Purpose: Germline mutations of the SUFU gene have been shown to be associated with genetic predisposition to medulloblastoma, mainly in families with multiple cases of medulloblastoma and/or in patients with symptoms similar to those of Gorlin syndrome. To evaluate the contribution of these mutations to the genesis of sporadic medulloblastomas, we screened a series of unselected patients with medulloblastoma for germline SUFU mutations.
Patients and methods: A complete mutational analysis of the SUFU gene was performed on genomic DNA in all 131 consecutive patients treated for medulloblastoma in the pediatrics department of the Institut Gustave Roussy between 1972 and 2009 and for whom a blood sample was available.
Results: We identified eight germline mutations of the SUFU gene: one large genomic duplication and seven point mutations. Mutations were identified in three of three individuals with medulloblastoma with extensive nodularity, four of 20 with desmoplastic/nodular medulloblastomas, and one of 108 with other subtypes. All eight patients were younger than 3 years of age at diagnosis. The mutations were inherited from the healthy father in four of six patient cases in which the parents accepted genetic testing; de novo mutations accounted for the other two patient cases. Associated events were macrocrania in six patients, hypertelorism in three patients, and multiple basal cell carcinomas in the radiation field after age 18 years in one patient.
Conclusion: These data indicate that germline SUFU mutations were responsible for a high proportion of desmoplastic medulloblastoma in children younger than 3 years of age. Genetic testing should be offered to all children diagnosed with sonic hedgehog-driven medulloblastoma at a young age.