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J Clin Oncol. 2014 Mar 20;32(9):886-96. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2013.50.9539. Epub 2014 Feb 3.

Cytogenetic prognostication within medulloblastoma subgroups.

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David J.H. Shih, Marc Remke, Vijay Ramaswamy, Betty Luu, Yuan Yao, Xin Wang, Adrian M. Dubuc, Livia Garzia, John Peacock, Stephen C. Mack, Xiaochong Wu, Adi Rolider, A. Sorana Morrissy, Florence M.G. Cavalli, Claudia C. Faria, Stephen W. Scherer, Uri Tabori, Cynthia E. Hawkins, David Malkin, Eric Bouffet, James T. Rutka, and Michael D. Taylor, Hospital for Sick Children; David J.H. Shih, Marc Remke, Vijay Ramaswamy, Yuan Yao, Xin Wang, Adrian M. Dubuc, John Peacock, Stephen C. Mack, and Michael D. Taylor, University of Toronto, Toronto; Boleslaw Lach, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario; Jennifer A. Chan, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta; Steffen Albrecht, Adam Fontebasso, and Nada Jabado, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Paul A. Northcott, Andrey Korshunov, Marcel Kool, David T.W. Jones, and Stefan M. Pfister, German Cancer Research Center; Stefan M. Pfister, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg; Ulrich Schüller, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich; Stefan Rutkowski, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany; Karel Zitterbart, Masaryk University School of Medicine; Karel Zitterbart and Leos Kren, University Hospital Brno, Brno, Czech Republic; Toshihiro Kumabe and Teiji Tominaga, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan; Young Shin Ra, University of Ulsan, Asan Medical Center; Ji-Yeoun Lee, Byung-Kyu Cho, Seung-Ki Kim, and Kyu-Chang Wang, Seoul National University Children's Hospital, Seoul; Shin Jung, Chonnam National University Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital and Medical School, Chonnam, South Korea; Peter Hauser and Miklós Garami, Semmelweis University, Budapest; László Bognár and Almos Klekner, University of Debrecen, Medical and Health Science Centre, Debrecen, Hungary; Shenandoah Robinson, Boston Children's Hospital; Scott L. Pomeroy, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Ali G. Saad, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little



Medulloblastoma comprises four distinct molecular subgroups: WNT, SHH, Group 3, and Group 4. Current medulloblastoma protocols stratify patients based on clinical features: patient age, metastatic stage, extent of resection, and histologic variant. Stark prognostic and genetic differences among the four subgroups suggest that subgroup-specific molecular biomarkers could improve patient prognostication.


Molecular biomarkers were identified from a discovery set of 673 medulloblastomas from 43 cities around the world. Combined risk stratification models were designed based on clinical and cytogenetic biomarkers identified by multivariable Cox proportional hazards analyses. Identified biomarkers were tested using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) on a nonoverlapping medulloblastoma tissue microarray (n = 453), with subsequent validation of the risk stratification models.


Subgroup information improves the predictive accuracy of a multivariable survival model compared with clinical biomarkers alone. Most previously published cytogenetic biomarkers are only prognostic within a single medulloblastoma subgroup. Profiling six FISH biomarkers (GLI2, MYC, chromosome 11 [chr11], chr14, 17p, and 17q) on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues, we can reliably and reproducibly identify very low-risk and very high-risk patients within SHH, Group 3, and Group 4 medulloblastomas.


Combining subgroup and cytogenetic biomarkers with established clinical biomarkers substantially improves patient prognostication, even in the context of heterogeneous clinical therapies. The prognostic significance of most molecular biomarkers is restricted to a specific subgroup. We have identified a small panel of cytogenetic biomarkers that reliably identifies very high-risk and very low-risk groups of patients, making it an excellent tool for selecting patients for therapy intensification and therapy de-escalation in future clinical trials.

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