Scientific Publications

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17 Results


Circular extrachromosomal DNA promotes tumor heterogeneity in high-risk medulloblastoma

Chapman OS, Luebeck J, Sridhar S, Wong IT, Dixit D, Wang S, Prasad G, Rajkumar U, Pagadala MS, Larson JD, He BJ, Hung KL, Lange JT, Dehkordi SR, Chandran S, Adam M, Morgan L, Wani S, Tiwari A, Guccione C, Lin Y, Dutta A, Lo YY, Juarez E, Robinson JT, Korshunov A, Michaels JA, Cho YJ, Malicki DM, Coufal NG, Levy ML, Hobbs C, Scheuermann RH, Crawford JR, Pomeroy SL, Rich JN, Zhang X, Chang HY, Dixon JR, Bagchi A, Deshpande AJ, Carter H, Fraenkel E, Mischel PS, Wechsler-Reya RJ, Bafna V, Mesirov JP, Chavez L.

Nat Genet. 2023 Nov 9. doi: 10.1038/s41588-023-01551-3. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT Circular extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) in patient tumors is an important driver of oncogenic gene expression, evolution of drug resistance and poor patient outcomes. Applying computational methods for the detection and reconstruction of ecDNA across a retrospective cohort of 481 medulloblastoma tumors from 465 patients, we identify circular ecDNA in 82 patients (18%). Patients with ecDNA-positive medulloblastoma were more than twice as likely to relapse and three times as likely to die within 5 years of diagnosis. A subset of tumors harbored multiple ecDNA lineages, each containing distinct amplified oncogenes. Multimodal sequencing, imaging and CRISPR inhibition experiments in medulloblastoma models reveal intratumoral heterogeneity of ecDNA copy number per cell and frequent putative ‘enhancer rewiring’ events on ecDNA. This study reveals the frequency and diversity of ecDNA in medulloblastoma, stratified into molecular subgroups, and suggests copy number heterogeneity and enhancer rewiring as oncogenic features of ecDNA. PMID:37945900 | DOI:10.1038/s41588-023-01551-3

November 9, 2023

The genomic landscape of familial glioma

Choi DJ, Armstrong G, Lozzi B, Vijayaraghavan P, Plon SE, Wong TC, Boerwinkle E, Muzny DM, Chen HC, Gibbs RA, Ostrom QT, Melin B, Deneen B, Bondy ML; Gliogene Consortium; Genomics England Research Consortium; Bainbridge MN, Amos CI, Barnholtz-Sloan JS, Bernstein JL, Claus EB, Houlston RS, Il’yasova D, Jenkins RB, Johansen C, Lachance D, Lai R, Melin BS, Merrell RT, Olson SH, Sadetzki S, Schildkraut J, Shete S, Ambrose JC, Arumugam P, Bevers R, Bleda M, Boardman-Pretty F, Boustred CR, Brittain H, Brown MA, Caulfield MJ, Chan GC, Giess A, Griffin JN, Hamblin A, Henderson S, Hubbard TJP, Jackson R, Jones LJ, Kasperaviciute D, Kayikci M, Kousathanas A, Lahnstein L, Lakey A, Leigh SEA, Leong IUS, Lopez FJ, Maleady-Crowe F, McEntagart M, Minneci F, Mitchell J, Moutsianas L, Mueller M, Murugaesu N, Need AC, O’Donovan P, Odhams CA, Patch C, Perez-Gil D, Pereira MB, Pullinger J, Rahim T, Rendon A, Rogers T, Savage K, Sawant K, Scott RH, Siddiq A, Sieghart A, Smith SC, Sosinsky A, Stuckey A, Tanguy M, Taylor Tavares AL, Thomas ERA, Thompson SR, Tucci A, Welland MJ, Williams E, Witkowska K, Wood SM, Zarowiecki M.

Sci Adv. 2023 Apr 28;9(17):eade2675. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.ade2675. Epub 2023 Apr 28. ABSTRACT Glioma is a rare brain tumor with a poor prognosis. Familial glioma is a subset of glioma with a strong genetic predisposition that accounts for approximately 5% of glioma cases. We performed whole-genome sequencing on an exploratory cohort of 203 individuals from 189 families with a history of familial glioma and an additional validation cohort of 122 individuals from 115 families. We found significant enrichment of rare deleterious variants of seven genes in both cohorts, and the most significantly enriched gene was HERC2 (P = 0.0006). Furthermore, we identified rare noncoding variants in both cohorts that were predicted to affect transcription factor binding sites or cause cryptic splicing. Last, we selected a subset of discovered genes for validation by CRISPR knockdown screening and found that DMBT1, HP1BP3, and ZCH7B3 have profound impacts on proliferation. This study performs comprehensive surveillance of the genomic landscape of familial glioma. PMID:37115922 DOI:10.1126/sciadv.ade2675

April 28, 2023

3D genome mapping identifies subgroup-specific chromosome conformations and tumor-dependency genes in ependymoma

Okonechnikov K, Camgöz A, Chapman O, Wani S, Park DE, Hübner JM, Chakraborty A, Pagadala M, Bump R, Chandran S, Kraft K, Acuna-Hidalgo R, Reid D, Sikkink K, Mauermann M, Juarez EF, Jenseit A, Robinson JT, Pajtler KW, Milde T, Jäger N, Fiesel P, Morgan L, Sridhar S, Coufal NG, Levy M, Malicki D, Hobbs C, Kingsmore S, Nahas S, Snuderl M, Crawford J, Wechsler-Reya RJ, Davidson TB, Cotter J, Michaiel G, Fleischhack G, Mundlos S, Schmitt A, Carter H, Michealraj KA, Kumar SA, Taylor MD, Rich J, Buchholz F, Mesirov JP, Pfister SM, Ay F, Dixon JR, Kool M, Chavez L.

Nat Commun. 2023 Apr 21;14(1):2300. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-38044-0. ABSTRACT Ependymoma is a tumor of the brain or spinal cord. The two most common and aggressive molecular groups of ependymoma are the supratentorial ZFTA-fusion associated and the posterior fossa ependymoma group A. In both groups, tumors occur mainly in young children and frequently recur after treatment. Although molecular mechanisms underlying these diseases have recently been uncovered, they remain difficult to target and innovative therapeutic approaches are urgently needed. Here, we use genome-wide chromosome conformation capture (Hi-C), complemented with CTCF and H3K27ac ChIP-seq, as well as gene expression and DNA methylation analysis in primary and relapsed ependymoma tumors, to identify chromosomal conformations and regulatory mechanisms associated with aberrant gene expression. In particular, we observe the formation of new topologically associating domains (‘neo-TADs’) caused by structural variants, group-specific 3D chromatin loops, and the replacement of CTCF insulators by DNA hyper-methylation. Through inhibition experiments, we validate that genes implicated by these 3D genome conformations are essential for the survival of patient-derived ependymoma models in a group-specific manner. Thus, this study extends our ability to reveal tumor-dependency genes by 3D genome conformations even in tumors that lack targetable genetic alterations. PMID:37085539 DOI:10.1038/s41467-023-38044-0

April 21, 2023


Current studies and future directions for medulloblastoma: A review from the pacific pediatric neuro-oncology consortium (PNOC) disease working group

Cooney T, Lindsay H, Leary S, Wechsler-Reya R.

Neoplasia. 2022 Dec 11;35:100861. doi: 10.1016/j.neo.2022.100861. Online ahead of print. NO ABSTRACT PMID:36516489 DOI:10.1016/j.neo.2022.100861

December 11, 2022

Characterization of an RNA binding protein interactome reveals a context-specific post-transcriptional landscape of MYC-amplified medulloblastoma

Kameda-Smith MM, Zhu H, Luo EC, Suk Y, Xella A, Yee B, Chokshi C, Xing S, Tan F, Fox RG, Adile AA, Bakhshinyan D, Brown K, Gwynne WD, Subapanditha M, Miletic P, Picard D, Burns I, Moffat J, Paruch K, Fleming A, Hope K, Provias JP, Remke M, Lu Y, Reya T, Venugopal C, Reimand J, Wechsler-Reya RJ, Yeo GW, Singh SK.

Nat Commun. 2022 Dec 6;13(1):7506. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-35118-3. NO ABSTRACT PMID:36473869 DOI:10.1038/s41467-022-35118-3

December 6, 2022

N-myc mediated translation control is a therapeutic vulnerability in medulloblastoma

Kuzuoglu-Ozturk D, Aksoy O, Schmidt C, Lea R, Larson JD, Phelps RRL, Nasholm N, Holt M, Contreras A, Huang M, Wong-Michalak S, Shao H, Wechsler-Reya R, Phillips JJ, Gestwicki JE, Ruggero D, Weiss WA.

Cancer Res. 2022 Oct 20:CAN-22-0945. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-22-0945. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT Deregulation of N-myc is a leading cause of malignant brain tumors in children. To target N-myc-driven medulloblastoma, most research has focused on identifying genomic alterations or on the analysis of the medulloblastoma transcriptome. Here, we have broadly characterized the translatome of medulloblastoma and shown that N-myc unexpectedly drives selective translation of transcripts that promote protein homeostasis. Cancer cells are constantly exposed to proteotoxic stress associated with alterations in protein production or folding. It remains poorly understood how cancers cope with proteotoxic stress to promote their growth. Here, our data unexpectedly revealed that N-myc regulates the expression of specific components (~5%) of the protein folding machinery at the translational level through the major cap binding protein, eukaryotic initiation factor eIF4E. Reducing eIF4E levels in mouse models of medulloblastoma blocked tumorigenesis. Importantly, targeting Hsp70, a protein folding chaperone translationally regulated by N-myc, suppressed tumor growth in mouse and human medulloblastoma xenograft models. These findings reveal a previously hidden molecular program that promotes medulloblastoma formation and identify new therapies that may have impact in the clinic. PMID:36264168 DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-22-0945

October 20, 2022

Safety and efficacy of intraventricular immunovirotherapy with oncolytic HSV-1 for CNS cancers

Kang KD, Bernstock JD, Totsch SK, Gary SE, Rocco A, Nan L, Li R, Etminan T, Han X, Beierle EA, Eisemann T, Wechsler-Reya RJ, Bae S, Whitley R, Gillespie GY, Markert JM, Friedman GK.

Clin Cancer Res. 2022 Oct 14:CCR-22-1382. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-22-1382. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT PURPOSE: Oncolytic virotherapy with herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV) has shown promise for treatment of pediatric and adult brain tumors; however, completed and ongoing clinical trials have utilized intratumoral/peritumoral oncolytic HSV (oHSV) inoculation due intraventricular/intrathecal toxicity concerns. Intratumoral delivery requires an invasive neurosurgical procedure, limits repeat injections, and precludes direct targeting of metastatic and leptomeningeal disease. To address these limitations, we determined causes of toxicity from intraventricular oHSV and established methods for mitigating toxicity to treat disseminated brain tumors in mice. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: HSV-sensitive CBA/J mice received intraventricular vehicle, inactivated oHSV, or treatment doses (1×107 plaque-forming units) of oHSV, and toxicity was assessed by weight loss and immunohistochemistry. Protective strategies to reduce oHSV toxicity, including intraventricular low-dose oHSV or interferon inducer polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly I:C) prior to oHSV treatment dose, were evaluated and then utilized to assess intraventricular oHSV treatment of multiple models of disseminated CNS disease. RESULTS: A standard treatment dose of intraventricular oHSV damaged ependymal cells via virus replication and induction of CD8+ T cells, whereas vehicle or inactivated virus resulted in no toxicity. Subsequent doses of intraventricular oHSV caused little additional toxicity. Interferon induction with phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor-2α (eIF2α) via intraventricular pretreatment with low-dose oHSV or poly I:C mitigated ependyma toxicity. This approach enabled safe delivery of multiple treatment doses of clinically relevant oHSV G207 and prolonged survival in disseminated brain tumor models. CONCLUSIONS: Toxicity from intraventricular oHSV can be mitigated resulting in therapeutic benefit. These data support clinical translation of intraventricular G207. PMID:36239623 DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-22-1382

October 14, 2022

Dormant SOX9-positive cells facilitate MYC-driven recurrence of medulloblastoma

Borgenvik A, Holmberg KO, Bolin S, Zhao M, Savov V, Rosén G, Hutter S, Garancher A, Suryo Rahmanto A, Bergström T, Olsen TK, Mainwaring OJ, Sattanino D, Verbaan AD, Rusert JM, Sundstrom A, Ballester Bravo M, Dang Y, Wenz AS, Richardson S, Fotaki G, Hill RM, Dubuc AM, Kalushkova A, Remke M, Cancer M, Jernberg-Wiklund H, Giraud G, Chen X, Taylor MD, Sangfelt O, Clifford SC, Schuller U, Wechsler-Reya RJ, Weishaupt H, Swartling FJ.

Cancer Res. 2022 Oct 11:CAN-22-2108. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-22-2108. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT Relapse is the leading cause of death in patients with medulloblastoma, the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying recurrence could lead to more effective therapies for targeting tumor relapses. Here, we observed that SOX9, a transcription factor and stem cell/glial fate marker, is limited to rare, quiescent cells in high-risk medulloblastoma with MYC amplification. In paired primary-recurrent patient samples, SOX9-positive cells accumulated in medulloblastoma relapses. SOX9 expression anti-correlated with MYC expression in murine and human medulloblastoma cells. However, SOX9-positive cells were plastic and could give rise to a MYC high state. To follow relapse at the single-cell level, an inducible dual Tet model of medulloblastoma was developed, in which MYC expression was redirected in vivo from treatment-sensitive bulk cells to dormant SOX9-positive cells using doxycycline treatment. SOX9 was essential for relapse initiation and depended on suppression of MYC activity to promote therapy resistance, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and immune escape. p53 and DNA repair pathways were downregulated in recurrent tumors, while MGMT was upregulated. Recurrent tumor cells were found to be sensitive to treatment with an MGMT inhibitor and doxorubicin. These findings suggest that recurrence-specific targeting coupled with DNA repair inhibition comprises a potential therapeutic strategy in patients affected by medulloblastoma relapse. PMID:36219398 DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-22-2108

October 11, 2022

Development of GPC2-directed chimeric antigen receptors using mRNA for pediatric brain tumors

Foster JB, Griffin C, Rokita JL, Stern A, Brimley C, Rathi K, Lane MV, Buongervino SN, Smith T, Madsen PJ, Martinez D, Delaidelli A, Sorensen PH, Wechsler-Reya RJ, Karikó K, Storm PB, Barrett DM, Resnick AC, Maris JM, Bosse KR.

J Immunother Cancer. 2022 Sep;10(9):e004450. doi: 10.1136/jitc-2021-004450. ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: Pediatric brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer death in children with an urgent need for innovative therapies. Glypican 2 (GPC2) is a cell surface oncoprotein expressed in neuroblastoma for which targeted immunotherapies have been developed. This work aimed to characterize GPC2 expression in pediatric brain tumors and develop an mRNA CAR T cell approach against this target. METHODS: We investigated GPC2 expression across a cohort of primary pediatric brain tumor samples and cell lines using RNA sequencing, immunohistochemistry, and flow cytometry. To target GPC2 in the brain with adoptive cellular therapies and mitigate potential inflammatory neurotoxicity, we used optimized mRNA to create transient chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells. We developed four mRNA CAR T cell constructs using the highly GPC2-specific fully human D3 single chain variable fragment for preclinical testing. RESULTS: We identified high GPC2 expression across multiple pediatric brain tumor types including medulloblastomas, embryonal tumors with multilayered rosettes, other central nervous system embryonal tumors, as well as definable subsets of highly malignant gliomas. We next validated and prioritized CAR configurations using in vitro cytotoxicity assays with GPC2-expressing neuroblastoma cells, where the light-to-heavy single chain variable fragment configurations proved to be superior. We expanded the testing of the two most potent GPC2-directed CAR constructs to GPC2-expressing medulloblastoma and high-grade glioma cell lines, showing significant GPC2-specific cell death in multiple models. Finally, biweekly locoregional delivery of 2-4 million GPC2-directed mRNA CAR T cells induced significant tumor regression in an orthotopic medulloblastoma model and significantly prolonged survival in an aggressive orthotopic thalamic diffuse midline glioma xenograft model. No GPC2-directed CAR T cell related neurologic or systemic toxicity was observed. CONCLUSION: Taken together, these data show that GPC2 is a highly differentially expressed cell surface protein on multiple malignant pediatric brain tumors that can be targeted safely with local delivery of mRNA CAR T cells, laying the framework for the clinical translation of GPC2-directed immunotherapies for pediatric brain tumors. PMID:36167467 | DOI:10.1136/jitc-2021-004450

September 27, 2022

“A novel serum extracellular vesicle protein signature to monitor glioblastoma tumor progression”

Tzaridis T, Weller J, Bachurski D, Shakeri F, Schaub C, Hau P, Buness A, Schlegel U, Steinbach JP, Seidel C, Goldbrunner R, Schäfer N, Wechsler-Reya RJ, Hallek M, Scheffler B, Glas M, Haeberle L, Herrlinger U, Coch C, Reiners KS, Hartmann G.

Int J Cancer. 2022 Aug 27. doi: 10.1002/ijc.34261. Online ahead of print. ABSTRACT Detection of tumor progression in patients with glioblastoma remains a major challenge. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are potential biomarkers and can be detected in the blood of patients with glioblastoma. In this study, we evaluated the potential of serum-derived EVs from glioblastoma patients to serve as biomarker for tumor progression. EVs from serum of glioblastoma patients and healthy volunteers were separated by size exclusion chromatography and ultracentrifugation. EV markers were defined by using a proximity-extension assay and bead-based flow cytometry. Tumor progression was defined according to modified RANO criteria. EVs from the serum of glioblastoma patients (n=67) showed an upregulation of CD29, CD44, CD81, CD146, C1QA, and histone H3 as compared to serum EVs from healthy volunteers (p value range: <0.0001 – 0.08). For two independent cohorts of glioblastoma patients, we noted upregulation of C1QA, CD44, and histone H3 upon tumor progression, but not in patients with stable disease. In a multivariable logistic regression analysis, a combination of CD29, CD44, CD81, C1QA, and histone H3 correlated with RANO-defined tumor progression with an AUC of 0.76. Measurement of CD29, CD44, CD81, C1QA, and histone H3 in serum-derived EVs of glioblastoma patients, along with standard MRI assessment, has the potential to improve detection of true tumor progression and thus could be a useful biomarker for clinical decision making. PMID:36054558 | DOI:10.1002/ijc.34261

August 27, 2022

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