Background: Gliomas are diverse neoplasms with multiple molecular subtypes. How tumor-initiating mutations relate to molecular subtypes as these tumors evolve during malignant progression remains unclear.
Methods: We used genetically engineered mouse models, histopathology, genetic lineage tracing, expression profiling, and copy number analyses to examine how genomic tumor diversity evolves during the course of malignant progression from low- to high-grade disease.
Results: Knockout of all 3 retinoblastoma (Rb) family proteins was required to initiate low-grade tumors in adult mouse astrocytes. Mutations activating mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling, specifically KrasG12D, potentiated Rb-mediated tumorigenesis. Low-grade tumors showed mutant Kras-specific transcriptome profiles but lacked copy number mutations. These tumors stochastically progressed to high-grade, in part through acquisition of copy number mutations. High-grade tumor transcriptomes were heterogeneous and consisted of 3 subtypes that mimicked human mesenchymal, proneural, and neural glioblastomas. Subtypes were confirmed in validation sets of high-grade mouse tumors initiated by different driver mutations as well as human patient-derived xenograft models and glioblastoma tumors.
Conclusion: These results suggest that oncogenic driver mutations influence the genomic profiles of low-grade tumors and that these, as well as progression-acquired mutations, contribute strongly to the genomic heterogeneity across high-grade tumors.
Keywords: genetically engineered mouse; glioblastoma; glioma; progression; transcriptome.
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