Publications by authors named "Jordan R Hansford"

58 Publications

Serial assessment of measurable residual disease in medulloblastoma liquid biopsies.

Cancer Cell 2021 Oct 19. Epub 2021 Oct 19.

Division of Neuro-Oncology, Department of Oncology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN 38105, USA.

Nearly one-third of children with medulloblastoma, a malignant embryonal tumor of the cerebellum, succumb to their disease. Conventional response monitoring by imaging and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cytology remains challenging, and a marker for measurable residual disease (MRD) is lacking. Here, we show the clinical utility of CSF-derived cell-free DNA (cfDNA) as a biomarker of MRD in serial samples collected from children with medulloblastoma (123 patients, 476 samples) enrolled on a prospective trial. Using low-coverage whole-genome sequencing, tumor-associated copy-number variations in CSF-derived cfDNA are investigated as an MRD surrogate. MRD is detected at baseline in 85% and 54% of patients with metastatic and localized disease, respectively. The number of MRD-positive patients declines with therapy, yet those with persistent MRD have significantly higher risk of progression. Importantly, MRD detection precedes radiographic progression in half who relapse. Our findings advocate for the prospective assessment of CSF-derived liquid biopsies in future trials for medulloblastoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccell.2021.09.012DOI Listing
October 2021

Accuracy of Central Neuro-Imaging Review of DIPG Compared with Histopathology in the International DIPG Registry.

Neuro Oncol 2021 Oct 20. Epub 2021 Oct 20.

Division of Oncology, Xinhua Hospital.

Background: Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) remains a clinico-radiologic diagnosis without routine tissue acquisition. Reliable imaging distinction between DIPG and other pontine tumors with potentially more favorable prognoses and treatment considerations is essential.

Methods: Cases submitted to the International DIPG registry (IDIPGR) with histopathologic and/or radiologic data were analyzed. Central imaging review was performed on diagnostic brain MRIs (if available) by two neuro-radiologists. Imaging features suggestive of alternative diagnoses included non-pontine origin, <50% pontine involvement, focally exophytic morphology, sharply-defined margins, and/or marked diffusion restriction throughout.

Results: Among 286 patients with pathology from biopsy and/or autopsy, 23 (8%) had histologic diagnoses inconsistent with DIPG, most commonly non-diffuse low-grade gliomas and embryonal tumors. Among 569 patients with centrally-reviewed diagnostic MRIs, 40 (7%) were classified as non-DIPG, alternative diagnosis suspected. The combined analysis included 151 patients with both histopathology and centrally-reviewed MRI. Of 77 patients with imaging classified as characteristic of DIPG, 76 (99%) had histopathologic diagnoses consistent with DIPG (infiltrating grade II-IV gliomas). Of 57 patients classified as likely DIPG with some unusual imaging features, 55 (96%) had histopathologic diagnoses consistent with DIPG. Of 17 patients with imaging features suggestive of an alternative diagnosis, eight (47%) had histopathologic diagnoses inconsistent with DIPG (remaining patients were excluded due to non-pontine tumor origin). Association between central neuro-imaging review impression and histopathology was significant (p<0.001), and central neuro-imaging impression was prognostic of overall survival.

Conclusions: The accuracy and important role of central neuro-imaging review in confirming the diagnosis of DIPG is demonstrated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noab245DOI Listing
October 2021

Clinical phenotypes and prognostic features of embryonal tumours with multi-layered rosettes: a Rare Brain Tumor Registry study.

Lancet Child Adolesc Health 2021 Nov 30;5(11):800-813. Epub 2021 Sep 30.

Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumor Research Centre, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada; Division of Haematology/Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada; Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Embryonal tumours with multi-layered rosettes (ETMRs) are a newly recognised, rare paediatric brain tumour with alterations of the C19MC microRNA locus. Due to varied diagnostic practices and scarce clinical data, disease features and determinants of outcomes for these tumours are poorly defined. We did an integrated clinicopathological and molecular analysis of primary ETMRs to define clinical phenotypes, and to identify prognostic factors of survival and key treatment modalities for this orphan disease.

Methods: Paediatric patients with primary ETMRs and tissue available for analyses were identified from the Rare Brain Tumor Consortium global registry. The institutional histopathological diagnoses were centrally re-reviewed as per the current WHO CNS tumour guidelines, using histopathological and molecular assays. Only patients with complete clinical, treatment, and survival data on Nov 30, 2019, were included in clinicopathological analyses. Among patients who received primary multi-modal curative regimens, event-free survival and overall survival were determined using Cox proportional hazard and log-rank analyses. Univariate and multivariable Cox proportional hazard regression was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% CIs for clinical, molecular, or treatment-related prognostic factors.

Findings: 159 patients had a confirmed molecular diagnosis of primary ETMRs (median age at diagnosis 26 months, IQR 18-36) and were included in our clinicopathological analysis. ETMRs were predominantly non-metastatic (94 [73%] of 128 patients), arising from multiple sites; 84 (55%) of 154 were cerebral tumours and 70 (45%) of 154 arose at sites characteristic of other brain tumours. Hallmark C19MC alterations were seen in 144 (91%) of 159 patients; 15 (9%) were ETMR not otherwise specified. In patients treated with curative intent, event-free survival was 57% (95% CI 47-68) at 6 months and 31% (21-42) at 2 years; overall survival was 29% (20-38) at 2 years and 27% (18-37) at 4 years. Overall survival was associated with non-metastatic disease (HR 0·48, 95% CI 0·28-0·80; p=0·0057) and non-brainstem location (0·42 [0·22-0·81]; p=0·013) on univariate analysis, as well as with gross total resection (0·30, 0·16-0·58; p=0·0014), high-dose chemotherapy (0·35, 0·19-0·67; p=0·0020), and radiotherapy (0·21, 0·10-0·41; p<0·0001) on multivariable analysis. 2-year event-free and overall survival was 0% at 2 years in patients treated with conventional chemotherapy without radiotherapy (regardless of surgery extent), and 21% (95% CI 1-41) and 30% (6-54), respectively, in patients treated with high-dose chemotherapy, and gross total resection without radiotherapy. 2-year event-free survival in patients treated with high-dose chemotherapy and radiotherapy was 66% (95% CI 39-93) for patients with gross total resection and 44% (7-81) for patients with sub-total resection. 2-5-year overall survival was 66% (95% CI 33-99, p=0·038) for patients with gross total resection and 67% (36-98, p=0·0020) for patients with sub-total resection.

Interpretation: Prompt molecular diagnosis and post-surgical treatment with intensive multi-modal therapy tailored to patient-specific risk features could improve ETMR survival.

Funding: Canadian Institute of Health Research, Canada Research Chair Awards, Australian Lions Childhood Cancer Research Foundation, Spanish Society of Pediatrics, Consejería de Salud y Familias de la Junta de Andalucía, Miracle Marnie, Phoebe Rose Rocks, Tali's Funds, Garron Cancer Centre, Grace's Walk, Meagan's Hug, Brainchild, Nelina's Hope, and Jean Martel Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(21)00245-5DOI Listing
November 2021

PATZ1 fusions define a novel molecularly distinct neuroepithelial tumor entity with a broad histological spectrum.

Acta Neuropathol 2021 Nov 21;142(5):841-857. Epub 2021 Aug 21.

Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.

Large-scale molecular profiling studies in recent years have shown that central nervous system (CNS) tumors display a much greater heterogeneity in terms of molecularly distinct entities, cellular origins and genetic drivers than anticipated from histological assessment. DNA methylation profiling has emerged as a useful tool for robust tumor classification, providing new insights into these heterogeneous molecular classes. This is particularly true for rare CNS tumors with a broad morphological spectrum, which are not possible to assign as separate entities based on histological similarity alone. Here, we describe a molecularly distinct subset of predominantly pediatric CNS neoplasms (n = 60) that harbor PATZ1 fusions. The original histological diagnoses of these tumors covered a wide spectrum of tumor types and malignancy grades. While the single most common diagnosis was glioblastoma (GBM), clinical data of the PATZ1-fused tumors showed a better prognosis than typical GBM, despite frequent relapses. RNA sequencing revealed recurrent MN1:PATZ1 or EWSR1:PATZ1 fusions related to (often extensive) copy number variations on chromosome 22, where PATZ1 and the two fusion partners are located. These fusions have individually been reported in a number of glial/glioneuronal tumors, as well as extracranial sarcomas. We show here that they are more common than previously acknowledged, and together define a biologically distinct CNS tumor type with high expression of neural development markers such as PAX2, GATA2 and IGF2. Drug screening performed on the MN1:PATZ1 fusion-bearing KS-1 brain tumor cell line revealed preliminary candidates for further study. In summary, PATZ1 fusions define a molecular class of histologically polyphenotypic neuroepithelial tumors, which show an intermediate prognosis under current treatment regimens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-021-02354-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8500868PMC
November 2021

Systems-Level Change to Alleviate Barriers to Cancer Clinical Trial Access for Adolescents and Young Adults in Australia.

J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol 2021 Jul 22. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

ONTrac at PeterMac, Victorian Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia.

International data demonstrate association between clinical trial participation and reduced cancer mortality. Adolescents and young adults (AYA) have low clinical trial enrollment rates. We established a program to understand local barriers and develop targeted solutions that lead to greater AYA clinical trial participation. A steering committee (SC) with expertise in adult and pediatric oncology, research ethics, and consumer representation was formed. The SC mapped barriers related to AYA trial access and established working groups (WGs) around three themes. The Regulatory Awareness WG identified a lack of understanding of processes that support protocol approval for clinical trials across the AYA age range. A guideline to raise awareness was developed. The Access WG identified challenges for young adults (18-25 years) to access a pediatric hospital to enroll in a pediatric trial. A procedure was developed to streamline applications for access. The first six applications using this procedure have been successful. The Availability WG identified lack of pediatric-adult oncology reciprocal relationships as a barrier to awareness of open trials, and future collaboration. An AYA Craft Group Framework was established to grow relationships within tumor streams across institutions; two craft groups are now operating locally. An additional achievement was a successful request to the Therapeutic Goods Administration for Australian adoption of the Food and Drug Administration Guidance on Considerations for the Inclusion of Adolescent Patients in Adult Oncology Clinical Trials. This multipronged approach to improving AYA clinical trial access has relevance for other health environments. Our knowledge products are available as an online toolkit.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/jayao.2021.0026DOI Listing
July 2021

Emergence and maintenance of actionable genetic drivers at medulloblastoma relapse.

Neuro Oncol 2021 Jul 17. Epub 2021 Jul 17.

Newcastle University Centre for Cancer, Translational & Clinical Research Institute, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Background: <5% of medulloblastoma patients survive following failure of contemporary radiation-based therapies. Understanding the molecular drivers of medulloblastoma relapse (rMB) will be essential to improve outcomes. Initial genome-wide investigations suggested significant genetic divergence of the relapsed disease.

Methods: We undertook large-scale integrated characterization of the molecular features of rMB - molecular subgroup, novel subtypes, copy number variation (CNV) and driver gene mutation. 119 rMBs were assessed in comparison with their paired diagnostic samples (n=107), alongside an independent reference cohort sampled at diagnosis (n=282). rMB events were investigated for association with outcome post-relapse in clinically-annotated patients (n=54).

Results: Significant genetic evolution occurred over disease-course; 40% of putative rMB drivers emerged at relapse and differed significantly between molecular subgroups. MBSHH Non-infant displayed significantly more chromosomal CNVs at relapse (TP53 mutation-associated). Relapsed MBGroup4 demonstrated the greatest genetic divergence, enriched for targetable (e.g. CDK amplifications) and novel (e.g. USH2A mutations) events. Importantly, many hallmark features of medulloblastoma were stable over time; novel subtypes (>90% of tumors) and established genetic drivers (e.g. SHH/WNT/P53 mutations; 60% of rMB events) were maintained from diagnosis. Critically, acquired and maintained rMB events converged on targetable pathways which were significantly enriched at relapse (e.g. DNA damage-signaling) and specific events (e.g. 3p loss) predicted survival post-relapse.

Conclusions: rMB is defined by the emergence of novel events and pathways, in concert with selective maintenance of established genetic drivers. Together, these define the actionable genetic landscape of rMB and provide a basis for improved clinical management and development of stratified therapeutics, across disease-course.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noab178DOI Listing
July 2021

An unexpected disease course for a patient with diffuse midline glioma.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2021 Oct 10;68(10):e29205. Epub 2021 Jul 10.

Children's Cancer Centre, The Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.29205DOI Listing
October 2021

Characteristics of Patients ≥ 10 Years of Age with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma: A Report from the International DIPG Registry.

Neuro Oncol 2021 Jun 11. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, OH.

Background: DIPG generally occurs in young school-age children, although can occur in adolescents and young adults. The purpose of this study was to describe clinical, radiological, pathologic, and molecular characteristics in patients ≥10 years of age with DIPG enrolled in the International DIPG Registry (IDIPGR).

Methods: Patients ≥10 years of age at diagnosis enrolled in the IDIPGR with imaging confirmed DIPG diagnosis were included. The primary outcome was overall survival (OS) categorized as long-term survivors (LTS) (≥24 months) or short-term survivors (STS) (<24 months).

Results: Among 1010 patients, 208 (21%) were ≥10 years of age at diagnosis; 152 were eligible with a median age of 12 years [range 10-26.8]. Median OS was 13 [2-82] months. The 1-, 3- and 5- years OS was 61.9%, 3.7%, and 1.5%, respectively. The 18/152 (11.8%) LTS were more likely to be older (P<0.01) and present with longer symptom duration (P<0.01). Biopsy and/or autopsy were performed in 50 (33%) patients; 77%, 61%, 33%, and 6% of patients tested had H3K27M (H3F3A or HIST1H3B), TP53, ATRX, and ACVR1 mutations/genome alterations, respectively. Two of 18 patients with IDH1 testing were IDH1-mutant and one was a LTS. The presence or absence of H3 alterations did not affect survival.

Conclusion: Patients ≥10 years old with DIPG have a median survival of 13 months. LTS present with longer symptom duration and are likely to be older at presentation compared to STS. ATRX mutation rates were higher in this population than the general DIPG population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noab140DOI Listing
June 2021

Growth hormone and targeted oncological agents: Are we stopping children with brain tumours from reaching their true height potential?

J Paediatr Child Health 2021 08 11;57(8):1170-1174. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

Children's Cancer Centre, The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Children with low-grade gliomas have excellent long-term survival outcomes. The development of therapies targeted to the driver mutations along the Mitogen Activated Protein (MAP) kinase signalling pathway are providing long-term stability for many patients with these tumours. Given the frequency of these tumours residing within or near the suprasellar region, our patients commonly suffer from hormone deficiencies. In Australia, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme currently restricts growth hormone therapy to patients who are not being actively treated for cancer, including those receiving targeted therapies. This viewpoint hopes to facilitate an important discussion amongst our colleagues as to whether this should be changed to allow growth hormone to become available to children on chronic tumour suppressive therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jpc.15607DOI Listing
August 2021

Malignant Melanoma in Children and Adolescents Treated in Pediatric Oncology Centers: An Australian and New Zealand Children's Oncology Group (ANZCHOG) Study.

Front Oncol 2021 29;11:660172. Epub 2021 Apr 29.

Department of Haematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant, Perth Children's Hospital, Perth, WA, Australia.

Objectives: Unlike adults, malignant melanoma in children and adolescents is rare. In adult melanoma, significant progress in understanding tumor biology and new treatments, including targeted therapies and immunotherapy have markedly improved overall survival. In sharp contrast, there is a paucity of data on the biology and clinical behavior of pediatric melanoma. We report a national case series of all pediatric and adolescent malignant melanoma presenting to ANZCHOG Childhood Cancer Centers in Australia and New Zealand.

Methods: A retrospective, descriptive, multi-center study was undertaken to identify patients less than 18 years of age treated for cutaneous malignant melanoma over a twenty-year period (1994 to 2014). Data on clinical characteristics, histopathology, and extent of disease, treatment and follow-up are described.

Results: A total of 37 cases of malignant melanoma were identified from all of the Australasian tertiary Childhood Cancer Centers. The median age was 10 years (range 1 month - 17 years). Clinically, the most common type of lesion was pigmented, occurring in sixteen (57%) patients, whilst amelanotic was seen in 7 patients (25%). In 11 (27.9%) the Breslow thickness was greater than 4mm. A total of 11 (29.7%) patients relapsed and 90% of these died of disease. Five-year event free survival (EFS) and overall survival were 63.2 (95% CI: 40.6 - 79.1) and 67.7% (95% CI: 45.1 - 82.6) respectively.

Conclusion: Our data confirms that melanoma is a rare presentation of cancer to tertiary Australasian Childhood Cancer Centers with only 37 cases identified over two decades. Notably, melanoma managed in Childhood Cancer Centers is frequently at an advanced stage, with a high percentage of patients relapsing and the majority of these patients who relapsed died of disease. This study confirms previous clinical and prognostic information to support the early multidisciplinary management in Childhood Cancer Centers, in conjunction with expert adult melanoma centers, of this rare and challenging patient group.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2021.660172DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8117414PMC
April 2021

Survival Benefit for Individuals With Constitutional Mismatch Repair Deficiency Undergoing Surveillance.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Sep 4;39(25):2779-2790. Epub 2021 May 4.

Lebanese American University Medical Center-Rizk, Beirut, Lebanon.

Purpose: Constitutional mismatch repair deficiency syndrome (CMMRD) is a lethal cancer predisposition syndrome characterized by early-onset synchronous and metachronous multiorgan tumors. We designed a surveillance protocol for early tumor detection in these individuals.

Patients And Methods: Data were collected from patients with confirmed CMMRD who were registered in the International Replication Repair Deficiency Consortium. Tumor spectrum, efficacy of the surveillance protocol, and malignant transformation of low-grade lesions were examined for the entire cohort. Survival outcomes were analyzed for patients followed prospectively from the time of surveillance implementation.

Results: A total of 193 malignant tumors in 110 patients were identified. Median age of first cancer diagnosis was 9.2 years (range: 1.7-39.5 years). For patients undergoing surveillance, all GI and other solid tumors, and 75% of brain cancers were detected asymptomatically. By contrast, only 16% of hematologic malignancies were detected asymptomatically ( < .001). Eighty-nine patients were followed prospectively and used for survival analysis. Five-year overall survival (OS) was 90% (95% CI, 78.6 to 100) and 50% (95% CI, 39.2 to 63.7) when cancer was detected asymptomatically and symptomatically, respectively ( = .001). Patient outcome measured by adherence to the surveillance protocol revealed 4-year OS of 79% (95% CI, 54.8 to 90.9) for patients undergoing full surveillance, 55% (95% CI, 28.5 to 74.5) for partial surveillance, and 15% (95% CI, 5.2 to 28.8) for those not under surveillance ( < .0001). Of the 64 low-grade tumors detected, the cumulative likelihood of transformation from low-to high-grade was 81% for GI cancers within 8 years and 100% for gliomas in 6 years.

Conclusion: Surveillance and early cancer detection are associated with improved OS for individuals with CMMRD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.02636DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8407605PMC
September 2021

An institutional audit of the use of novel drugs in pediatric oncology.

Cancer Rep (Hoboken) 2021 May 3:e1404. Epub 2021 May 3.

Children's Cancer Centre, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Background: Significant challenges persist in treating children with rare, relapsed, or refractory malignancies. Novel molecularly targeted drugs promise improved outcomes for these children with reduced toxicity. However, there is often limited evidence to substantiate their clinical efficacy and guide their use. This raises issues for clinical decision-making, ethical concerns surrounding equity of access to these often-expensive agents, and the management of families' expectations for cure. This audit evaluated the off-label use of novel drugs and associated clinical outcomes in order to guide the development of future clinical and ethical guidelines.

Aim: To evaluate the patterns in the off-label use of novel drugs for treating childhood cancer and the associated clinical outcomes to guide prospective studies and inform ethical and clinical governance protocols for the use of these agents.

Methods: A retrospective audit was performed for all patients who received novel drugs off-label as treatment for their malignancy at an Australian pediatric oncology center between 2010 and 2019.

Results: One hundred patients with 32 unique diagnoses received 133 novel drugs across 124 regimens. Eighty-four patients received these drugs at the second line of treatment or greater. Novel drug median cost was $15 521 AUD (Range: $6.53 AUD to $258 339 AUD) and was primarily funded by the hospital (N = 60/133, 45.1%) or compassionate access from pharmaceutical companies (N = 52/133, 39.1%). Decision-making related to novel drugs was inconsistently documented. Ninety-one of 124 treatment regimens commenced between 2010 and 2019 resulted in objective responses (73.4%), but only 35 were still ongoing upon review in June 2020 (38.5%). Median response duration was 12.6 months (Range: 0-93.2 months).

Conclusions: While novel drugs were largely unable to definitively cure patients, most achieved objective responses. Prospective trials and more rigorous documentation are needed to fully inform the future use of these agents given the heterogeneity of their applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cnr2.1404DOI Listing
May 2021

Clinical and molecular heterogeneity of pineal parenchymal tumors: a consensus study.

Acta Neuropathol 2021 05 22;141(5):771-785. Epub 2021 Feb 22.

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

Recent genomic studies have shed light on the biology and inter-tumoral heterogeneity underlying pineal parenchymal tumors, in particular pineoblastomas (PBs) and pineal parenchymal tumors of intermediate differentiation (PPTIDs). Previous reports, however, had modest sample sizes and lacked the power to integrate molecular and clinical findings. The different proposed molecular group structures also highlighted a need to reach consensus on a robust and relevant classification system. We performed a meta-analysis on 221 patients with molecularly characterized PBs and PPTIDs. DNA methylation profiles were analyzed through complementary bioinformatic approaches and molecular subgrouping was harmonized. Demographic, clinical, and genomic features of patients and samples from these pineal tumor groups were annotated. Four clinically and biologically relevant consensus PB groups were defined: PB-miRNA1 (n = 96), PB-miRNA2 (n = 23), PB-MYC/FOXR2 (n = 34), and PB-RB1 (n = 25). A final molecularly distinct group, designated PPTID (n = 43), comprised histological PPTID and PBs. Genomic and transcriptomic profiling allowed the characterization of oncogenic drivers for individual tumor groups, specifically, alterations in the microRNA processing pathway in PB-miRNA1/2, MYC amplification and FOXR2 overexpression in PB-MYC/FOXR2, RB1 alteration in PB-RB1, and KBTBD4 insertion in PPTID. Age at diagnosis, sex predilection, and metastatic status varied significantly among tumor groups. While patients with PB-miRNA2 and PPTID had superior outcome, survival was intermediate for patients with PB-miRNA1, and dismal for those with PB-MYC/FOXR2 or PB-RB1. Reduced-dose CSI was adequate for patients with average-risk, PB-miRNA1/2 disease. We systematically interrogated the clinical and molecular heterogeneity within pineal parenchymal tumors and proposed a consensus nomenclature for disease groups, laying the groundwork for future studies as well as routine use in tumor diagnostic classification and clinical trial stratification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-021-02284-5DOI Listing
May 2021

Ultra high-risk PFA ependymoma is characterized by loss of chromosome 6q.

Neuro Oncol 2021 08;23(8):1360-1370

Division of Haematology/Oncology, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Background: Within PF-EPN-A, 1q gain is a marker of poor prognosis, however, it is unclear if within PF-EPN-A additional cytogenetic events exist which can refine risk stratification.

Methods: Five independent non-overlapping cohorts of PF-EPN-A were analyzed applying genome-wide methylation arrays for chromosomal and clinical variables predictive of survival.

Results: Across all cohorts, 663 PF-EPN-A were identified. The most common broad copy number event was 1q gain (18.9%), followed by 6q loss (8.6%), 9p gain (6.5%), and 22q loss (6.8%). Within 1q gain tumors, there was significant enrichment for 6q loss (17.7%), 10q loss (16.9%), and 16q loss (15.3%). The 5-year progression-free survival (PFS) was strikingly worse in those patients with 6q loss, with a 5-year PFS of 50% (95% CI 45%-55%) for balanced tumors, compared with 32% (95% CI 24%-44%) for 1q gain only, 7.3% (95% CI 2.0%-27%) for 6q loss only and 0 for both 1q gain and 6q loss (P = 1.65 × 10-13). After accounting for treatment, 6q loss remained the most significant independent predictor of survival in PF-EPN-A but is not in PF-EPN-B. Distant relapses were more common in 1q gain irrespective of 6q loss. RNA sequencing comparing 6q loss to 6q balanced PF-EPN-A suggests that 6q loss forms a biologically distinct group.

Conclusions: We have identified an ultra high-risk PF-EPN-A ependymoma subgroup, which can be reliably ascertained using cytogenetic markers in routine clinical use. A change in treatment paradigm is urgently needed for this particular subset of PF-EPN-A where novel therapies should be prioritized for upfront therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noab034DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8328032PMC
August 2021

Clinical Outcomes and Patient-Matched Molecular Composition of Relapsed Medulloblastoma.

J Clin Oncol 2021 03 27;39(7):807-821. Epub 2021 Jan 27.

Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.

Purpose: We sought to investigate clinical outcomes of relapsed medulloblastoma and to compare molecular features between patient-matched diagnostic and relapsed tumors.

Methods: Children and infants enrolled on either SJMB03 (NCT00085202) or SJYC07 (NCT00602667) trials who experienced medulloblastoma relapse were analyzed for clinical outcomes, including anatomic and temporal patterns of relapse and postrelapse survival. A largely independent, paired molecular cohort was analyzed by DNA methylation array and next-generation sequencing.

Results: A total of 72 of 329 (22%) SJMB03 and 52 of 79 (66%) SJYC07 patients experienced relapse with significant representation of Group 3 and wingless tumors. Although most patients exhibited some distal disease (79%), 38% of patients with sonic hedgehog tumors experienced isolated local relapse. Time to relapse and postrelapse survival varied by molecular subgroup with longer latencies for patients with Group 4 tumors. Postrelapse radiation therapy among previously nonirradiated SJYC07 patients was associated with long-term survival. Reirradiation was only temporizing for SJMB03 patients. Among 127 patients with patient-matched tumor pairs, 9 (7%) experienced subsequent nonmedulloblastoma CNS malignancies. Subgroup (96%) and subtype (80%) stabilities were largely maintained among the remainder. Rare subgroup divergence was observed from Group 4 to Group 3 tumors, which is coincident with genetic alterations involving , , and . Subgroup-specific patterns of alteration were identified for driver genes and chromosome arms.

Conclusion: Clinical behavior of relapsed medulloblastoma must be contextualized in terms of up-front therapies and molecular classifications. Group 4 tumors exhibit slower biological progression. Utility of radiation at relapse is dependent on patient age and prior treatments. Degree and patterns of molecular conservation at relapse vary by subgroup. Relapse tissue enables verification of molecular targets and identification of occult secondary malignancies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.01359DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8078396PMC
March 2021

Outcomes by Clinical and Molecular Features in Children With Medulloblastoma Treated With Risk-Adapted Therapy: Results of an International Phase III Trial (SJMB03).

J Clin Oncol 2021 03 6;39(7):822-835. Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Hartwell Center, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN.

Purpose: SJMB03 (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00085202) was a phase III risk-adapted trial that aimed to determine the frequency and clinical significance of biological variants and genetic alterations in medulloblastoma.

Patients And Methods: Patients 3-21 years old were stratified into average-risk and high-risk treatment groups based on metastatic status and extent of resection. Medulloblastomas were molecularly classified into subgroups (Wingless [WNT], Sonic Hedgehog [SHH], group 3, and group 4) and subtypes based on DNA methylation profiles and overlaid with gene mutations from next-generation sequencing. Coprimary study end points were (1) to assess the relationship between ERBB2 protein expression in tumors and progression-free survival (PFS), and (2) to estimate the frequency of mutations associated with WNT and SHH tumors. Clinical and molecular risk factors were evaluated, and the most robust were used to model new risk-classification categories.

Results: Three hundred thirty eligible patients with medulloblastoma were enrolled. Five-year PFS was 83.2% (95% CI, 78.4 to 88.2) for average-risk patients (n = 227) and 58.7% (95% CI, 49.8 to 69.1) for high-risk patients (n = 103). No association was found between ERBB2 status and PFS in the overall cohort ( = .74) or when patients were stratified by clinical risk ( = .71). Mutations in (96%), (37%), and (24%) were most common in WNT tumors and (38%), (21%), and (19%) in SHH tumors. Methylome profiling classified 53 WNT (17.4%), 48 SHH (15.7%), 65 group 3 (21.3%), and 139 group 4 (45.6%) tumors. A comprehensive clinicomolecular risk factor analysis identified three low-risk groups (WNT, low-risk SHH, and low-risk combined groups 3 and 4) with excellent (5-year PFS > 90%) and two very high-risk groups (high-risk SHH and high-risk combined groups 3 and 4) with poor survival (5-year PFS < 60%).

Conclusion: These results establish a new risk stratification for future medulloblastoma trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.01372DOI Listing
March 2021

Histone H3.3G34-Mutant Interneuron Progenitors Co-opt PDGFRA for Gliomagenesis.

Cell 2020 12 30;183(6):1617-1633.e22. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

Department of Biochemistry, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 1A3, Canada.

Histone H3.3 glycine 34 to arginine/valine (G34R/V) mutations drive deadly gliomas and show exquisite regional and temporal specificity, suggesting a developmental context permissive to their effects. Here we show that 50% of G34R/V tumors (n = 95) bear activating PDGFRA mutations that display strong selection pressure at recurrence. Although considered gliomas, G34R/V tumors actually arise in GSX2/DLX-expressing interneuron progenitors, where G34R/V mutations impair neuronal differentiation. The lineage of origin may facilitate PDGFRA co-option through a chromatin loop connecting PDGFRA to GSX2 regulatory elements, promoting PDGFRA overexpression and mutation. At the single-cell level, G34R/V tumors harbor dual neuronal/astroglial identity and lack oligodendroglial programs, actively repressed by GSX2/DLX-mediated cell fate specification. G34R/V may become dispensable for tumor maintenance, whereas mutant-PDGFRA is potently oncogenic. Collectively, our results open novel research avenues in deadly tumors. G34R/V gliomas are neuronal malignancies where interneuron progenitors are stalled in differentiation by G34R/V mutations and malignant gliogenesis is promoted by co-option of a potentially targetable pathway, PDGFRA signaling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.11.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7791404PMC
December 2020

Recurrent fusions in pediatric sarcoma and brain tumors.

Cold Spring Harb Mol Case Stud 2020 12 17;6(6). Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Children's Cancer Institute, University of New South Wales, Randwick, 2031, Australia.

The identification of rearrangements driving expression of neurotrophic receptor tyrosine kinase () family kinases in tumors has become critically important because of the availability of effective, specific inhibitor drugs. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) combined with RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) can identify novel and recurrent expressed fusions. Here we describe three fusions identified in two pediatric central nervous system cancers and an extracranial solid tumor using WGS and RNA-seq. These fusions arose either through a simple balanced rearrangement or in the context of a complex chromoplexy event. We cloned the fusion directly from a patient sample and showed that enforced expression of this fusion is sufficient to promote cytokine-independent survival and proliferation. Cells transformed by expression are sensitive to a TRK inhibitor drug. We report here that fusions can arise in a range of pediatric cancers. Although WGS and RNA-seq are not required to detect fusions, these techniques may be of benefit when fusions are not suspected on clinical grounds or not identified by other methods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/mcs.a005710DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7784491PMC
December 2020

Whole genome, transcriptome and methylome profiling enhances actionable target discovery in high-risk pediatric cancer.

Nat Med 2020 11 5;26(11):1742-1753. Epub 2020 Oct 5.

Hereditary Cancer Centre, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, NSW, Australia.

The Zero Childhood Cancer Program is a precision medicine program to benefit children with poor-outcome, rare, relapsed or refractory cancer. Using tumor and germline whole genome sequencing (WGS) and RNA sequencing (RNAseq) across 252 tumors from high-risk pediatric patients with cancer, we identified 968 reportable molecular aberrations (39.9% in WGS and RNAseq, 35.1% in WGS only and 25.0% in RNAseq only). Of these patients, 93.7% had at least one germline or somatic aberration, 71.4% had therapeutic targets and 5.2% had a change in diagnosis. WGS identified pathogenic cancer-predisposing variants in 16.2% of patients. In 76 central nervous system tumors, methylome analysis confirmed diagnosis in 71.1% of patients and contributed to a change of diagnosis in two patients (2.6%). To date, 43 patients have received a recommended therapy, 38 of whom could be evaluated, with 31% showing objective evidence of clinical benefit. Comprehensive molecular profiling resolved the molecular basis of virtually all high-risk cancers, leading to clinical benefit in some patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-1072-4DOI Listing
November 2020

Treatment response of CNS high-grade neuroepithelial tumors with MN1 alteration.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2020 12 22;67(12):e28627. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

Service of Hematology/Oncology, Hospital JP Garrahan, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Central nervous system high-grade neuroepithelial tumor with MN1 alteration (CNS HGNET-MN1) is a rare recently described entity. Fourteen CNS HGNET-MN1 patients were identified using genome-wide methylation arrays/RT-PCR across seven institutions. All patients had surgery (gross total resection: 10; subtotal resection: four) as initial management followed by observation alone in three patients, followed by radiotherapy in eight patients (focal: five; craniospinal: two; CyberKnife: one) and systemic chemotherapy in three patients. Seven patients relapsed; five local and two metastatic, despite adjuvant radiotherapy, of which three died. Treatment of CNS HGNET-MN1 remains a major treatment challenge despite aggressive surgical resections and upfront radiotherapy, warranting new approaches to this rare malignancy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.28627DOI Listing
December 2020

Outcomes of BRAF V600E Pediatric Gliomas Treated With Targeted BRAF Inhibition.

JCO Precis Oncol 2020 20;4. Epub 2020 May 20.

Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.

Purpose: Children with pediatric gliomas harboring a BRAF V600E mutation have poor outcomes with current chemoradiotherapy strategies. Our aim was to study the role of targeted BRAF inhibition in these tumors.

Patients And Methods: We collected clinical, imaging, molecular, and outcome information from patients with BRAF V600E-mutated glioma treated with BRAF inhibition across 29 centers from multiple countries.

Results: Sixty-seven patients were treated with BRAF inhibition (pediatric low-grade gliomas [PLGGs], n = 56; pediatric high-grade gliomas [PHGGs], n = 11) for up to 5.6 years. Objective responses were observed in 80% of PLGGs, compared with 28% observed with conventional chemotherapy ( < .001). These responses were rapid (median, 4 months) and sustained in 86% of tumors up to 5 years while receiving therapy. After discontinuation of BRAF inhibition, 76.5% (13 of 17) of patients with PLGG experienced rapid progression (median, 2.3 months). However, upon rechallenge with BRAF inhibition, 90% achieved an objective response. Poor prognostic factors in conventional therapies, such as concomitant homozygous deletion of , were not associated with lack of response to BRAF inhibition. In contrast, only 36% of those with PHGG responded to BRAF inhibition, with all but one tumor progressing within 18 months. In PLGG, responses translated to 3-year progression-free survival of 49.6% (95% CI, 35.3% to 69.5%) versus 29.8% (95% CI, 20% to 44.4%) for BRAF inhibition versus chemotherapy, respectively ( = .02).

Conclusion: Use of BRAF inhibition results in robust and durable responses in BRAF V600E-mutated PLGG. Prospective studies are required to determine long-term survival and functional outcomes with BRAF inhibitor therapy in childhood gliomas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/PO.19.00298DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7446502PMC
May 2020

Preoperative chemotherapy in medulloblastoma: a change in treatment paradigm?

Neuro Oncol 2020 11;22(11):1562-1563

Children's Cancer Centre, Royal Children's Hospital, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noaa213DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7690354PMC
November 2020

Germline-driven replication repair-deficient high-grade gliomas exhibit unique hypomethylation patterns.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 11 8;140(5):765-776. Epub 2020 Sep 8.

The Royal Children's Hospital, 50 Flemington Rd, Parkville, VIC, 3052, Australia.

Replication repair deficiency (RRD) leading to hypermutation is an important driving mechanism of high-grade glioma (HGG) occurring predominantly in the context of germline mutations in RRD-associated genes. Although HGG presents specific patterns of DNA methylation corresponding to oncogenic mutations, this has not been well studied in replication repair-deficient tumors. We analyzed 51 HGG arising in the background of gene mutations in RRD utilizing either 450 k or 850 k methylation arrays. These were compared with HGG not known to be from patients with RRD. RRD HGG harboring secondary mutations in glioma genes such as IDH1 and H3F3A displayed a methylation pattern corresponding to these methylation subgroups. Strikingly, RRD HGG lacking these known secondary mutations clustered together with an incompletely described group of HGG previously labeled "Wild type-C" or "Paediatric RTK 1". Independent analysis of two comparator HGG cohorts showed that other RRD/hypermutant tumors clustered within these subgroups, suggesting that undiagnosed RRD may be driving some HGG clustering in this location. RRD HGG displayed a unique CpG Island Demethylator Phenotype in contrast to the CpG Island Methylator Phenotype described in other cancers. Hypomethylation was enriched at gene promoters with prominent demethylation in genes and pathways critical to cellular survival including cell cycle, gene expression, cellular metabolism, and organization. These data suggest that methylation arrays may provide diagnostic information for the detection of RRD HGG. Furthermore, our findings highlight the unique natural selection pressures in these highly dysregulated, hypermutant cancers and provide the novel impact of hypermutation and RRD on the cancer epigenome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-020-02209-8DOI Listing
November 2020

Bevacizumab for pediatric radiation necrosis.

Neurooncol Pract 2020 Jul 20;7(4):409-414. Epub 2020 Jan 20.

Division of Haematology/Oncology, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Background: Radiation necrosis is a frequent complication occurring after the treatment of pediatric brain tumors; however, treatment options remain a challenge. Bevacizumab is an anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody that has been shown in small adult cohorts to confer a benefit, specifically a reduction in steroid usage, but its use in children has not been well described.

Methods: We describe our experience with bevacizumab use for symptomatic radiation necrosis at 5 institutions including patients treated after both initial irradiation and reirradiation.

Results: We identified 26 patients treated with bevacizumab for symptomatic radiation necrosis, with a wide range of underlying diagnoses. The average age at diagnosis of radiation necrosis was 10.7 years, with a median time between the last dose of radiation and the presentation of radiation necrosis of 3.8 months (range, 0.6-110 months). Overall, we observed that 13 of 26 patients (50%) had an objective clinical improvement, with only 1 patient suffering from significant hypertension. Radiological improvement, defined as reduced T2/fluid-attenuated inversion recovery signal and mass effect, was observed in 50% of patients; however, this did not completely overlap with clinical response. Both early and late radiation necrosis responded equally well to bevacizumab therapy. Overall, bevacizumab was very well tolerated, permitting a reduction of corticosteroid dose and/or duration in the majority of patients.

Conclusions: Bevacizumab appears to be effective and well-tolerated in children as treatment for symptomatic radiation necrosis and warrants more robust study in the context of controlled clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nop/npz072DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7393279PMC
July 2020

Pattern of Relapse and Treatment Response in WNT-Activated Medulloblastoma.

Cell Rep Med 2020 Jun;1(3)

Departments of Pediatrics, Anatomy, and Neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA.

Over the past decade, wingless-activated (WNT) medulloblastoma has been identified as a candidate for therapy de-escalation based on excellent survival; however, a paucity of relapses has precluded additional analyses of markers of relapse. To address this gap in knowledge, an international cohort of 93 molecularly confirmed WNT MB was assembled, where 5-year progression-free survival is 0.84 (95%, 0.763-0.925) with 15 relapsed individuals identified. Maintenance chemotherapy is identified as a strong predictor of relapse, with individuals receiving high doses of cyclophosphamide or ifosphamide having only one very late molecularly confirmed relapse (p = 0.032). The anatomical location of recurrence is metastatic in 12 of 15 relapses, with 8 of 12 metastatic relapses in the lateral ventricles. Maintenance chemotherapy, specifically cumulative cyclophosphamide doses, is a significant predictor of relapse across WNT MB. Future efforts to de-escalate therapy need to carefully consider not only the radiation dose but also the chemotherapy regimen and the propensity for metastatic relapses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.xcrm.2020.100038DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7394286PMC
June 2020

MR imaging features of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma and relationship to overall survival: report from the International DIPG Registry.

Neuro Oncol 2020 11;22(11):1647-1657

Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Background: This study describes imaging features of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) and correlates with overall survival (OS) and histone mutation status in the International DIPG Registry (IDIPGR).

Methods: Four hundred cases submitted to the IDIPGR with a local diagnosis of DIPG and baseline MRI were evaluated by consensus review of 2 neuroradiologists; 43 cases were excluded (inadequate imaging or alternative diagnoses). Agreement between reviewers, association with histone status, and univariable and multivariable analyses relative to OS were assessed.

Results: On univariable analysis imaging features significantly associated with worse OS included: extrapontine extension, larger size, enhancement, necrosis, diffusion restriction, and distant disease. On central review, 9.5% of patients were considered not to have DIPG. There was moderate mean agreement of MRI features between reviewers. On multivariable analysis, chemotherapy, age, and distant disease were predictors of OS. There was no difference in OS between wild-type and H3 mutated cases. The only imaging feature associated with histone status was the presence of ill-defined signal infiltrating pontine fibers.

Conclusions: Baseline imaging features are assessed in the IDIPGR. There was a 9.5% discordance in DIPG diagnosis between local and central review, demonstrating need for central imaging confirmation for prospective trials. Although several imaging features were significantly associated with OS (univariable), only age and distant disease were significant on multivariable analyses. There was limited association of imaging features with histone mutation status, although numbers are small and evaluation exploratory.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noaa140DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7690352PMC
November 2020

Intracranial growing teratoma syndrome (iGTS): an international case series and review of the literature.

J Neurooncol 2020 May 15;147(3):721-730. Epub 2020 Apr 15.

Section of Pediatric Hematology Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, Alberta Children's Hospital, 28 Oki Drive NW, Calgary, AB, T3B 6A8, Canada.

Purpose: Intracranial growing teratoma syndrome (iGTS) is a rare phenomenon of paradoxical growth of a germ cell tumor (GCT) during treatment despite normalization of tumor markers. We sought to evaluate the frequency, clinical characteristics and outcome of iGTS in Western countries.

Methods: Pediatric patients from 22 North American and Australian institutions diagnosed with iGTS between 2000 and 2017 were retrospectively evaluated.

Results: From a total of 777 cases of central nervous system (CNS) GCT, 39 cases of iGTS were identified for an overall frequency of 5%. Pineal region was a more frequent location for iGTS as compared to cases of GCT without iGTS (p < 0.00001). In patients with an initial tissue diagnosis of GCT, immature teratoma was present in 50%. Serum AFP or ßhCG was detectable in 87% of patients (median values 66 ng/mL and 44 IU/L, respectively). iGTS occurred at a median of 2 months (range 0.5-32) from diagnosis, in the majority of patients. All patients underwent surgical resection, leading to gross total resection in 79%. Following surgery, all patients resumed adjuvant therapy or post treatment follow-up for GCT. At a median follow-up of 5.3 years (range 0.2-11.8), 37 (95%) of patients are alive, including 5 with stable residual mass.

Conclusion: iGTS occurs in 5% of patients with GCT in Western countries. Tumors of the pineal region and GCT containing immature teratoma appear to be associated with a higher risk of developing iGTS. Complete surgical resection is the mainstay of treatment. Overall survival of patients developing iGTS remains favorable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-020-03486-9DOI Listing
May 2020

Bevacizumab for NF2-associated vestibular schwannomas of childhood and adolescence.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2020 05 2;67(5):e28228. Epub 2020 Mar 2.

Division of Haematology/Oncology, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Seventeen children at six institutions with neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2)-related vestibular schwannomas received bevacizumab. Eight of the 13 patients with initial hearing loss (61%) showed objective hearing improvement within six months of treatment. No patients showed hearing deterioration during therapy; however, only two patients showed objective radiological response. Seven of eight patients had tumor progression or worsening hearing loss upon cessation of treatment. Bevacizumab was well tolerated with no patients discontinuing therapy. Bevacizumab appears to postpone hearing loss in childhood NF2-associated vestibular schwannomas, but responses are not durable, suggesting that either longer maintenance therapy or new strategies are required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.28228DOI Listing
May 2020

"Balancing Expectations with Actual Realities": Conversations with Clinicians and Scientists in the First Year of a High-Risk Childhood Cancer Precision Medicine Trial.

J Pers Med 2020 Feb 14;10(1). Epub 2020 Feb 14.

School of Women's and Children's Health, UNSW Medicine, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, 2052, Australia.

Precision medicine is changing cancer care and placing new demands on oncology professionals. Precision medicine trials for high-risk childhood cancer exemplify these complexities. We assessed clinicians' ( = 39) and scientists' ( = 15) experiences in the first year of the PRecISion Medicine for Children with Cancer (PRISM) trial for children and adolescents with high-risk cancers, through an in-depth semi-structured interview. We thematically analysed participants' responses regarding their professional challenges, and measured oncologists' knowledge of genetics and confidence with somatic and germline molecular test results. Both groups described positive early experiences with PRISM but were cognisant of managing parents' expectations. Key challenges for clinicians included understanding and communicating genomic results, balancing biopsy risks, and drug access. Most oncologists rated 'good' knowledge of genetics, but a minority were 'very confident' in interpreting (25%), explaining (34.4%) and making treatment recommendations (18.8%) based on somatic genetic test results. Challenges for scientists included greater emotional impact of their work and balancing translational outputs with academic productivity. Continued tracking of these challenges across the course of the trial, while assessing the perspectives of a wider range of stakeholders, is critical to drive the ongoing development of a workforce equipped to manage the demands of paediatric precision medicine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jpm10010009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7151613PMC
February 2020

Pineoblastoma segregates into molecular sub-groups with distinct clinico-pathologic features: a Rare Brain Tumor Consortium registry study.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 02 9;139(2):223-241. Epub 2019 Dec 9.

The Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK.

Pineoblastomas (PBs) are rare, aggressive pediatric brain tumors of the pineal gland with modest overall survival despite intensive therapy. We sought to define the clinical and molecular spectra of PB to inform new treatment approaches for this orphan cancer. Tumor, blood, and clinical data from 91 patients with PB or supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor (sPNETs/CNS-PNETs), and 2 pineal parenchymal tumors of intermediate differentiation (PPTIDs) were collected from 29 centres in the Rare Brain Tumor Consortium. We used global DNA methylation profiling to define a core group of PB from 72/93 cases, which were delineated into five molecular sub-groups. Copy number, whole exome and targeted sequencing, and miRNA expression analyses were used to evaluate the clinico-pathologic significance of each sub-group. Tumors designated as group 1 and 2 almost exclusively exhibited deleterious homozygous loss-of-function alterations in miRNA biogenesis genes (DICER1, DROSHA, and DGCR8) in 62 and 100% of group 1 and 2 tumors, respectively. Recurrent alterations of the oncogenic MYC-miR-17/92-RB1 pathway were observed in the RB and MYC sub-group, respectively, characterized by RB1 loss with gain of miR-17/92, and recurrent gain or amplification of MYC. PB sub-groups exhibited distinct clinical features: group 1-3 arose in older children (median ages 5.2-14.0 years) and had intermediate to excellent survival (5-year OS of 68.0-100%), while Group RB and MYC PB patients were much younger (median age 1.3-1.4 years) with dismal survival (5-year OS 37.5% and 28.6%, respectively). We identified age < 3 years at diagnosis, metastatic disease, omission of upfront radiation, and chr 16q loss as significant negative prognostic factors across all PBs. Our findings demonstrate that PB exhibits substantial molecular heterogeneity with sub-group-associated clinical phenotypes and survival. In addition to revealing novel biology and therapeutics, molecular sub-grouping of PB can be exploited to reduce treatment intensity for patients with favorable biology tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-019-02111-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7673644PMC
February 2020
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