[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bifocal pineal and suprasellar tumors have only been described in the context of germ cell tumors in the pediatric age group. We report 2 patients with radiologic findings of bifocal pineal and suprasellar lesions, with a histologic diagnosis of supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor. The absence of diabetes insipidus and other endocrine abnormalities was noteworthy in both cases. This observation challenges previous reports on the pathognomonic value of this clinico-radiologic entity.
Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology 08/2015; DOI:10.1097/MPH.0000000000000402 · 0.90 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Solid tumors arising from malignant transformation of glial cells are one of the leading causes of central nervous system tumor-related death in children. Recurrence in spite of rigorous surgical and chemoradiation therapies remains a major hurdle in management of these tumors. Here, we investigate the efficacy of the second-generation receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor nilotinib as a therapeutic option for the management of pediatric gliomas. We have utilized two independent pediatric high-grade glioma cell lines with either high platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRα) or high PDGFRβ expression in in vitro assays to investigate the specific downstream effects of nilotinib treatment. Using in vitro cell-based assays we show that nilotinib inhibits PDGF-BB-dependent activation of PDGFRα. We further show that nilotinib is able to decrease cell proliferation and anchorage-independent growth via suppression of AKT and ERK1/2 signaling pathways. Our results suggest that nilotinib may be effective for management of a PDGFRα-dependent group of pediatric gliomas.
Journal of Neuro-Oncology 03/2015; 122(3). DOI:10.1007/s11060-015-1744-y · 3.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Medulloblastoma comprises four molecular subgroups of which Group 3 medulloblastoma is characterized by MYC amplification and MYC overexpression. Lymphoma cells expressing high levels of MYC are susceptible to apoptosis following treatment with inhibitors of mitosis. One of the key regulatory kinases involved in multiple stages of mitosis is Aurora kinase B. We hypothesized that medulloblastoma cells that overexpress MYC would be uniquely sensitized to the apoptotic effects of Aurora B inhibition. The specific inhibition of Aurora kinase B was achieved in MYC- overexpressing medulloblastoma cells with AZD1152-HQPA. MYC overexpression sensitized medulloblastoma cells to cell death upon Aurora B inhibition. This process was found to be independent of endoreplication. Using both flank and intracranial cerebellar xenografts we demonstrate that tumors formed from MYC-overexpressing medulloblastoma cells show a response to Aurora B inhibition including growth impairment and apoptosis induction. Lastly, we show the distribution of AZD1152-HQPA within the mouse brain and the ability to inhibit intracranial tumor growth and prolong survival in mice bearing tumors formed from MYC-overexpressing medulloblastoma cells. Our results suggest the potential for therapeutic application of Aurora kinase B inhibitors in the treatment of Group 3 medulloblastoma.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To uncover the genetic events leading to transformation of pediatric low-grade glioma (PLGG) to secondary high-grade glioma (sHGG).
We retrospectively identified patients with sHGG from a population-based cohort of 886 patients with PLGG with long clinical follow-up. Exome sequencing and array CGH were performed on available samples followed by detailed genetic analysis of the entire sHGG cohort. Clinical and outcome data of genetically distinct subgroups were obtained.
sHGG was observed in 2.9% of PLGGs (26 of 886 patients). Patients with sHGG had a high frequency of nonsilent somatic mutations compared with patients with primary pediatric high-grade glioma (HGG; median, 25 mutations per exome; P = .0042). Alterations in chromatin modifying genes and telomere-maintenance pathways were commonly observed, whereas no sHGG harbored the BRAF-KIAA1549 fusion. The most recurrent alterations were BRAF V600E and CDKN2A deletion in 39% and 57% of sHGGs, respectively. Importantly, all BRAF V600E and 80% of CDKN2A alterations could be traced back to their PLGG counterparts. BRAF V600E distinguished sHGG from primary HGG (P = .0023), whereas BRAF and CDKN2A alterations were less commonly observed in PLGG that did not transform (P <.001 and P < .001 respectively). PLGGs with BRAF mutations had longer latency to transformation than wild-type PLGG (median, 6.65 years [range, 3.5 to 20.3 years] v 1.59 years [range, 0.32 to 15.9 years], respectively; P = .0389). Furthermore, 5-year overall survival was 75% ± 15% and 29% ± 12% for children with BRAF mutant and wild-type tumors, respectively (P = .024).
BRAF V600E mutations and CDKN2A deletions constitute a clinically distinct subtype of sHGG. The prolonged course to transformation for BRAF V600E PLGGs provides an opportunity for surgical interventions, surveillance, and targeted therapies to mitigate the outcome of sHGG.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA replication−associated mutations are repaired by two components: polymerase proofreading and mismatch repair. The mutation consequences of disruption to both repair components in humans are not well studied. We sequenced cancer genomes from children with inherited biallelic mismatch repair deficiency (bMMRD). High-grade bMMRD brain tumors exhibited massive numbers of substitution mutations (>250/Mb), which was greater than all childhood and most cancers (>7,000 analyzed). All ultra-hypermutated bMMRD cancers acquired early somatic driver mutations in DNA polymerase ε or δ. The ensuing mutation signatures and numbers are unique and diagnostic of childhood germ-line bMMRD (P < 10^−13). Sequential tumor biopsy analysis revealed that bMMRD/polymerase-mutant cancers rapidly amass an excess of simultaneous mutations (~600 mutations/cell division), reaching but not exceeding ~20,000 exonic mutations in <6 months. This implies a threshold compatible with cancer-cell survival. We suggest a new mechanism of cancer progression in which mutations develop in a rapid burst after ablation of replication repair.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although telomeres are maintained in most cancers by telomerase activation, a subset of tumors utilize alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) to sustain self-renewal capacity. In order to study the prevalence and significance of ALT in childhood brain tumors we screened 517 pediatric brain tumors using the novel C-circle assay. We examined the association of ALT
with alterations in genes found to segregate with specific histological phenotypes and with clinical outcome. ALT was detected almost exclusively in malignant tumors (p = 0.001). ALT was highly enriched in primitive neuroectodermal tumors (12 %), choroid plexus carcinomas (23 %) and high-grade gliomas (22 %). Furthermore, in contrast to adult gliomas, pediatric low grade gliomas which progressed to high-grade tumors did not exhibit the ALT phenotype. Somatic but not germline TP53 mutations were highly associated with ALT (p = 1.01 × 10−8). Of the other alterations examined, only ATRX point mutations and reduced expression were associated with the ALT phenotype (p = 0.0005). Interestingly, ALT attenuated the poor outcome conferred by TP53 mutations in specific pediatric brain tumors. Due to very poor prognosis, one year overall survival was quantified in malignant gliomas, while in children with choroid plexus carcinoma, five year overall survival was investigated. For children with TP53 mutant malignant gliomas, one year overall survival was 63 ± 12 and 23 ± 10 % for ALT positive and negative tumors, respectively (p = 0.03), while for children with TP53 mutant choroid plexus carcinomas, 5 years overall survival was 67 ± 19 and 27 ± 13 % for ALT positive and negative tumors, respectively (p = 0.07). These observations suggest that the presence of ALT is limited to a specific group of childhood brain cancers which harbor somatic TP53 mutations and may influence the outcome of these patients. Analysis of ALT may contribute to risk stratification and targeted therapies to improve outcome for these children.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malignant brain tumors, which are the leading cause of cancer-related morbidity and mortality in children, span a wide spectrum of diseases with distinct clinical phenotypes but may share remarkably similar morphologic features. Until recently, few molecular markers of childhood brain tumors have been identified, which has limited therapeutic advances. Recent global genomic studies have enabled robust molecular classification of childhood brain tumors and the identification and consolidation of rare, seemingly disparate clinical entities. It is now increasingly evident that deregulation of epigenetic processes contributes substantially to heterogeneity in tumor phenotypes and comprise significant drivers of cancer initiation and progression. Specifically, DNA hypermethylation and silencing of critical tumor suppressor genes by DNA methyltransferases (DNMT) has emerged as an important and fundamental mechanism in brain tumor pathogenesis. These observations have been underscored by the recent discovery of TTYH1-C19MC gene fusions in an aggressive pediatric embryonal brain tumor, which results in deregulation and increased expression of a neural-specific DNMT3B isoform in C19MC-associated brain tumors. Our observations that pharmacological inhibitors of DNMTs and histone deacetylases significantly inhibit growth of cells derived from C19MC-associated tumors indicate targeting of epigenomic modifiers as a novel therapeutic approach for these highly treatment-resistant tumors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pediatric low grade gliomas (PLGG) have heterogeneous progression pattern throughout childhood. Data are lacking regarding the impact of puberty and pubertal hormones on tumor progression and survival.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Germ-line RB-1 mutations predispose to pineoblastoma (PinB), but other predisposing genetic factors are not well established. We recently identified a germ-line DICER1 mutation in a child with a PinB. This was accompanied by loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of the wild-type allele within the tumour. We set out to establish the prevalence of DICER1 mutations in an opportunistically ascertained series of PinBs. Twenty-one PinB cases were studied: Eighteen cases had not undergone previous testing for DICER1 mutations; three patients were known carriers of germ-line DICER1 mutations. The eighteen PinBs were sequenced by Sanger and/or Fluidigm-based next-generation sequencing to identify DICER1 mutations in blood gDNA and/or tumour gDNA. Testing for somatic DICER1 mutations was also conducted on one case with a known germ-line DICER1 mutation. From the eighteen PinBs, we identified four deleterious DICER1 mutations, three of which were germ line in origin, and one for which a germ line versus somatic origin could not be determined; in all four, the second allele was also inactivated leading to complete loss of DICER1 protein. No somatic DICER1 RNase IIIb mutations were identified. One PinB arising in a germ-line DICER1 mutation carrier was found to have LOH. This study suggests that germ-line DICER1 mutations make a clinically significant contribution to PinB, establishing DICER1 as an important susceptibility gene for PinB and demonstrates PinB to be a manifestation of a germ-line DICER1 mutation. The means by which the second allele is inactivated may differ from other DICER1-related tumours.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Medulloblastoma and central nervous system (CNS)-primitive neuro-ectodermal tumors (PNETs) are a diverse group of entities which encompasses different pathological and clinical pictures. Initially divided based on histology and location, molecular insight is leading to new definitions and a change in the borders delineating these diseases, such that they become more divergent. Current treatment approaches consist of surgical resection, radiotherapy and intensive chemotherapy, dependent on age. Stratification is one risk factor shown to be prognostic and is divided into high- and average-risks. Outcomes with modern treatment regimens are good, particularly in average-risk medulloblastoma patients, but the cost of cure is high, with high rates of neurocognitive, endocrine and social dysfunction. The changing biological landscape, however, may allow for clearer prediction of tumor behavior, to better identify "good" and "bad" players within these groups. Discovery of subgroups with changes in dependent molecular pathways will also lead to the development of new specific targeted therapies. Presenting exciting opportunities, these advances may transform the treatment for some patients, revolutionizing therapy in the future. Several challenges, however, are yet to be faced and caution is needed not to abandon previously defined prognostic factors on the strength of thus far retrospective evidence. We are witnessing a new era of trials with biological stratification involving multiple subgroups and treatment arms, based on specific tumor-related targets. This review discusses the changing face of medulloblastoma and CNS-PNETs and how we move molecular advances into clinical trials that benefit patients.
F1000 Prime Reports 07/2014; 6:56. DOI:10.12703/P6-56
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Childhood CNS-PNETs comprise a heterogeneous spectrum of diseases with poorly defined biology. The embryonic stem cell enriched C19MC OncomiR cluster is frequently amplified in one sub-group of CNS-PNETs (group 1 CNS-PNETs) with distinctly aggressive clinic-pathologic features. However, the specific oncogenic role of C19MC in group 1 CNS-PNETs, and mechanisms by which C19MC effects cellular transformation remains unknown. In this study we used exome and RNA-sequencing of C19MC associated tumors, and functional studies of the C19MC OncomiRs in human neural stem cell to define oncogenic partners and downstream effectors of the C19MC locus.