophage-driven ICB resistance is established by CD4 T cell suppression and T expansion in the tumor microenvironment via the PD-L1/PD-1/CD80 axis. These findings uncover an unexpected heterogeneity of response to ICB in strictly syngeneic tumors and provide a rationale for targeting PD-L1-expressing tumor-associated macrophages to overcome resistance to ICB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14642-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7028933PMC
February 2020

Transcriptional profiling of medulloblastoma with extensive nodularity (MBEN) reveals two clinically relevant tumor subsets with VSNL1 as potent prognostic marker.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 03 28;139(3):583-596. Epub 2019 Nov 28.

Clinical Cooperation Unit Neuropathology (B300), German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany.

Medulloblastoma with extensive nodularity (MBEN) is one of the few central nervous system (CNS) tumor entities occurring in infants which is traditionally associated with good to excellent prognosis. Some MBEN, however, have been reported with an unfavorable clinical course. We performed an integrated DNA/RNA-based molecular analysis of a multi-institutional MBEN cohort (n = 41) to identify molecular events which might be responsible for variability in patients' clinical outcomes. RNA sequencing analysis of this MBEN cohort disclosed two clear transcriptome clusters (TCL) of these CNS tumors: "TCL1 MBEN" and "TCL2 MBEN" which were associated with various gene expression signatures, mutational landscapes and, importantly, prognosis. Thus, the clinically unfavorable "TCL1 MBEN" subset revealed transcriptome signatures composed of cancer-associated signaling pathways and disclosed a high frequency of clinically relevant germline PTCH1/SUFU alterations. In contrast, gene expression profiles of tumors from the clinically favorable "TCL2 MBEN" subgroup were associated with activation of various neurometabolic and neurotransmission signaling pathways, and germline SHH-pathway gene mutations were extremely rare in this transcriptome cluster. "TCL2 MBEN" also revealed strong and ubiquitous expression of VSNL1 (visinin-like protein 1) both at the mRNA and protein level, which was correlated with a favorable clinical course. Thus, combining mutational and epigenetic profiling with transcriptome analysis including VSNL1 immunohistochemistry, MBEN patients could be stratified into clinical risk groups of potential value for subsequent treatment planning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-019-02102-zDOI Listing
March 2020

DNA methylation-based profiling of uterine neoplasms: a novel tool to improve gynecologic cancer diagnostics.

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 2020 Jan 25;146(1):97-104. Epub 2019 Nov 25.

Department of Pathology, Institute of Pathology, Heidelberg University Hospital, INF 224, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany.

Purpose: Uterine neoplasms comprise a broad spectrum of lesions, some of which may pose a diagnostic challenge even to experienced pathologists. Recently, genome-wide DNA methylation-based classification of central nervous system tumors has been shown to increase diagnostic precision in clinical practice when combined with standard histopathology. In this study, we describe DNA methylation patterns of a diverse set of uterine neoplasms and test the applicability of array-based DNA methylation profiling.

Methods: A multicenter cohort including prototypical epithelial and mesenchymal uterine neoplasms was collected. Tumors were subject to pathology review and array-based DNA methylation profiling (Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450 or EPIC [850k] BeadChip). Methylation data were analyzed by unsupervised hierarchical clustering and t-SNE analysis.

Results: After sample retrieval and pathology review the study cohort consisted of 49 endometrial carcinomas (EC), 5 carcinosarcomas (MMMT), 8 uterine leiomyomas (ULMO), 7 uterine leiomyosarcomas (ULMS), 15 uterine tumor resembling ovarian sex cord tumors (UTROSCT), 17 low-grade endometrial stromal sarcomas (LGESS) and 9 high-grade endometrial stromal sarcomas (HGESS). Analysis of methylation data identified distinct methylation clusters, which correlated with established diagnostic categories of uterine neoplasms. MMMT clustered together with EC, while ULMO, ULMS and UTROSCT each formed distinct clusters. The LGESS cluster differed from that of HGESS, and within the branch of HGESS, we observed a notable subgrouping of YWHAE- and BCOR-rearranged tumors.

Conclusion: Herein, we describe distinct DNA methylation signatures in uterine neoplasms and show that array-based DNA methylation analysis holds promise as an ancillary tool to further characterize uterine neoplasms, especially in cases which are diagnostically challenging by conventional techniques.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00432-019-03093-wDOI Listing
January 2020

Tumors diagnosed as cerebellar glioblastoma comprise distinct molecular entities.

Acta Neuropathol Commun 2019 10 28;7(1):163. Epub 2019 Oct 28.

Institute of Pathology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

In this multi-institutional study we compiled a retrospective cohort of 86 posterior fossa tumors having received the diagnosis of cerebellar glioblastoma (cGBM). All tumors were reviewed histologically and subjected to array-based methylation analysis followed by algorithm-based classification into distinct methylation classes (MCs). The single MC containing the largest proportion of 25 tumors diagnosed as cGBM was MC anaplastic astrocytoma with piloid features representing a recently-described molecular tumor entity not yet included in the WHO Classification of Tumours of the Central Nervous System (WHO classification). Twenty-nine tumors molecularly corresponded to either of 6 methylation subclasses subsumed in the MC family GBM IDH wildtype. Further we identified 6 tumors belonging to the MC diffuse midline glioma H3 K27 M mutant and 6 tumors allotted to the MC IDH mutant glioma subclass astrocytoma. Two tumors were classified as MC pilocytic astrocytoma of the posterior fossa, one as MC CNS high grade neuroepithelial tumor with BCOR alteration and one as MC control tissue, inflammatory tumor microenvironment. The methylation profiles of 16 tumors could not clearly be assigned to one distinct MC. In comparison to supratentorial localization, the MC GBM IDH wildtype subclass midline was overrepresented, whereas the MCs GBM IDH wildtype subclass mesenchymal and subclass RTK II were underrepresented in the cerebellum. Based on the integration of molecular and histological findings all tumors received an integrated diagnosis in line with the WHO classification 2016. In conclusion, cGBM does not represent a molecularly uniform tumor entity, but rather comprises different brain tumor entities with diverse prognosis and therapeutic options. Distinction of these molecular tumor classes requires molecular analysis. More than 30% of tumors diagnosed as cGBM belong to the recently described molecular entity of anaplastic astrocytoma with piloid features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40478-019-0801-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6816155PMC
October 2019

Isomorphic diffuse glioma is a morphologically and molecularly distinct tumour entity with recurrent gene fusions of MYBL1 or MYB and a benign disease course.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 01 28;139(1):193-209. Epub 2019 Sep 28.

Department of Neuropathology, Institute of Pathology and Neuropathology, University Hospital of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.

The "isomorphic subtype of diffuse astrocytoma" was identified histologically in 2004 as a supratentorial, highly differentiated glioma with low cellularity, low proliferation and focal diffuse brain infiltration. Patients typically had seizures since childhood and all were operated on as adults. To define the position of these lesions among brain tumours, we histologically, molecularly and clinically analysed 26 histologically prototypical isomorphic diffuse gliomas. Immunohistochemically, they were GFAP-positive, MAP2-, OLIG2- and CD34-negative, nuclear ATRX-expression was retained and proliferation was low. All 24 cases sequenced were IDH-wildtype. In cluster analyses of DNA methylation data, isomorphic diffuse gliomas formed a group clearly distinct from other glial/glio-neuronal brain tumours and normal hemispheric tissue, most closely related to paediatric MYB/MYBL1-altered diffuse astrocytomas and angiocentric gliomas. Half of the isomorphic diffuse gliomas had copy number alterations of MYBL1 or MYB (13/25, 52%). Gene fusions of MYBL1 or MYB with various gene partners were identified in 11/22 (50%) and were associated with an increased RNA-expression of the respective MYB-family gene. Integrating copy number alterations and available RNA sequencing data, 20/26 (77%) of isomorphic diffuse gliomas demonstrated MYBL1 (54%) or MYB (23%) alterations. Clinically, 89% of patients were seizure-free after surgery and all had a good outcome. In summary, we here define a distinct benign tumour class belonging to the family of MYB/MYBL1-altered gliomas. Isomorphic diffuse glioma occurs both in children and adults, has a concise morphology, frequent MYBL1 and MYB alterations and a specific DNA methylation profile. As an exclusively histological diagnosis may be very challenging and as paediatric MYB/MYBL1-altered diffuse astrocytomas may have the same gene fusions, we consider DNA methylation profiling very helpful for their identification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-019-02078-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7477753PMC
January 2020

Routine RNA sequencing of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded specimens in neuropathology diagnostics identifies diagnostically and therapeutically relevant gene fusions.

Acta Neuropathol 2019 11 5;138(5):827-835. Epub 2019 Jul 5.

Department of Neuropathology, Institute of Pathology, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

Molecular markers have become pivotal in brain tumor diagnostics. Mutational analyses by targeted next-generation sequencing of DNA and array-based DNA methylation assessment with copy number analyses are increasingly being used in routine diagnostics. However, the broad variety of gene fusions occurring in brain tumors is marginally covered by these technologies and often only assessed by targeted assays. Here, we assessed the feasibility and clinical value of investigating gene fusions in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumor tissues by next-generation mRNA sequencing in a routine diagnostic setting. After establishment and optimization of a workflow applicable in a routine setting, prospective diagnostic application in a neuropathology department for 26 months yielded relevant fusions in 66 out of 101 (65%) analyzed cases. In 43 (43%) cases, the fusions were of decisive diagnostic relevance and in 40 (40%) cases the fusion genes rendered a druggable target. A major strength of this approach was its ability to detect fusions beyond the canonical alterations for a given entity, and the unbiased search for any fusion event in cases with uncertain diagnosis and, thus, uncertain spectrum of expected fusions. This included both rare variants of established fusions which had evaded prior targeted analyses as well as the detection of previously unreported fusion events. While the impact of fusion detection on diagnostics is highly relevant, it is especially the detection of "druggable" fusions which will most likely provide direct benefit to the patients. The wider application of this approach for unbiased fusion identification therefore promises to be a major advance in identifying alterations with immediate impact on patient care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-019-02039-3DOI Listing
November 2019

Rosette-forming glioneuronal tumors share a distinct DNA methylation profile and mutations in FGFR1, with recurrent co-mutation of PIK3CA and NF1.

Acta Neuropathol 2019 09 27;138(3):497-504. Epub 2019 Jun 27.

Department of Pathology, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Location VUmc and Brain Tumor Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Rosette-forming glioneuronal tumor (RGNT) is a rare brain neoplasm that primarily affects young adults. Although alterations affecting the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway have been associated with this low-grade entity, comprehensive molecular investigations of RGNT in larger series have not been performed to date, and an integrated view of their genetic and epigenetic profiles is still lacking. Here we describe a genome-wide DNA methylation and targeted sequencing-based characterization of a molecularly distinct class of tumors (n = 30), initially identified through genome-wide DNA methylation screening among a cohort of > 30,000 tumors, of which most were diagnosed histologically as RGNT. FGFR1 hotspot mutations were observed in all tumors analyzed, with co-occurrence of PIK3CA mutations in about two-thirds of the cases (63%). Additional loss-of-function mutations in the tumor suppressor gene NF1 were detected in a subset of cases (33%). Notably, in contrast to most other low-grade gliomas, these tumors often displayed co-occurrence of two or even all three of these mutations. Our data highlight that molecularly defined RGNTs are characterized by highly recurrent combined genetic alterations affecting both MAPK and PI3K signaling pathways. Thus, these two pathways appear to synergistically interact in the formation of RGNT, and offer potential therapeutic targets for this disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-019-02038-4DOI Listing
September 2019

Mutational patterns and regulatory networks in epigenetic subgroups of meningioma.

Acta Neuropathol 2019 08 8;138(2):295-308. Epub 2019 May 8.

Department of Neurology, University Hospital and University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

DNA methylation patterns delineate clinically relevant subgroups of meningioma. We previously established the six meningioma methylation classes (MC) benign 1-3, intermediate A and B, and malignant. Here, we set out to identify subgroup-specific mutational patterns and gene regulation. Whole genome sequencing was performed on 62 samples across all MCs and WHO grades from 62 patients with matched blood control, including 40 sporadic meningiomas and 22 meningiomas arising after radiation (Mrad). RNA sequencing was added for 18 of these cases and chromatin-immunoprecipitation for histone H3 lysine 27 acetylation (H3K27ac) followed by sequencing (ChIP-seq) for 16 samples. Besides the known mutations in meningioma, structural variants were found as the mechanism of NF2 inactivation in a small subset (5%) of sporadic meningiomas, similar to previous reports for Mrad. Aberrations of DMD were found to be enriched in MCs with NF2 mutations, and DMD was among the most differentially upregulated genes in NF2 mutant compared to NF2 wild-type cases. The mutational signature AC3, which has been associated with defects in homologous recombination repair (HRR), was detected in both sporadic meningioma and Mrad, but widely distributed across the genome in sporadic cases and enriched near genomic breakpoints in Mrad. Compared to the other MCs, the number of single nucleotide variants matching the AC3 pattern was significantly higher in the malignant MC, which also exhibited higher genomic instability, determined by the numbers of both large segments affected by copy number alterations and breakpoints between large segments. ChIP-seq analysis for H3K27ac revealed a specific activation of genes regulated by the transcription factor FOXM1 in the malignant MC. This analysis also revealed a super enhancer near the HOXD gene cluster in this MC, which, together with general upregulation of HOX genes in the malignant MC, indicates a role of HOX genes in meningioma aggressiveness. This data elucidates the biological mechanisms rendering different epigenetic subgroups of meningiomas, and suggests leveraging HRR as a novel therapeutic target.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-019-02008-wDOI Listing
August 2019

Desmoplastic/nodular medulloblastomas (DNMB) and medulloblastomas with extensive nodularity (MBEN) disclose similar epigenetic signatures but different transcriptional profiles.

Acta Neuropathol 2019 06 2;137(6):1003-1015. Epub 2019 Mar 2.

Clinical Cooperation Unit Neuropathology (B300), German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), Heidelberg, Germany.

Desmoplastic/nodular medulloblastomas (DNMB) and medulloblastomas with extensive nodularity (MBEN) were outlined in the current WHO classification of tumors of the nervous system as two distinct histological MB variants. However, they are often considered as cognate SHH MB entities, and it is a reason why some clinical MB trials do not separate the patients with DNMB or MBEN histology. In the current study, we performed an integrated DNA/RNA-based molecular analysis of 83 DNMB and 36 MBEN to assess the etiopathogenetic relationship between these SHH MB variants. Methylation profiling revealed "infant" and "children" SHH MB clusters but neither DNMB nor MBEN composed separate epigenetic cohorts, and their profiles were intermixed within the "infant" cluster. In contrast, RNA-based transcriptional profiling disclosed that expression signatures of all MBEN were clustered separately from most of DNMB and a set of differentially expressed genes was identified. MBEN transcriptomes were enriched with genes associated with synaptic transmission, neuronal differentiation and metabolism, whereas DNMB profiling signatures included sets of genes involved in phototransduction and NOTCH signaling pathways. Thus, DNMB and MBEN are distinct tumor entities within the SHH MB family whose biology is determined by different transcriptional programs. Therefore, we recommend a transcriptome analysis as an optimal molecular tool to discriminate between DNMB and MBEN, which may be of benefit for patients' risk stratification in clinical trials. Molecular events identified in DNMB by RNA sequencing could be considered in the future as potent molecular targets for novel therapeutic interventions in treatment-resistant cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-019-01981-6DOI Listing
June 2019

Genome-wide methylation profiling and copy number analysis in atypical fibroxanthomas and pleomorphic dermal sarcomas indicate a similar molecular phenotype.

Clin Sarcoma Res 2019 14;9. Epub 2019 Feb 14.

2Department of Neuropathology, Institute of Pathology, Heidelberg University Hospital, Im Neuenheimer Feld 224, 69120 Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg Germany.

Background: Atypical fibroxanthomas (AFX) and pleomorphic dermal sarcomas (PDS) are lesions of the skin with overlapping histologic features and unspecific molecular traits. PDS behaves aggressive compared to AFX. Thus, a precise delineation, although challenging in some instances, is relevant.

Methods: We examined the value of DNA-methylation profiling and copy number analysis for separating these tumors. DNA-methylation data were generated from 17 AFX and 15 PDS using the Illumina EPIC array. These were compared with DNA-methylation data generated from 196 tumors encompassing potential histologic mimics like cutaneous squamous carcinomas (cSCC; n = 19), basal cell carcinomas (n = 10), melanoma metastases originating from the skin (n = 11), leiomyosarcomas (n = 11), angiosarcomas of the skin and soft tissue (n = 11), malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (n = 19), dermatofibrosarcomas protuberans (n = 13), extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcomas (n = 9), myxoid liposarcomas (n = 14), schwannomas (n = 10), neurofibromas (n = 21), alveolar (n = 19) and embryonal (n = 17) rhabdomyosarcomas as well as undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcomas (n = 12).

Results: DNA-methylation profiling did not separate AFX from PDS. The DNA-methylation profiles of the other cases, however, were distinct from AFX/PDS. They reliably assigned to subtype-specific DNA-methylation clusters, although overlap occurred between some AFX/PDS and cSCC. Copy number profiling revealed alterations in a similar frequency and distribution between AFX and PDS. They involved losses of 9p (22/32) and 13q (25/32). Gains frequently involved 8q (8/32). Notably, a homozygous deletion of was more frequent in PDS (6/15) than in AFX (2/17), whereas amplifications were non-recurrent and overall rare (5/32).

Conclusions: Our findings support the concept that AFX and PDS belong to a common tumor spectrum. We could demonstrate the diagnostic value of DNA-methylation profiling to delineating AFX/PDS from potential mimics. However, the assessment of certain histologic features remains crucial for separating PDS from AFX.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13569-019-0113-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6375211PMC
February 2019
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