Article

Matching mice to malignancy: molecular subgroups and models of medulloblastoma

Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Child s Nervous System (Impact Factor: 1.16). 02/2012; 28(4):521-32. DOI: 10.1007/s00381-012-1704-1
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION: Medulloblastoma, the largest group of embryonal brain tumors, has historically been classified into five variants based on histopathology. More recently, epigenetic and transcriptional analyses of primary tumors have subclassified medulloblastoma into four to six subgroups, most of which are incongruous with histopathological classification. DISCUSSION: Improved stratification is required for prognosis and development of targeted treatment strategies, to maximize cure and minimize adverse effects. Several mouse models of medulloblastoma have contributed both to an improved understanding of progression and to developmental therapeutics. In this review, we summarize the classification of human medulloblastoma subtypes based on histopathology and molecular features. We describe existing genetically engineered mouse models, compare these to human disease, and discuss the utility of mouse models for developmental therapeutics. Just as accurate knowledge of the correct molecular subtype of medulloblastoma is critical to the development of targeted therapy in patients, we propose that accurate modeling of each subtype of medulloblastoma in mice will be necessary for preclinical evaluation and optimization of those targeted therapies.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Shirley Markant, Jun 17, 2015
0 Followers
 · 
162 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Despite 6 decades of research, only 3 drugs have been approved for astrocytomas, the most common malignant primary brain tumors. However, clinical drug development is accelerating with the transition from empirical, cytotoxic therapy to precision, targeted medicine. Preclinical animal model studies are critical for prioritizing drug candidates for clinical development and, ultimately, for their regulatory approval. For decades, only murine models with established tumor cell lines were available for such studies. However, these poorly represent the genomic and biological properties of human astrocytomas, and their preclinical use fails to accurately predict efficacy in clinical trials. Newer models developed over the last 2 decades, including patient-derived xenografts, genetically engineered mice, and genetically engineered cells purified from human brains, more faithfully phenocopy the genomics and biology of human astrocytomas. Harnessing the unique benefits of these models will be required to identify drug targets, define combination therapies that circumvent inherent and acquired resistance mechanisms, and develop molecular biomarkers predictive of drug response and resistance. With increasing recognition of the molecular heterogeneity of astrocytomas, employing multiple, contemporary models in preclinical drug studies promises to increase the efficiency of drug development for specific, molecularly defined subsets of tumors.
    Neuro-Oncology 09/2014; DOI:10.1093/neuonc/nou288 · 5.29 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Resistance to radiation treatment remains a major clinical problem for patients with brain cancer. Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor of childhood, and occurs in the cerebellum. Though radiation treatment has been critical in increasing survival rates in recent decades, the presence of resistant cells in a substantial number of medulloblastoma patients leads to relapse and death. Using the established medulloblastoma cell lines UW228 and Daoy, we developed a novel model system to enrich for and study radiation tolerant cells early after radiation exposure. Using fluorescence-activated cell sorting, dead cells and cells that had initiated apoptosis were removed, allowing surviving cells to be investigated before extensive proliferation took place. Isolated surviving cells were tumorigenic in vivo and displayed elevated levels of ABCG2, an ABC transporter linked to stem cell behavior and drug resistance. Further investigation showed another family member, ABCA1, was also elevated in surviving cells in these lines, as well as in early passage cultures from pediatric medulloblastoma patients. We discovered that the multi-ABC transporter inhibitors verapamil and reserpine sensitized cells from particular patients to radiation, suggesting that ABC transporters have a functional role in cellular radiation protection. Additionally, verapamil had an intrinsic anti-proliferative effect, with transient exposure in vitro slowing subsequent in vivo tumor formation. When expression of key ABC transporter genes was assessed in medulloblastoma tissue from 34 patients, levels were frequently elevated compared with normal cerebellum. Analysis of microarray data from independent cohorts (n = 428 patients) showed expression of a number of ABC transporters to be strongly correlated with certain medulloblastoma subtypes, which in turn are associated with clinical outcome. ABC transporter inhibitors are already being trialed clinically, with the aim of decreasing chemotherapy resistance. Our findings suggest that the inhibition of ABC transporters could also increase the efficacy of radiation treatment for medulloblastoma patients. Additionally, the finding that certain family members are associated with particular molecular subtypes (most notably high ABCA8 and ABCB4 expression in Sonic Hedgehog pathway driven tumors), along with cell membrane location, suggests ABC transporters are worthy of consideration for the diagnostic classification of medulloblastoma.
    10/2013; 2(1):26. DOI:10.1186/2162-3619-2-26
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A central confounding factor in the development of targeted therapies is tumor cell heterogeneity, particularly in tumor-initiating cells (TIC), within clinically identical tumors. Here, we show how activation of the Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) pathway in neural stem and progenitor cells creates a foundation for tumor cell evolution to heterogeneous states that are histologically indistinguishable but molecularly distinct. In spontaneous medulloblastomas that arise in Patched (Ptch)(+/-) mice, we identified three distinct tumor subtypes. Through cell type-specific activation of the SHH pathway in vivo, we determined that different cells of origin evolved in unique ways to generate these subtypes. Moreover, TICs in each subtype had distinct molecular and cellular phenotypes. At the bulk tumor level, the three tumor subtypes could be distinguished by a 465-gene signature and by differential activation levels of the ERK and AKT pathways. Notably, TICs from different subtypes were differentially sensitive to SHH or AKT pathway inhibitors, highlighting new mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies. In summary, our results show how evolutionary processes act on distinct cells of origin to contribute to tumoral heterogeneity, at both bulk tumor and TIC levels. Cancer Res; 74(17); 1-11. ©2014 AACR.
    Cancer Research 08/2014; 74(17). DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-3293 · 9.28 Impact Factor