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: 1.11). 02/2012; 28(4):521-32. DOI: 10.1007/s00381-012-1704-1
Source: PubMed


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.
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.

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    • "Despite this progress, detailed understanding of the differences between these MB subgroups and the degree of heterogeneity that exists within and between subgroups is still unclear. For example, the SHH-MB subgroup, consisting of approximately 30% of human MBs, is one of the most studied subtypes and has been recapitulated in several genetic mouse models [3] [15] and was recently subdivided into three human subtypes [21]. SHH is an essential pathway that normally regulates the proliferation of one of the major cell populations within the developing Cb, the granule cell precursors (GCPs) [22] [23]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Mouse models have increased our understanding of the pathogenesis of medulloblastoma (MB), the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor that often forms in the cerebellum. A major goal of ongoing research is to better understand the early stages of tumorigenesis and to establish the genetic and environmental changes that underlie MB initiation and growth. However, studies of MB progression in mouse models are difficult due to the heterogeneity of tumor onset times and growth patterns and the lack of clinical symptoms at early stages. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is critical for noninvasive, longitudinal, three-dimensional (3D) brain tumor imaging in the clinic but is limited in resolution and sensitivity for imaging early MBs in mice. In this study, high-resolution (100 μm in 2 hours) and high-throughput (150 μm in 15 minutes) manganese-enhanced MRI (MEMRI) protocols were optimized for early detection and monitoring of MBs in a Patched-1 (Ptch1) conditional knockout (CKO) model. The high tissue contrast obtained with MEMRI revealed detailed cerebellar morphology and enabled detection of MBs over a wide range of stages including pretumoral lesions as early as 2 to 3 weeks postnatal with volumes close to 0.1 mm(3). Furthermore, longitudinal MEMRI allowed noninvasive monitoring of tumors and demonstrated that lesions within and between individuals have different tumorigenic potentials. 3D volumetric studies allowed quantitative analysis of MB tumor morphology and growth rates in individual Ptch1-CKO mice. These results show that MEMRI provides a powerful method for early in vivo detection and longitudinal imaging of MB progression in the mouse brain.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)
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    • "Age of onset, degree of surgical removal and presence of metastatic disease provide useful criteria to stratify patients into “standard” and “high risk” groups, however a subset of patients in both groups are prone to treatment resistance and relapse. Although recent studies show medulloblastoma patients cluster into at least four distinct groups based on gene expression signatures, it is not yet possible to determine which individuals will display treatment resistance [3]. "
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013
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    ABSTRACT: Recent efforts at stratifying medulloblastomas based on their molecular features have revolutionized our understanding of this morbidity. Collective efforts by multiple independent groups have subdivided medulloblastoma from a single disease into four distinct molecular subgroups characterized by disparate transcriptional signatures, mutational spectra, copy number profiles and, most importantly, clinical features. We present a summary of recent studies that have contributed to our understanding of the core medulloblastoma subgroups, focusing largely on clinically relevant discoveries that have already, and will continue to, shape research.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2012 · Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics
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