Cerebellar liponeurocytoma, first recognized as a distinct entity in the revised WHO classification of Tumors of the Central Nervous System in 2000, is a rare tumor with characteristic histological features and predominant location in the cerebellum. The proliferative index is usually low, and previous reports supported a favorable prognosis. We report a case of a second recurrence of a cerebellar liponeurocytoma with increased proliferative and mitotic activity in which extensive immunohistochemical characterization and genetic profiling were performed. The tumor specimen was characterized in terms of genetic changes frequently associated with gliomas and medulloblastomas. Considering the low number of reported cases, the prognosis of cerebellar liponeurocytoma seems difficult to assess. Our case suggests the existence of different histological grades of cerebellar liponeurocytoma and its possible progression towards a dedifferentiated, malignant phenotype, which has not yet been adequately taken into consideration in the current WHO classification.
The anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitor crizotinib has recently received approval for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic ALK-positive non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). As the therapeutic prescription postulates the detection of ALK rearrangements, reliable diagnostic approaches are of utmost importance. With this study, we present the data of the first German ALK-round robin test based on genomic DNA in situ hybridization (ISH). The application of immunohistochemistry (IHC) for ALK protein detection was optional and not required for certification.
Chromosomal translocations affecting the MYC oncogene are the biologic hallmark of Burkitt lymphomas but also occur in a subset of other mature B-cell lymphomas. If accompanied by a chromosomal break targeting the BCL2 and/or BCL6 oncogene these MYC translocation positive (MYC+) lymphomas are called double-hit lymphomas, otherwise the term single-hit lymphomas is applied. In order to characterize the biologic features of these MYC+ lymphomas other than Burkitt lymphoma we explored, after exclusion of molecular Burkitt lymphoma as defined by gene expression profiling, the molecular, pathological and clinical aspects of 80 MYC-translocation positive lymphomas (31 single-hit, 46 double-hit & 3 MYC+-lymphomas with unknown BCL6 status). Comparison of single-hit and double-hit lymphomas revealed no difference in MYC partner (IG/non-IG), genomic complexity, MYC expression or gene expression profile. Double-hit lymphomas showed more frequent GCB-like gene expression profile and higher IGH and MYC mutation frequencies. Gene expression profiling revealed 130 differentially expressed genes between BCL6+/MYC+ and BCL2+/MYC+ double-hit lymphomas. BCL2+/MYC+ double-hit lymphomas showed a more frequent GCB-like gene expression profile. Analysis of all lymphomas according to MYC partner (IG/non-IG) revealed no substantial differences. In this series of lymphomas, in which immunochemotherapy was administered in only a minority of cases, single-hit and double-hit lymphomas had a similar poor outcome in contrast with molecular Burkitt lymphoma and lymphomas without MYC break. Our data suggest that, after excluding molecular Burkitt lymphoma and pediatric cases, MYC+ lymphomas are biologically quite homogenous with single-hit and double-hit lymphomas as well as IG-MYC and non-IG-MYC+ lymphomas sharing various molecular characteristics.
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) represents a heterogeneous diagnostic category with distinct molecular subtypes that can be defined by gene expression profiling. However, even within these defined subtypes, heterogeneity prevails. To further elucidate the pathogenesis of these entities, we determined the expression of the tumor suppressor phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) in 248 primary DLBCL patient samples. These analyses revealed that loss of PTEN was detectable in 55% of germinal center B-cell-like (GCB) DLBCLs, whereas this abnormality was found in only 14% of non-GCB DLBCL patient samples. In GCB DLBCL, the PTEN status was inversely correlated with activation of the oncogenic PI3K/protein kinase B (AKT) pathway in both DLBCL cell lines and primary patient samples. Reexpression of PTEN induced cytotoxicity in PTEN-deficient GCB DLBCL cell line models by inhibiting PI3K/AKT signaling, indicating an addiction to this pathway in this subset of GCB DLBCLs. PI3K/AKT inhibition induced down-regulation of the transcription factor MYC. Reexpression of MYC rescued GCB DLBCL cells from PTEN-induced toxicity, identifying a regulatory mechanism of MYC expression in DLBCL. Finally, pharmacologic PI3K inhibition resulted in toxicity selectively in PTEN-deficient GCB DLBCL lines. Collectively, our results indicate that PTEN loss defines a PI3K/AKT-dependent GCB DLBCL subtype that is addicted to PI3K and MYC signaling and suggest that pharmacologic inhibition of PI3K might represent a promising therapeutic approach in these lymphomas.
Activated oncogenes and anticancer chemotherapy induce cellular senescence, a terminal growth arrest of viable cells characterized by S-phase entry-blocking histone 3 lysine 9 trimethylation (H3K9me3). Although therapy-induced senescence (TIS) improves long-term outcomes, potentially harmful properties of senescent tumour cells make their quantitative elimination a therapeutic priority. Here we use the Eµ-myc transgenic mouse lymphoma model in which TIS depends on the H3K9 histone methyltransferase Suv39h1 to show the mechanism and therapeutic exploitation of senescence-related metabolic reprogramming in vitro and in vivo. After senescence-inducing chemotherapy, TIS-competent lymphomas but not TIS-incompetent Suv39h1(-) lymphomas show increased glucose utilization and much higher ATP production. We demonstrate that this is linked to massive proteotoxic stress, which is a consequence of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) described previously. SASP-producing TIS cells exhibited endoplasmic reticulum stress, an unfolded protein response (UPR), and increased ubiquitination, thereby targeting toxic proteins for autophagy in an acutely energy-consuming fashion. Accordingly, TIS lymphomas, unlike senescence models that lack a strong SASP response, were more sensitive to blocking glucose utilization or autophagy, which led to their selective elimination through caspase-12- and caspase-3-mediated endoplasmic-reticulum-related apoptosis. Consequently, pharmacological targeting of these metabolic demands on TIS induction in vivo prompted tumour regression and improved treatment outcomes further. These findings unveil the hypercatabolic nature of TIS that is therapeutically exploitable by synthetic lethal metabolic targeting.
The reliable identification of non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) with chromosomal breaks in the gene of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) is crucial for the induction of therapy with ALK-inhibitors. In order to ensure a reliable detection of ALK-breaks by means of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) testing, round robin tests are essential. In preparation of a nation (German)-wide round robin test we initiated a pre-testing phase involving 8 experts in FISH-diagnostics to identify NSCLC cases (n = 10) with a pre-tested ALK-status. In addition, ALK immunohistochemistry (IHC) was performed to assess ALK protein expression.
In malignancies, enhanced nuclear factor-?B (NF-?B) activity is largely viewed as an oncogenic property that also confers resistance to chemotherapy. Recently, NF-?B has been postulated to participate in a senescence-associated and possibly senescence-reinforcing cytokine response, thereby suggesting a tumor-restraining role for NF-?B. Using a mouse lymphoma model and analyzing transcriptome and clinical data from lymphoma patients, we show here that therapy-induced senescence presents with and depends on active NF-?B signaling, whereas NF-?B simultaneously promotes resistance to apoptosis. Further characterization and genetic engineering of primary mouse lymphomas according to distinct NF-?B-related oncogenic networks reminiscent of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) subtypes guided us to identify Bcl2-overexpressing germinal center B-cell-like (GCB) DLBCL as a clinically relevant subgroup with significantly superior outcome when NF-?B is hyperactive. Our data illustrate the power of cross-species investigations to functionally test genetic mechanisms in transgenic mouse tumors that recapitulate distinct features of the corresponding human entity, and to ultimately use the mouse model-derived genetic information to redefine novel, clinically relevant patient subcohorts.
Most primary CNS lymphomas (PCNSL) are diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL). However, clinical behavior and prognosis differ considerably from those for nodal DLBCL (nDLBCL), and their pathogenesis is still not fully understood. Micro-RNAs (miRNAs) have been associated with cancer development and progression. We investigated a large miRNA panel for differential expression in PCNSL and nDLBCL, to determine new mechanisms potentially involved in PCNSL pathogenesis. Using paraffin-embedded biopsy specimens from 21 HIV-negative patients with newly diagnosed PCNSL (n = 11) and nDLBCL (n= 10), we measured the expression of 365 miRNA species by quantitative real-time PCR using low-density PCR arrays. We found that 18 miRNAs were differentially expressed: median expression levels of 13 miRNAs were 2.1-13.1 times higher in PCNSL, and median expression levels of 5 miRNAs were 2.6-3.3 times higher in nDLBCL. MiRNAs upregulated in PCNSL were associated with the Myc pathway (miR-17-5p, miR-20a, miR-9), with blocking of terminal B-cell differentiation (miR-9, miR-30b/c), or with upregulation by inflammatory cytokines (miR-155). Putative tumor-suppressor miRNAs (miR-199a, miR-214, miR-193b, miR-145) were downregulated in PCNSL. There was no overlap of miRNAs dysregulated in PCNSL with those differentially expressed between immunohistologically defined germinal center B cell-like (GCB) and non-GCB types or, apart from miR-9, with miRNAs known to be overexpressed in human brain. We conclude that PCNSL exhibits a distinct pattern of miRNA expression compared with nDLBCL. This argues for the involvement of different molecular mechanisms in the pathogenesis of these two lymphoma types.
MYC is a key transcription factor involved in central cellular processes such as regulation of the cell cycle, histone acetylation and ribosomal biogenesis. It is overexpressed in the majority of human tumors including aggressive B-cell lymphoma. Especially Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is a highlight example for MYC overexpression due to a chromosomal translocation involving the c-MYC gene. However, no genome-wide analysis of MYC-binding sites by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) followed by next generation sequencing (ChIP-Seq) has been conducted in BL so far.
The differentiation of HSCs into myeloid lineages requires the transcription factor PU.1. Whereas PU.1-dependent induction of myeloid-specific target genes has been intensively studied, negative regulation of stem cell or alternate lineage programs remains incompletely characterized. To test for such negative regulatory events, we searched for PU.1-controlled microRNAs (miRs) by expression profiling using a PU.1-inducible myeloid progenitor cell line model. We provide evidence that PU.1 directly controls expression of at least 4 of these miRs (miR-146a, miR-342, miR-338, and miR-155) through temporally dynamic occupation of binding sites within regulatory chromatin regions adjacent to their genomic coding loci. Ectopic expression of the most robustly induced PU.1 target miR, miR-146a, directed the selective differentiation of HSCs into functional peritoneal macrophages in mouse transplantation assays. In agreement with this observation, disruption of Dicer expression or specific antagonization of miR-146a function inhibited the formation of macrophages during early zebrafish (Danio rerio) development. In the present study, we describe a PU.1-orchestrated miR program that mediates key functions of PU.1 during myeloid differentiation.
Gene expression profiling has recently enabled the reclassification of aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphomas (aNHL) into distinct subgroups. In Burkitt lymphoma (BL) aberrant c-Myc activity results from IG-MYC translocations. However, MYC aberrations are not limited to BLs and then have a negative prognostic impact. In this study, we investigated to which extent aberrant c-Myc activity plays a functional role in other aNHL and whether it is independent from MYC translocations. Based on a combined microarray analysis of human germinal center (GC) B cells transfected with c-Myc and 220 aNHLs cases, we developed a "c-Myc index." This index measures the extent to which lymphomas express c-Myc responsive genes. It comprises genes that are affected in a variety of tumors compared to normal tissue. This supports the view that aberrant c-Myc expression in GC B cells triggers a tumor-like expression pattern. As expected, the "c-Myc index" is very high in molecular Burkitt lymphoma (mBL), but more importantly also high within other aNHL. It constitutes a negative prognostic marker independent of established risk factors and of the presence of a MYC translocation. Our data provide new insights into the role of c-Myc activity in different lymphomas and raises the question of treatment changes for those patients under risk.
Epigenetic changes are involved in the extinction of the B-cell gene expression program of classical Hodgkins lymphoma. However, little is known regarding epigenetic similarities between cells of classical Hodgkins lymphoma and plasma cell myeloma, both of which share extinction of the gene expression program of mature B cells.
Published multigene classifiers suggesting outcome prediction for patients with stage UICC II colon cancer have not been translated into a clinical application so far. Therefore, we aimed at validating own and published gene expression signatures employing methods which enable their reconstruction in routine diagnostic specimens.
The survival of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma patients varies considerably, reflecting the molecular diversity of tumors. In view of the controversy whether cytologic features, immunohistochemical markers or gene expression signatures may capture this molecular diversity, we investigated which features provide prognostic information in a prospective trial in the R-CHOP treatment era. Within the cohort of DLBCLs patients treated in the RICOVER-60 trial of the German High-Grade Lymphoma Study Group (DSHNHL), we tested the prognostic impact of IB morphology in 949 patients. The expression of immunohistochemical markers CD5, CD10, BCL2, BCL6, human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR, interferon regulatory factor-4/multiple myeloma-1 (IRF4/MUM1), and Ki-67 was assessed in 506 patients. Expression of the immunohistochemical markers tested was of modest, if any, prognostic relevance. Moreover, the Hans algorithm using the expression patterns of CD10, BCL6, and interferon regulatory factor-4/multiple myeloma-1 failed to show prognostic significance in the entire cohort as well as in patient subgroups. IB morphology, however, emerged as a robust, significantly adverse prognostic factor in multivariate analysis, and its diagnosis showed a good reproducibility among expert hematopathologists. We conclude, therefore, that IB morphology in DLBCL is likely to capture some of the adverse molecular alterations that are currently not detectable in a routine diagnostic setting, and that its recognition has significant prognostic power.
We studied miRNA profiles in 4419 human samples (3312 neoplastic, 1107 nonmalignant), corresponding to 50 normal tissues and 51 cancer types. The complexity of our database enabled us to perform a detailed analysis of microRNA (miRNA) activities. We inferred genetic networks from miRNA expression in normal tissues and cancer. We also built, for the first time, specialized miRNA networks for solid tumors and leukemias. Nonmalignant tissues and cancer networks displayed a change in hubs, the most connected miRNAs. hsa-miR-103/106 were downgraded in cancer, whereas hsa-miR-30 became most prominent. Cancer networks appeared as built from disjointed subnetworks, as opposed to normal tissues. A comparison of these nets allowed us to identify key miRNA cliques in cancer. We also investigated miRNA copy number alterations in 744 cancer samples, at a resolution of 150 kb. Members of miRNA families should be similarly deleted or amplified, since they repress the same cellular targets and are thus expected to have similar impacts on oncogenesis. We correctly identified hsa-miR-17/92 family as amplified and the hsa-miR-143/145 cluster as deleted. Other miRNAs, such as hsa-miR-30 and hsa-miR-204, were found to be physically altered at the DNA copy number level as well. By combining differential expression, genetic networks, and DNA copy number alterations, we confirmed, or discovered, miRNAs with comprehensive roles in cancer. Finally, we experimentally validated the miRNA network with acute lymphocytic leukemia originated in Mir155 transgenic mice. Most of miRNAs deregulated in these transgenic mice were located close to hsa-miR-155 in the cancer network.
Similar to human breast cancer mammary tumors of the female dog are commonly associated with a fatal outcome due to the development of distant metastases. However, the molecular defects leading to metastasis are largely unknown and the value of canine mammary carcinoma as a model for human breast cancer is unclear. In this study, we analyzed the gene expression signatures associated with mammary tumor metastasis and asked for parallels with the human equivalent.
Mammalian genomes contain many repetitive elements, including long terminal repeats (LTRs), which have long been suspected to have a role in tumorigenesis. Here we present evidence that aberrant LTR activation contributes to lineage-inappropriate gene expression in transformed human cells and that such gene expression is central for tumor cell survival. We show that B cell-derived Hodgkins lymphoma cells depend on the activity of the non-B, myeloid-specific proto-oncogene colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R). In these cells, CSF1R transcription initiates at an aberrantly activated endogenous LTR of the MaLR family (THE1B). Derepression of the THE1 subfamily of MaLR LTRs is widespread in the genome of Hodgkins lymphoma cells and is associated with impaired epigenetic control due to loss of expression of the corepressor CBFA2T3. Furthermore, we detect LTR-driven CSF1R transcripts in anaplastic large cell lymphoma, in which CSF1R is known to be expressed aberrantly. We conclude that LTR derepression is involved in the pathogenesis of human lymphomas, a finding that might have diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic implications.
Follicular lymphoma (FL) is characterized by a large number of chromosomal aberrations. However, their exact genomic extension and involved target genes remain to be determined. For this purpose, we used array-based intermediate-high resolution genomic profiling in combination with Affymetrix gene expression analysis. Tumor specimens from 128 FL patients were analyzed for the presence of genomic aberrations and the results were correlated to clinical data sets and mRNA expression levels. In 114 (89%) of the 128 analyzed cases, a total of 688 genomic aberrations (384 gains/amplifications and 304 losses) were detected. Frequent genomic aberrations were: -1p36 (18%), +2p15 (24%), -3q (14%), -6q (25%), +7p (19%), +7q (23%), +8q (14%), -9p (16%), -11q (15%), +12q (20%), -13q (11%), -17p (16%), +18p (18%), and +18q (28%). Critical segments of these imbalances were delineated to genomic fragments with a minimum size down to 0.2 Mb. By comparison of these with mRNA gene expression data, putative candidate genes were identified. Moreover, we found that deletions affecting the tumor suppressor gene CDKN2A/B on 9p21 were detected in nontransformed FL grade I-II. For this aberration as well as for -6q25 and -6q26, an association with inferior survival was observed.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short 18-23 nucleotide long noncoding RNAs that posttranscriptionally regulate gene expression by binding to mRNA. Our previous miRNA profiling of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) revealed a mutation in the seed sequence of miR-142-3p. Further analysis now showed that miR-142 was mutated in 11 (19.64%) of the 56 DLBCL cases. Of these, one case had a mutation in both alleles, with the remainder being heterozygous. Four mutations were found in the mature miR-142-5p, four in the mature miR-142-3p, and three mutations affected the miR-142 precursor. Two mutations in the seed sequence redirected miR-142-3p to the mRNA of the transcriptional repressor ZEB2 and one of them also targeted the ZEB1 mRNA. However, the other mutations in the mature miR-142-3p did not influence either the ZEB1 or ZEB2 3 untranslated region (3 UTR). On the other hand, the mutations affecting the seed sequence of miR-142-3p resulted in a loss of responsiveness in the 3 UTR of the known miR-142-3p targets RAC1 and ADCY9. In contrast to the mouse p300 gene, the human p300 gene was not found to be a target for miR-142-5p. In one case with a mutation of the precursor, we observed aberrant processing of the miR-142-5p. Our data suggest that the mutations in miR-142 probably lead to a loss rather than a gain of function. This is the first report describing mutations of a miRNA gene in a large percentage of a distinct lymphoma subtype.
Burkitt lymphoma is a mature aggressive B-cell lymphoma derived from germinal center B cells. Its cytogenetic hallmark is the Burkitt translocation t(8;14)(q24;q32) and its variants, which juxtapose the MYC oncogene with one of the three immunoglobulin loci. Consequently, MYC is deregulated, resulting in massive perturbation of gene expression. Nevertheless, MYC deregulation alone seems not to be sufficient to drive Burkitt lymphomagenesis. By whole-genome, whole-exome and transcriptome sequencing of four prototypical Burkitt lymphomas with immunoglobulin gene (IG)-MYC translocation, we identified seven recurrently mutated genes. One of these genes, ID3, mapped to a region of focal homozygous loss in Burkitt lymphoma. In an extended cohort, 36 of 53 molecularly defined Burkitt lymphomas (68%) carried potentially damaging mutations of ID3. These were strongly enriched at somatic hypermutation motifs. Only 6 of 47 other B-cell lymphomas with the IG-MYC translocation (13%) carried ID3 mutations. These findings suggest that cooperation between ID3 inactivation and IG-MYC translocation is a hallmark of Burkitt lymphomagenesis.
A characteristic feature of anaplastic large cell lymphoma is the significant repression of the T-cell expression program despite its T-cell origin. The reasons for this down-regulation of T-cell phenotype are still unknown. To elucidate whether epigenetic mechanisms are responsible for the loss of the T-cell phenotype, we treated anaplastic large cell lymphoma and T-cell lymphoma/leukemia cell lines (n=4, each) with epigenetic modifiers to evoke DNA demethylation and histone acetylation. Global gene expression data from treated and untreated cell lines were generated and selected, and differentially expressed genes were evaluated by real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and western blot analysis. Additionally, histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation was analyzed by chromatin immunoprecipitation. Combined DNA demethylation and histone acetylation of anaplastic large cell lymphoma cells was not able to reconstitute their T-cell phenotype. Instead, the same treatment induced in T cells: (i) an up-regulation of anaplastic large cell lymphoma-characteristic genes (e.g. ID2, LGALS1, c-JUN), and (ii) an almost complete extinction of their T-cell phenotype including CD3, LCK and ZAP70. In addition, suppressive trimethylation of histone H3 lysine 27 of important T-cell transcription factor genes (GATA3, LEF1, TCF1) was present in anaplastic large cell lymphoma cells, which is in line with their absence in primary tumor specimens as demonstrated by immunohistochemistry. Our data suggest that epigenetically activated suppressors (e.g. ID2) contribute to the down-regulation of the T-cell expression program in anaplastic large cell lymphoma, which is maintained by trimethylation of histone H3 lysine 27.
Canine mast cell tumour proliferation depends to a large extent on the activity of KIT, a tyrosine kinase receptor. Inhibitors of the KIT tyrosine kinase have recently been introduced and successfully applied as a therapeutic agent for this tumour type. However, little is known on the downstream target genes of this signaling pathway and molecular changes after inhibition.
Burkitt lymphoma post-transplantation lymphoproliferative disorder (Burkitt-PTLD) is a rare form of monomorphic B-cell PTLD for which no standard treatment has been established. Currently, the treatment of Burkitt lymphoma outside the post-transplantation setting involves high doses of alkylating agents, frequent dosing, and intrathecal and/or systemic central nervous system prophylaxis. In PTLD, however, such protocols are associated with considerable toxicity and mortality.
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