Publications by authors named "Stefan M Pfister"

386 Publications

EZHIP: a new piece of the puzzle towards understanding pediatric posterior fossa ependymoma.

Acta Neuropathol 2021 Nov 11. Epub 2021 Nov 11.

Hopp Children's Cancer Center (KITZ), Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany.

Ependymomas (EPN) are tumors of the central nervous system (CNS) that can arise in the supratentorial brain (ST-EPN), hindbrain or posterior fossa (PF-EPN) or anywhere in the spinal cord (SP-EPN), both in children and adults. Molecular profiling studies have identified distinct groups and subtypes in each of these anatomical compartments. In this review, we give an overview on recent findings and new insights what is driving PFA ependymomas, which is the most common group. PFA ependymomas are characterized by a young median age at diagnosis, an overall balanced genome and a bad clinical outcome (56% 10-year overall survival). Sequencing studies revealed no fusion genes or other highly recurrently mutated genes, suggesting that the disease is epigenetically driven. Indeed, recent findings have shown that the characteristic global loss of the repressive histone 3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) mark in PFA ependymoma is caused by aberrant expression of the enhancer of zeste homolog inhibitory protein (EZHIP) or in rare cases by H3K27M mutations, which both inhibit EZH2 thereby preventing the polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) from spreading H3K27me3. We present the current status of the ongoing work on EZHIP and its essential role in the epigenetic disturbance of PFA biology. Comparisons to the oncohistone H3K27M and its role in diffuse midline glioma (DMG) are drawn, highlighting similarities but also differences between the tumor entities and underlying mechanisms. A strong focus is to point out missing information and to present directions of further research that may result in new and improved therapies for PFA ependymoma patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-021-02382-4DOI Listing
November 2021

Spatial Dissection of Invasive Front from Tumor Mass Enables Discovery of Novel microRNA Drivers of Glioblastoma Invasion.

Adv Sci (Weinh) 2021 Nov 1:e2101923. Epub 2021 Nov 1.

Texas Children's Cancer Center, Texas Children's Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, 77030, USA.

Diffuse invasion is the primary cause of treatment failure of glioblastoma (GBM). Previous studies on GBM invasion have long been forced to use the resected tumor mass cells. Here, a strategy to reliably isolate matching pairs of invasive (GBM ) and tumor core (GBM ) cells from the brains of 6 highly invasive patient-derived orthotopic models is described. Direct comparison of these GBM and GBM cells reveals a significantly elevated invasion capacity in GBM cells, detects 23/768 miRNAs over-expressed in the GBM cells (miRNA ) and 22/768 in the GBM cells (miRNA ), respectively. Silencing the top 3 miRNAs (miR-126, miR-369-5p, miR-487b) successfully blocks invasion of GBM cells in vitro and in mouse brains. Integrated analysis with mRNA expression identifies miRNA target genes and discovers KCNA1 as the sole common computational target gene of which 3 inhibitors significantly suppress invasion in vitro. Furthermore, in vivo treatment with 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) effectively eliminates GBM invasion and significantly prolongs animal survival times (P = 0.035). The results highlight the power of spatial dissection of functionally accurate GBM and GBM cells in identifying novel drivers of GBM invasion and provide strong rationale to support the use of biologically accurate starting materials in understanding cancer invasion and metastasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/advs.202101923DOI Listing
November 2021

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

Primary central nervous system sarcoma with DICER1 mutation-treatment results of a novel molecular entity in pediatric Peruvian patients.

Cancer 2021 Oct 21. Epub 2021 Oct 21.

Pediatric Oncology Department, Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Neoplasicas, Lima, Peru.

Background: A high frequency of primary central nervous system (CNS) sarcomas was observed in Peru. This article describes the clinical characteristics, biological characteristics, and outcome of 70 pediatric patients.

Methods: Data from 70 pediatric patients with primary CNS sarcomas diagnosed between January 2005 and June 2018 were analyzed. DNA methylation profiling from 28 tumors and gene panel sequencing from 27 tumors were available.

Results: The median age of the patients was 6 years (range, 2-17.5 years), and 66 of 70 patients had supratentorial tumors. DNA methylation profiling classified 28 of 28 tumors as primary CNS sarcoma, DICER1 mutant. DICER1 mutations were found in 26 of 27 cases, TP53 mutations were found in 22 of 27 cases, and RAS-pathway gene mutations (NF1, KRAS, and NRAS) were found in 19 of 27 tumors, all of which were somatic (germline control available in 19 cases). The estimated incidence in Peru was 0.19 cases per 100,000 children (<18 years old) per year, which is significantly higher than the estimated incidence in Germany (0.007 cases per 100,000 children [<18 years] per year; P < .001). Patients with nonmetastatic disease (n = 46) that were treated with a combination therapy had a 2-year progression-free survival (PFS) rate of 58% (95% CI, 44%-76%) and a 2-year overall survival rate of 71% (95% CI, 57%-87%). PFS was the highest in patients treated with chemotherapy with ifosfamide, carboplatin, and etoposide (ICE) after upfront surgery followed by radiotherapy and ICE (2-year PFS, 79% [59%-100%], n = 18).

Conclusions: Primary CNS sarcoma with DICER1 mutation has an aggressive clinical course. A combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy seems beneficial. An underlying cancer predisposition syndrome explaining the increased incidence in Peruvian patients has not been identified so far.

Lay Summary: A high incidence of primary pediatric central nervous system sarcomas in the Peruvian population is described. Using sequencing technologies and DNA methylation profiling, it is confirmed that these tumors molecularly belong to the recently proposed entity "primary central nervous system sarcomas, DICER1 mutant." Unexpectedly, DICER1 mutations as well as all other defining tumor mutations (TP53 mutations and RAS-pathway mutations) were not inherited in all 19 patients where analyzation was possible. These tumors have an aggressive clinical course. Multimodal combination therapy based on surgery, ifosfamide, carboplatin, and etoposide chemotherapy, and local radiotherapy leads to superior outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33977DOI Listing
October 2021

Genetic and epigenetic characterization of posterior pituitary tumors.

Acta Neuropathol 2021 12 18;142(6):1025-1043. Epub 2021 Oct 18.

Department of Pathology, Neuropathology, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.

Pituicytoma (PITUI), granular cell tumor (GCT), and spindle cell oncocytoma (SCO) are rare tumors of the posterior pituitary. Histologically, they may be challenging to distinguish and have been proposed to represent a histological spectrum of a single entity. We performed targeted next-generation sequencing, DNA methylation profiling, and copy number analysis on 47 tumors (14 PITUI; 12 GCT; 21 SCO) to investigate molecular features and explore possibilities of clinically meaningful tumor subclassification. We detected two main epigenomic subgroups by unsupervised clustering of DNA methylation data, though the overall methylation differences were subtle. The largest group (n = 23) contained most PITUIs and a subset of SCOs and was enriched for pathogenic mutations within genes in the MAPK/PI3K pathways (12/17 [71%] of sequenced tumors: FGFR1 (3), HRAS (3), BRAF (2), NF1 (2), CBL (1), MAP2K2 (1), PTEN (1)) and two with accompanying TERT promoter mutation. The second group (n = 16) contained most GCTs and a subset of SCOs, all of which mostly lacked identifiable genetic drivers. Outcome analysis demonstrated that the presence of chromosomal imbalances was significantly associated with reduced progression-free survival especially within the combined PITUI and SCO group (p = 0.031). In summary, we observed only subtle DNA methylation differences between posterior pituitary tumors, indicating that these tumors may be best classified as subtypes of a single entity. Nevertheless, our data indicate differences in mutation patterns and clinical outcome. For a clinically meaningful subclassification, we propose a combined histo-molecular approach into three subtypes: one subtype is defined by granular cell histology, scarcity of identifiable oncogenic mutations, and favorable outcome. The other two subtypes have either SCO or PITUI histology but are segregated by chromosomal copy number profile into a favorable group (no copy number changes) and a less favorable group (copy number imbalances present). Both of the latter groups have recurrent MAPK/PI3K genetic alterations that represent potential therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-021-02377-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8568760PMC
December 2021

Systemic chemotherapy of pediatric recurrent ependymomas: results from the German HIT-REZ studies.

J Neurooncol 2021 Nov 16;155(2):193-202. Epub 2021 Oct 16.

Department of Pediatrics III, Center for Translational Neuro- and Behavioral Sciences (CTNBS), University Hospital of Essen, Hufelandstraße 55, 45147, Essen, Germany.

Purpose: Survival in recurrent ependymoma (EPN) depends mainly on the extent of resection achieved. When complete resection is not feasible, chemotherapy is often used to extend progression-free and overall survival. However, no consistent effect of chemotherapy on survival has been found in patients with recurrent EPN.

Methods: Systemic chemotherapeutic treatment of 138 patients enrolled in the German HIT-REZ-studies was analyzed. Survival depending on the use of chemotherapy, disease-stabilization rates (RR), duration of response (DOR) and time to progression (TTP) were estimated.

Results: Median age at first recurrence was 7.6 years (IQR: 4.0-13.6). At first recurrence, median PFS and OS were 15.3 (CI 13.3-20.0) and 36.9 months (CI 29.7-53.4), respectively. The Hazard Ratio for the use of chemotherapy in local recurrences in a time-dependent Cox-regression analysis was 0.99 (CI 0.74-1.33). Evaluable responses for 140 applied chemotherapies were analyzed, of which sirolimus showed the best RR (50%) and longest median TTP [11.51 (CI 3.98; 14.0) months] in nine patients, with the strongest impact found when sirolimus was used as a monotherapy. Seven patients with progression-free survival > 12 months after subtotal/no-resection facilitated by chemotherapy were found. No definitive survival advantage for any drug in a specific molecularly defined EPN type was found.

Conclusion: No survival advantage for the general use of chemotherapy in recurrent EPN was found. In cases with incomplete resection, chemotherapy was able to extend survival in individual cases. Sirolimus showed the best RR, DOR and TTP out of all drugs analyzed and may warrant further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-021-03867-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8585796PMC
November 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

A systematic analysis of genetic interactions and their underlying biology in childhood cancer.

Commun Biol 2021 10 6;4(1):1139. Epub 2021 Oct 6.

Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Heidelberglaan 25, 3584 CG, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Childhood cancer is a major cause of child death in developed countries. Genetic interactions between mutated genes play an important role in cancer development. They can be detected by searching for pairs of mutated genes that co-occur more (or less) often than expected. Co-occurrence suggests a cooperative role in cancer development, while mutual exclusivity points to synthetic lethality, a phenomenon of interest in cancer treatment research. Little is known about genetic interactions in childhood cancer. We apply a statistical pipeline to detect genetic interactions in a combined dataset comprising over 2,500 tumors from 23 cancer types. The resulting genetic interaction map of childhood cancers comprises 15 co-occurring and 27 mutually exclusive candidates. The biological explanation of most candidates points to either tumor subtype, pathway epistasis or cooperation while synthetic lethality plays a much smaller role. Thus, other explanations beyond synthetic lethality should be considered when interpreting genetic interaction test results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02647-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8494736PMC
October 2021

Targeting integrated epigenetic and metabolic pathways in lethal childhood PFA ependymomas.

Sci Transl Med 2021 10 6;13(614):eabc0497. Epub 2021 Oct 6.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.

Childhood posterior fossa group A ependymomas (PFAs) have limited treatment options and bear dismal prognoses compared to group B ependymomas (PFBs). PFAs overexpress the oncohistone-like protein EZHIP (enhancer of Zeste homologs inhibitory protein), causing global reduction of repressive histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3), similar to the oncohistone H3K27M. Integrated metabolic analyses in patient-derived cells and tumors, single-cell RNA sequencing of tumors, and noninvasive metabolic imaging in patients demonstrated enhanced glycolysis and tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle metabolism in PFAs. Furthermore, high glycolytic gene expression in PFAs was associated with a poor outcome. PFAs demonstrated high EZHIP expression associated with poor prognosis and elevated activating mark histone H3 lysine 27 acetylation (H3K27ac). Genomic H3K27ac was enriched in PFAs at key glycolytic and TCA cycle–related genes including hexokinase-2 and pyruvate dehydrogenase. Similarly, mouse neuronal stem cells (NSCs) expressing wild-type EZHIP (EZHIP-WT) versus catalytically attenuated EZHIP-M406K demonstrated H3K27ac enrichment at hexokinase-2 and pyruvate dehydrogenase, accompanied by enhanced glycolysis and TCA cycle metabolism. AMPKα-2, a key component of the metabolic regulator AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), also showed H3K27ac enrichment in PFAs and EZHIP-WT NSCs. The AMPK activator metformin lowered EZHIP protein concentrations, increased H3K27me3, suppressed TCA cycle metabolism, and showed therapeutic efficacy in vitro and in vivo in patient-derived PFA xenografts in mice. Our data indicate that PFAs and EZHIP-WT–expressing NSCs are characterized by enhanced glycolysis and TCA cycle metabolism. Repurposing the antidiabetic drug metformin lowered pathogenic EZHIP, increased H3K27me3, and suppressed tumor growth, suggesting that targeting integrated metabolic/epigenetic pathways is a potential therapeutic strategy for treating childhood ependymomas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.abc0497DOI Listing
October 2021

Cancer predisposition in pediatric neuro-oncology-practical approaches and ethical considerations.

Neurooncol Pract 2021 Oct 28;8(5):526-538. Epub 2021 May 28.

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

A genetic predisposition to tumor development can be identified in up to 10% of pediatric patients with central nervous system (CNS) tumors. For some entities, the rate of an underlying predisposition is even considerably higher. In recent years, population-based approaches have helped to further delineate the role of cancer predisposition in pediatric oncology. Investigations for cancer predisposition syndrome (CPS) can be guided by clinical signs and family history leading to directed testing of specific genes. The increasingly adopted molecular analysis of tumor and often parallel blood samples with multi-gene panel, whole-exome, or whole-genome sequencing identifies additional patients with or without clinical signs. Diagnosis of a genetic predisposition may put an additional burden on affected families. However, information on a given cancer predisposition may be critical for the patient as potentially influences treatment decisions and may offer the patient and healthy carriers the chance to take part in intensified surveillance programs aiming at early tumor detection. In this review, we discuss some of the practical and ethical challenges resulting from the widespread use of new diagnostic techniques and the most important CPS that may manifest with brain tumors in childhood.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nop/npab031DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8475219PMC
October 2021

Investigating the Central Nervous System Disposition of Actinomycin D: Implementation and Evaluation of Cerebral Microdialysis and Brain Tissue Measurements Supported by UPLC-MS/MS Quantification.

Pharmaceutics 2021 Sep 17;13(9). Epub 2021 Sep 17.

Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacoepidemiology, Heidelberg University Hospital, Im Neuenheimer Feld 410, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.

Actinomycin D is a potent cytotoxic drug against pediatric (and other) tumors that is thought to barely cross the blood-brain barrier. To evaluate its potential applicability for the treatment of patients with central nervous system (CNS) tumors, we established a cerebral microdialysis model in freely moving mice and investigated its CNS disposition by quantifying actinomycin D in cerebral microdialysate, brain tissue homogenate, and plasma. For this purpose, we developed and validated an ultraperformance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry assay suitable for ultra-sensitive quantification of actinomycin D in the pertinent biological matrices in micro-samples of only 20 µL, with a lower limit of quantification of 0.05 ng/mL. In parallel, we confirmed actinomycin D as a substrate of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) in in vitro experiments. Two hours after intravenous administration of 0.5 mg/kg, actinomycin D reached total brain tissue concentrations of 4.1 ± 0.7 ng/g corresponding to a brain-to-plasma ratio of 0.18 ± 0.03, while it was not detectable in intracerebral microdialysate. This tissue concentration exceeds the concentrations of actinomycin D that have been shown to be effective in in vitro experiments. Elimination of the drug from brain tissue was substantially slower than from plasma, as shown in a brain-to-plasma ratio of approximately 0.53 after 22 h. Because actinomycin D reached potentially effective concentrations in brain tissue in our experiments, the drug should be further investigated as a therapeutic agent in potentially susceptible CNS malignancies, such as ependymoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13091498DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8466300PMC
September 2021

Radiation-induced gliomas represent H3-/IDH-wild type pediatric gliomas with recurrent PDGFRA amplification and loss of CDKN2A/B.

Nat Commun 2021 09 20;12(1):5530. Epub 2021 Sep 20.

Hopp Children's Cancer Center Heidelberg (KiTZ), Heidelberg University Hospital and German Cancer Resarch Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.

Long-term complications such as radiation-induced second malignancies occur in a subset of patients following radiation-therapy, particularly relevant in pediatric patients due to the long follow-up period in case of survival. Radiation-induced gliomas (RIGs) have been reported in patients after treatment with cranial irradiation for various primary malignancies such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and medulloblastoma (MB). We perform comprehensive (epi-) genetic and expression profiling of RIGs arising after cranial irradiation for MB (n = 23) and ALL (n = 9). Our study reveals a unifying molecular signature for the majority of RIGs, with recurrent PDGFRA amplification and loss of CDKN2A/B and an absence of somatic hotspot mutations in genes encoding histone 3 variants or IDH1/2, uncovering diagnostic markers and potentially actionable targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25708-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8452680PMC
September 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

Developmental and evolutionary dynamics of cis-regulatory elements in mouse cerebellar cells.

Science 2021 08 29;373(6558). Epub 2021 Jul 29.

Center for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University (ZMBH), DKFZ-ZMBH Alliance, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany.

Organ development is orchestrated by cell- and time-specific gene regulatory networks. In this study, we investigated the regulatory basis of mouse cerebellum development from early neurogenesis to adulthood. By acquiring snATAC-seq (single-nucleus assay for transposase accessible chromatin using sequencing) profiles for ~90,000 cells spanning 11 stages, we mapped cerebellar cell types and identified candidate cisregulatory elements (CREs). We detected extensive spatiotemporal heterogeneity among progenitor cells and a gradual divergence in the regulatory programs of cerebellar neurons during differentiation. Comparisons to vertebrate genomes and snATAC-seq profiles for ∼20,000 cerebellar cells from the marsupial opossum revealed a shared decrease in CRE conservation during development and differentiation as well as differences in constraint between cell types. Our work delineates the developmental and evolutionary dynamics of gene regulation in cerebellar cells and provides insights into mammalian organ development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.abg4696DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7611596PMC
August 2021

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

Acta Neuropathol 2021 11 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

Subgroup and subtype-specific outcomes in adult medulloblastoma.

Acta Neuropathol 2021 11 18;142(5):859-871. Epub 2021 Aug 18.

Department of Neurosurgery, Chonnam National University Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital and Medical School, Hwasun-gun, Chonnam, South Korea.

Medulloblastoma, a common pediatric malignant central nervous system tumour, represent a small proportion of brain tumours in adults. Previously it has been shown that in adults, Sonic Hedgehog (SHH)-activated tumours predominate, with Wingless-type (WNT) and Group 4 being less common, but molecular risk stratification remains a challenge. We performed an integrated analysis consisting of genome-wide methylation profiling, copy number profiling, somatic nucleotide variants and correlation of clinical variables across a cohort of 191 adult medulloblastoma cases identified through the Medulloblastoma Advanced Genomics International Consortium. We identified 30 WNT, 112 SHH, 6 Group 3, and 41 Group 4 tumours. Patients with SHH tumours were significantly older at diagnosis compared to other subgroups (p < 0.0001). Five-year progression-free survival (PFS) for WNT, SHH, Group 3, and Group 4 tumours was 64.4 (48.0-86.5), 61.9% (51.6-74.2), 80.0% (95% CI 51.6-100.0), and 44.9% (95% CI 28.6-70.7), respectively (p = 0.06). None of the clinical variables (age, sex, metastatic status, extent of resection, chemotherapy, radiotherapy) were associated with subgroup-specific PFS. Survival among patients with SHH tumours was significantly worse for cases with chromosome 3p loss (HR 2.9, 95% CI 1.1-7.6; p = 0.02), chromosome 10q loss (HR 4.6, 95% CI 2.3-9.4; p < 0.0001), chromosome 17p loss (HR 2.3, 95% CI 1.1-4.8; p = 0.02), and PTCH1 mutations (HR 2.6, 95% CI 1.1-6.2; p = 0.04). The prognostic significance of 3p loss and 10q loss persisted in multivariable regression models. For Group 4 tumours, chromosome 8 loss was strongly associated with improved survival, which was validated in a non-overlapping cohort (combined cohort HR 0.2, 95% CI 0.1-0.7; p = 0.007). Unlike in pediatric medulloblastoma, whole chromosome 11 loss in Group 4 and chromosome 14q loss in SHH was not associated with improved survival, where MYCN, GLI2 and MYC amplification were rare. In sum, we report unique subgroup-specific cytogenetic features of adult medulloblastoma, which are distinct from those in younger patients, and correlate with survival disparities. Our findings suggest that clinical trials that incorporate new strategies tailored to high-risk adult medulloblastoma patients are urgently needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-021-02358-4DOI Listing
November 2021

The Pediatric Precision Oncology INFORM Registry: Clinical Outcome and Benefit for Patients with Very High-Evidence Targets.

Cancer Discov 2021 Nov 9;11(11):2764-2779. Epub 2021 Aug 9.

Department of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology, University Hospital Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany.

INFORM is a prospective, multinational registry gathering clinical and molecular data of relapsed, progressive, or high-risk pediatric patients with cancer. This report describes long-term follow-up of 519 patients in whom molecular alterations were evaluated according to a predefined seven-scale target prioritization algorithm. Mean turnaround time from sample receipt to report was 25.4 days. The highest target priority level was observed in 42 patients (8.1%). Of these, 20 patients received matched targeted treatment with a median progression-free survival of 204 days [95% confidence interval (CI), 99-not applicable], compared with 117 days (95% CI, 106-143; = 0.011) in all other patients. The respective molecular targets were shown to be predictive for matched treatment response and not prognostic surrogates for improved outcome. Hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes were identified in 7.5% of patients, half of which were newly identified through the study. Integrated molecular analyses resulted in a change or refinement of diagnoses in 8.2% of cases. SIGNIFICANCE: The pediatric precision oncology INFORM registry prospectively tested a target prioritization algorithm in a real-world, multinational setting and identified subgroups of patients benefiting from matched targeted treatment with improved progression-free survival, refinement of diagnosis, and identification of hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes...
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2159-8290.CD-21-0094DOI Listing
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

Intimal sarcomas and undifferentiated cardiac sarcomas carry mutually exclusive MDM2, MDM4, and CDK6 amplifications and share a common DNA methylation signature.

Mod Pathol 2021 Dec 26;34(12):2122-2129. Epub 2021 Jul 26.

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

Undifferentiated mesenchymal tumors arising from the inner lining (intima) of large arteries are classified as intimal sarcomas (ISA) with MDM2 amplification as their molecular hallmark. Interestingly, undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcomas (UPS) of the heart have recently been suggested to represent the cardiac analog of ISA due to morphological overlap and high prevalence of MDM2 amplifications in both neoplasms. However, little is known about ISAs and cardiac UPS without MDM2 amplifications and molecular data supporting their common classification is sparse. Here, we report a series of 35 cases comprising 25 ISAs of the pulmonary artery, one ISA of the renal artery and 9 UPS of the left atrium. Tumors were analyzed utilizing the Illumina Infinium MethylationEPIC BeadChip array, enabling copy number profile generation and unsupervised DNA methylation analysis. DNA methylation patterns were investigated using t-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding (t-SNE) analysis. Histologically, all ISAs and UPS of the left atrium resembled extra-cardiac UPS. All cases exhibited highly complex karyotypes with overlapping patterns between ISA and UPS. 29/35 cases showed mutually exclusive amplifications in the cell-cycle associated oncogenes MDM2 (25/35), MDM4 (2/35), and CDK6 (2/35). We further observed recurrent co-amplifications in PDGFRA (21/35), CDK4 (15/35), TERT (11/35), HDAC9 (9/35), and CCND1 (4/35). Sporadic co-amplifications occurred in MYC, MYCN, and MET (each 1/35). The tumor suppressor CDKN2A/B was frequently deleted (10/35). Interestingly, DNA methylation profiling (t-SNE) revealed an overlap of ISA and cardiac UPS. This "ISA" methylation signature was distinct from potential histologic and molecular mimics. In conclusion, our data reveal MDM4 and CDK6 amplifications in ISAs and UPS of the left atrium, lacking MDM2 amplification. We further report novel co-amplifications of various oncogenes, which may have therapeutic implications. Finally, the genetic and epigenetic concordance of ISAs and UPS of the left atrium further supports a shared pathogenesis and common classification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41379-021-00874-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8592836PMC
December 2021

Development of Randomized Trials in Adults with Medulloblastoma-The Example of EORTC 1634-BTG/NOA-23.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Jul 9;13(14). Epub 2021 Jul 9.

Erasmus Medical Center Cancer Institute, Department of Neuro-Oncology, 3015 GD Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Medulloblastoma is a rare brain malignancy. Patients after puberty are rare and bear an intermediate prognosis. Standard treatment consists of maximal resection plus radio-chemotherapy. Treatment toxicity is high and produces disabling long-term side effects. The sonic hedgehog (SHH) subgroup is highly overrepresented in the post-pubertal and adult population and can be targeted by smoothened (SMO) inhibitors. No practice-changing prospective randomized data have been generated in adults. The EORTC 1634-BTG/NOA-23 trial will randomize patients between standard-dose vs. reduced-dosed craniospinal radiotherapy and SHH-subgroup patients between the SMO inhibitor sonidegib (Odomzo, Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries, Inc., New York, USA) in addition to standard radio-chemotherapy vs. standard radio-chemotherapy alone to improve outcomes in view of decreased radiotherapy-related toxicity and increased efficacy. We will further investigate tumor tissue, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid as well as magnetic resonance imaging and radiotherapy plans to generate information that helps to further improve treatment outcomes. Given that treatment side effects typically occur late, long-term follow-up will monitor classic side effects of therapy, but also health-related quality of life, cognition, social and professional outcome, and reproduction and fertility. In summary, we will generate unprecedented data that will be translated into treatment changes in post-pubertal patients with medulloblastoma and will help to design future clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13143451DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8303185PMC
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

High-Resolution Cartography of the Transcriptome and Methylome Landscapes of Diffuse Gliomas.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Jun 26;13(13). Epub 2021 Jun 26.

IZBI, Interdisciplinary Centre for Bioinformatics, Universität Leipzig, Härtelstr. 16-18, 04107 Leipzig, Germany.

Molecular mechanisms of lower-grade (II-III) diffuse gliomas (LGG) are still poorly understood, mainly because of their heterogeneity. They split into astrocytoma- (IDH-A) and oligodendroglioma-like (IDH-O) tumors both carrying mutations(s) at the isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) gene and into IDH wild type (IDH-wt) gliomas of glioblastoma resemblance. We generated detailed maps of the transcriptomes and DNA methylomes, revealing that cell functions divided into three major archetypic hallmarks: (i) increased proliferation in IDH-wt and, to a lesser degree, IDH-O; (ii) increased inflammation in IDH-A and IDH-wt; and (iii) the loss of synaptic transmission in all subtypes. Immunogenic properties of IDH-A are diverse, partly resembling signatures observed in grade IV mesenchymal glioblastomas or in grade I pilocytic astrocytomas. We analyzed details of coregulation between gene expression and DNA methylation and of the immunogenic micro-environment presumably driving tumor development and treatment resistance. Our transcriptome and methylome maps support personalized, case-by-case views to decipher the heterogeneity of glioma states in terms of data portraits. Thereby, molecular cartography provides a graphical coordinate system that links gene-level information with glioma subtypes, their phenotypes, and clinical context.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13133198DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8268631PMC
June 2021

From Sampling to Sequencing: A Liquid Biopsy Pre-Analytic Workflow to Maximize Multi-Layer Genomic Information from a Single Tube.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Jun 15;13(12). Epub 2021 Jun 15.

German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Division of Pediatric Neurooncology, Hopp-Children's Cancer Center Heidelberg (KiTZ) and German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.

Liquid biopsies hold great promise for the management of cancer. Reliable liquid biopsy data depend on stable and reproducible pre-analytical protocols that comply with quality measures, irrespective of the sampling and processing site. We established a workflow for plasma preservation, followed by processing, cell-free nucleic acid isolation, quantification, and enrichment of potentially tumor-derived cell-free DNA and RNA. Employing the same input material for a direct comparison of different kits and protocols allowed us to formulate unbiased recommendations for sample collection, storage, and processing. The presented workflow integrates the stabilization in Norgen, PAX, or Streck tubes and subsequent parallel isolation of cell-free DNA and RNA with NucleoSnap and NucleoSpin. Qubit, Bioanalyzer, and TapeStation quantification and quality control steps were optimized for minimal sample use and high sensitivity and reproducibility. We show the efficiency of the proposed workflow by successful droplet digital PCR amplification of both cell-free DNA and RNA and by detection of tumor-specific alterations in low-coverage whole-genome sequencing and DNA methylation profiling of plasma-derived cell-free DNA. For the first time, we demonstrated successful parallel extraction of cell-free DNA and RNA from plasma samples. This workflow paves the road towards multi-layer genomic analysis from one single liquid biopsy sample.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13123002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8232701PMC
June 2021

The 2021 WHO Classification of Tumors of the Central Nervous System: a summary.

Neuro Oncol 2021 08;23(8):1231-1251

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

The fifth edition of the WHO Classification of Tumors of the Central Nervous System (CNS), published in 2021, is the sixth version of the international standard for the classification of brain and spinal cord tumors. Building on the 2016 updated fourth edition and the work of the Consortium to Inform Molecular and Practical Approaches to CNS Tumor Taxonomy, the 2021 fifth edition introduces major changes that advance the role of molecular diagnostics in CNS tumor classification. At the same time, it remains wedded to other established approaches to tumor diagnosis such as histology and immunohistochemistry. In doing so, the fifth edition establishes some different approaches to both CNS tumor nomenclature and grading and it emphasizes the importance of integrated diagnoses and layered reports. New tumor types and subtypes are introduced, some based on novel diagnostic technologies such as DNA methylome profiling. The present review summarizes the major general changes in the 2021 fifth edition classification and the specific changes in each taxonomic category. It is hoped that this summary provides an overview to facilitate more in-depth exploration of the entire fifth edition of the WHO Classification of Tumors of the Central Nervous System.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noab106DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8328013PMC
August 2021

Single cell derived mRNA signals across human kidney tumors.

Nat Commun 2021 06 23;12(1):3896. Epub 2021 Jun 23.

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK.

Tumor cells may share some patterns of gene expression with their cell of origin, providing clues into the differentiation state and origin of cancer. Here, we study the differentiation state and cellular origin of 1300 childhood and adult kidney tumors. Using single cell mRNA reference maps of normal tissues, we quantify reference "cellular signals" in each tumor. Quantifying global differentiation, we find that childhood tumors exhibit fetal cellular signals, replacing the presumption of "fetalness" with a quantitative measure of immaturity. By contrast, in adult cancers our assessment refutes the suggestion of dedifferentiation towards a fetal state in most cases. We find an intimate connection between developmental mesenchymal populations and childhood renal tumors. We demonstrate the diagnostic potential of our approach with a case study of a cryptic renal tumor. Our findings provide a cellular definition of human renal tumors through an approach that is broadly applicable to human cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23949-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8222373PMC
June 2021

Notch1 switches progenitor competence in inducing medulloblastoma.

Sci Adv 2021 Jun 23;7(26). Epub 2021 Jun 23.

Armenise-Harvard Laboratory of Brain Cancer, Department CIBIO, University of Trento, Via Sommarive 9, 38123 Trento, Italy.

The identity of the cell of origin is a key determinant of cancer subtype, progression, and prognosis. Group 3 medulloblastoma (MB) is a malignant childhood brain cancer with poor prognosis and few candidates as putative cell of origin. We overexpressed the group 3 MB genetic drivers and in different candidate cells of origin in the postnatal mouse cerebellum. We found that S100b cells are competent to initiate group 3 MB, and we observed that S100b cells have higher levels of Notch1 pathway activity compared to Math1 cells. We found that additional activation of Notch1 in Math1 and Sox2 cells was sufficient to induce group 3 MB upon / expression. Together, our data suggest that the Notch1 pathway plays a critical role in group 3 MB initiation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abd2781DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8221631PMC
June 2021

FOXR2 Stabilizes MYCN Protein and Identifies Non--Amplified Neuroblastoma Patients With Unfavorable Outcome.

J Clin Oncol 2021 10 10;39(29):3217-3228. Epub 2021 Jun 10.

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

Purpose: Clinical outcomes of patients with neuroblastoma range from spontaneous tumor regression to fatality. Hence, understanding the mechanisms that cause tumor progression is crucial for the treatment of patients. In this study, we show that activation identifies a subset of neuroblastoma tumors with unfavorable outcome and we investigate the mechanism how FOXR2 relates to poor outcome in patients.

Materials And Methods: We analyzed three independent transcriptional data sets of in total 1030 primary neuroblastomas with full clinical annotation. We performed immunoprecipitation for FOXR2 and MYCN and silenced FOXR2 expression in two neuroblastoma cell lines to examine the effect on cellular processes, transcriptome, and MYCN protein levels. Tumor samples were analyzed for protein levels of FOXR2 and MYCN.

Results: In three combined neuroblastoma data sets, 9% of tumors show expression of but have low levels of mRNA. expression identifies a group of patients with unfavorable outcome, showing 10-year overall survival rates of 53%-59%, and proves to be an independent prognostic factor compared with established risk factors. Transcriptionally, -expressing tumors are very similar to -amplified tumors, suggesting that they might share a common mechanism of tumor initiation. FOXR2 knockdown in -expressing neuroblastoma cell lines resulted in cell cycle arrest, reduced cell growth, cell death, and reduced MYCN protein levels, all indicating that FOXR2 is essential for these tumors. Finally, we show that FOXR2 binds and stabilizes MYCN protein and MYCN protein levels are highly increased in FOXR2-expressing tumors, in several cases comparable with -amplified samples.

Conclusion: The stabilization of MYCN by FOXR2 represents an alternative mechanism to amplification to increase MYCN protein levels. As such, expression identifies another subset of neuroblastoma patients with unfavorable clinical outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.02540DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8500564PMC
October 2021

International Consensus on Minimum Preclinical Testing Requirements for the Development of Innovative Therapies For Children and Adolescents with Cancer.

Mol Cancer Ther 2021 08 9;20(8):1462-1468. Epub 2021 Jun 9.

Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Cancer remains the leading cause of disease-related death in children. For the many children who experience relapses of their malignant solid tumors, usually after very intensive first-line therapy, curative treatment options are scarce. Preclinical drug testing to identify promising treatment elements that match the molecular make-up of the tumor is hampered by the fact that (i) molecular genetic data on pediatric solid tumors from relapsed patients and thus our understanding of tumor evolution and therapy resistance are very limited to date and (ii) for many of the high-risk entities, no appropriate and molecularly well-characterized patient-derived models and/or genetic mouse models are currently available. However, recent regulatory changes enacted by the European Medicines Agency (class waiver changes) and the maturation of the RACE for Children act with the FDA, will require a significant increase in preclinical pediatric cancer research and clinical development must occur. We detail the outcome of a pediatric cancer international multistakeholder meeting whose output aims at defining an international consensus on minimum preclinical testing requirements for the development of innovative therapies for children and adolescents with cancer. Recommendations based on the experience of the NCI funded PPTP/C (www.ncipptc.org) and the EU funded ITCC-P4 public private partnership (www.itccp4.eu) are provided for the use of cell-based and mouse models for pediatric solid malignancies, as well as guidance on the scope and content of preclinical proof-of-concept data packages to inform clinical development dependent on clinical urgency. These recommendations can serve as a minimal guidance necessary to jumpstart preclinical pediatric research globally.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-20-0394DOI Listing
August 2021

Therapeutic implications of improved molecular diagnostics for rare CNS embryonal tumor entities: results of an international, retrospective study.

Neuro Oncol 2021 09;23(9):1597-1611

Department of Neurooncology, Russian Scientific Center of Radiology, Moscow, Russia.

Background: Only few data are available on treatment-associated behavior of distinct rare CNS embryonal tumor entities previously treated as "CNS-primitive neuroectodermal tumors" (CNS-PNET). Respective data on specific entities, including CNS neuroblastoma, FOXR2 activated (CNS NB-FOXR2), and embryonal tumors with multilayered rosettes (ETMR) are needed for development of differentiated treatment strategies.

Methods: Within this retrospective, international study, tumor samples of clinically well-annotated patients with the original diagnosis of CNS-PNET were analyzed using DNA methylation arrays (n = 307). Additional cases (n = 66) with DNA methylation pattern of CNS NB-FOXR2 were included irrespective of initial histological diagnosis. Pooled clinical data (n = 292) were descriptively analyzed.

Results: DNA methylation profiling of "CNS-PNET" classified 58 (19%) cases as ETMR, 57 (19%) as high-grade glioma (HGG), 36 (12%) as CNS NB-FOXR2, and 89(29%) cases were classified into 18 other entities. Sixty-seven (22%) cases did not show DNA methylation patterns similar to established CNS tumor reference classes. Best treatment results were achieved for CNS NB-FOXR2 patients (5-year PFS: 63% ± 7%, OS: 85% ± 5%, n = 63), with 35/42 progression-free survivors after upfront craniospinal irradiation (CSI) and chemotherapy. The worst outcome was seen for ETMR and HGG patients with 5-year PFS of 18% ± 6% and 22% ± 7%, and 5-year OS of 24% ± 6% and 25% ± 7%, respectively.

Conclusion: The historically reported poor outcome of CNS-PNET patients becomes highly variable when tumors are molecularly classified based on DNA methylation profiling. Patients with CNS NB-FOXR2 responded well to current treatments and a standard-risk CSI-based regimen may be prospectively evaluated. The poor outcome of ETMR across applied treatment strategies substantiates the necessity for evaluation of novel treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noab136DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8408859PMC
September 2021
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