NYMC Faculty Publications

Molecular Stratification of Medulloblastoma: Clinical Outcomes and Therapeutic Interventions

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Anticancer Research

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Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant pediatric posterior fossa tumor. Recent genetic, epigenetic, and transcriptomic analyses have classified MB into three subgroups, Wingless Type (WNT), Sonic Hedgehog (SHH), and non-WNT/non-SHH (originally termed Group 3 and Group 4), with discrete patient profiles and prognoses. WNT is the least common subgroup with the best prognosis, characterized by nuclear β-catenin expression, mutations in Catenin beta-1 (CTNNB1), and chromosome 6 monosomy. SHH tumors contain mutations and alterations in GLI1, GLI2, SUFU, and PTCH1 genes, which constitutively activate the SHH pathway. Originally, the presence of TP53 gene alterations and/or MYC amplifications was considered the most reliable prognostic factor. However, recent molecular analyses have subdivided SHH MB into several subtypes with distinct characteristics such as age, TP53 mutation, MYC amplification, presence of metastases, TERT promoter alterations, PTEN loss, and other chromosomal alterations as well as SHH pathway-related gene mutations. The third non-WNT/non-SHH MB (Group3/4) subgroup is genetically highly heterogeneous and displays several molecular patterns, including MYC and OTX2 amplification, GFI1B activation, KBTBD4 mutation, GFI1 rearrangement, PRDM6 enhancer hijacking, KDM6A mutation, LCA histology, chromosome 10 loss, isochromosome 17q, SNCAIP duplication, and CDK6 amplification. However, based on molecular profiling and methylation patterns, additional non-WNT/non-SHH MB subtypes have been described. Recent WHO (2021) guidelines stratified MB into four molecular subgroups with four and eight further subgroups for SHH and non-WNT/non-SHH MB, respectively. In this review, we discuss advancements in genetics, epigenetics, and transcriptomics for better characterization, prognostication, and treatment of MB using precision medicine.