Activity of GFR/PI3K/AKT pathway inhibitors in glioblastoma clinical trials has not been robust. We hypothesized variations in the pathway between tumors contribute to poor response. We clustered GBM based on AKT pathway genes and discovered new subtypes then characterized their clinical and molecular features. There are at least 5 GBM AKT subtypes having distinct DNA copy number alterations, enrichment in oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes and patterns of expression for PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling components. Gene Ontology terms indicate a different cell of origin or dominant phenotype for each subgroup. Evidence suggests one subtype is very sensitive to BCNU or CCNU (median survival 5.8 vs. 1.5 years; BCNU/CCNU vs other treatments; respectively). AKT subtyping advances previous approaches by revealing additional subgroups with unique clinical and molecular features. Evidence indicates it is a predictive marker for response to BCNU or CCNU and PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway inhibitors. We anticipate Akt subtyping may help stratify patients for clinical trials and augment discovery of class-specific therapeutic targets.
Gene expression-based prediction of genomic copy number aberrations in the chromosomal region 12q13 to 12q15 that is flanked by MDM2 and CDK4 identified Wnt inhibitory factor 1 (WIF1) as a candidate tumor suppressor gene in glioblastoma. WIF1 encodes a secreted Wnt antagonist and was strongly downregulated in most glioblastomas as compared with normal brain, implying deregulation of Wnt signaling, which is associated with cancer. WIF1 silencing was mediated by deletion (7/69, 10%) or epigenetic silencing by promoter hypermethylation (29/110, 26%). Co-amplification of MDM2 and CDK4 that is present in 10% of glioblastomas was associated in most cases with deletion of the whole genomic region enclosed, including the WIF1 locus. This interesting pathogenetic constellation targets the RB and p53 tumor suppressor pathways in tandem, while simultaneously activating oncogenic Wnt signaling. Ectopic expression of WIF1 in glioblastoma cell lines revealed a dose-dependent decrease of Wnt pathway activity. Furthermore, WIF1 expression inhibited cell proliferation in vitro, reduced anchorage-independent growth in soft agar, and completely abolished tumorigenicity in vivo. Interestingly, WIF1 overexpression in glioblastoma cells induced a senescence-like phenotype that was dose dependent. These results provide evidence that WIF1 has tumor suppressing properties. Downregulation of WIF1 in 75% of glioblastomas indicates frequent involvement of aberrant Wnt signaling and, hence, may render glioblastomas sensitive to inhibitors of Wnt signaling, potentially by diverting the tumor cells into a senescence-like state.
The pituicytoma is a rare neoplasm whose histogenesis is debated partly because of the diversity of tissue types present in the sellar region. In this article we illustrate the characteristic histologic, immunohistologic, and ultrastructural features of this unique neoplasm. Furthermore, we use array-based comparative genomic hybridization to demonstrate a unique pattern of genomic copy number aberrations in pituicytomas. Tumors were composed of bipolar, spindle cells that were immunopositive for S100, vimentin, and Bcl-2 and immunonegative for synaptophysin, chromogranin, and glial fibrillary acidic protein. Ultrastructural analysis was remarkable for absence of secretory granules. Array comparative genomic hybridization demonstrated genomic copy number imbalances, including losses on chromosome arms 1p, 14q, and 22q and gains on 5p. This pattern of genetic changes only partially overlaps with the genomic alterations reported in pituitary adenomas. In summary, our data suggest that pituicytomas are a unique subset of tumors of the sellar region.
We had earlier used the comparison of RAPD (Random Amplification of Polymorphic DNA) DNA fingerprinting profiles of tumor and corresponding normal DNA to identify genetic alterations in primary human glial tumors. This has the advantage that DNA fingerprinting identifies the genetic alterations in a manner not biased for locus.
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